Creating an Enabling Environment for Young Vulnerable Children and Their Caregivers

A mother and child sell vegetables at a roadside stand in Kampala, Uganda. © 2011 Rachel Steckelberg, Courtesy of Photoshare

Quality, child-friendly policies set the stage for the delivery of quality services to children. Often, young children who are the most vulnerable are overlooked in programmatic and policy responses. Policies that recognize the vulnerability of young children and create an environment that enables their caregivers to access necessary support are essential. This course explores considerations for policymakers and how to create policies that support programming for young vulnerable children and their caregivers. It also examines ways in which programs can influence the political environment by conducting thorough stakeholder analyses, providing policymakers with sound data on child development outcomes, and highlighting strategies for reducing the vulnerabilities of young children and their caregivers. 

This course is the fifth course of six courses in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) series, which aims to engage staff of implementing agencies involved in existing ECD programs, focusing on vulnerable children affected by HIV, or facing other challenges such as chronic poverty, displacement, or conflict.
The ECD series is based on the Essential Package: Holistically Addressing the Needs of Young Vulnerable Children and Their Caregivers Affected by HIV and AIDS, which was developed by the Inter-Agency Taskforce on HIV and ECD led by Save the Children and CARE in collaboration with the Consultative Group on Early Childhood Care and Development, the Centers for Disease Control, and ChildFund with funding from the Conrad N Hilton Foundation.


By the end of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Explain why investment in ECD for vulnerable populations is important
  • List ways in which policy can support children and caregivers to access critical services
  • Explore through case studies examples of ways in which policies can mitigate vulnerabilities
  • Understand ways in which programs can impact policy for the benefit of young vulnerable children and their caregivers
  • Describe how to conduct a stakeholder analysis in order to influence policy change and improve the enabling environment for young vulnerable children and their caregivers


The course content was collaboratively developed by Save the Children and Kaijage Consultants for African Family Health. 
The course authors would like to acknowledge the following technical reviewers for their valuable inputs:
  • Colleen Farrell, Save the Children
  • Maury Mendenhall, USAID
  • Pablo Stansbery, Save the Children