Year in Review

In 2023, we met the world’s greatest challenges with bold and thoughtful solutions. Collaboration was key.

This past year, we navigated a dynamic landscape filled with developments that evoked excitement and, at times, apprehension. From artificial intelligence (AI) to climate change to increasing polarization, we embraced these challenges with confidence and fortitude. We continued to deliver results thoughtfully by collaborating with our partners on the ground, conducting rigorous academic research, and translating our insights into meaningful action. In meeting local challenges with local solutions, we ensure communities can shape a more resilient and promising future with lasting outcomes that best serve their children and families.

In this annual issue of EDC Update, we reflect on our highlights and learnings from the past year, with an eye to how we can foster deeper collaboration in service of even greater impact in 2024.

Navigating Developments in AI

The rise of AI has sparked various reactions, from eager adoption to cautious reluctance. At EDC, we’ve chosen a proactive stance, recognizing the value in understanding and adapting to new technologies. We’re cultivating positive attitudes toward AI so that it supports each person’s learning journey. Through collaboration with communities, we have worked to preserve Indigenous languages, examined how it can strengthen connections between caregivers and children, and emphasized the potential it has for personalized learning and skill building. Our commitment is not just to embrace innovation, but to explore how it can enhance the work we do for the communities we work with.

Advancing Inclusivity in STEM Education

We took steps to break down barriers and worked toward a world in which we can ensure universal access to STEM opportunities by championing inclusivity. We worked to create environments in which children feel more confident in their skills by reducing the level of anxiety associated with STEM subjects, breaking stereotypes, and publishing a new “world-building” curriculum for K-8 neurodivergent youth and new Young Mathematicians game kits. A world where both children and adults feel empowered to participate in STEM programs allows for more individuals, including those who have been incarcerated, to pursue a career in the field. Through our latest grant, we are positioned to increase the number of underrepresented minority faculty in STEM and affect institutional change.

Building Skills for the Workforce of the Future

This past year, EDC took to the global stage to advocate for education and skills that pave the way for a sustainable future. In Liberia and South Sudan, EDC’s locally adapted health curriculum integrates health education into work readiness training, strengthening positive outcomes for adolescent girls and young women. At events such as the Africa Climate Summit, the UN General Assembly, and COP28, we forged partnerships with world leaders to highlight the importance of green skills development for young people and building youth’s environmental literacy worldwide. The importance of sustainable development is evidenced by the impact such programs have on individuals like Blessing Hallie, a young beekeeper in Liberia. Focusing on practical solutions ensures we have lasting impact.

Strengthening Environments for Wellbeing

Our commitment to health and wellbeing encompasses efforts to combat disease, improve nutrition, address substance misuse, and promote safety and mental health across the life span. In a powerful op-ed, we advocated for comprehensive sexuality education as a tool to effectively end AIDS. In South Africa, we continue to support DREAMS: the Partnership To Reduce HIV/AIDS In Adolescent Girls And Young Women and leverage the voices of young women and their experiences. At the School Meals Coalition Global Summit in Paris, EDC engaged the global community in prioritizing proper nutrition for children by demonstrating the power of school meal programs. Our maternal and child health work grew, and our Children’s Safety Network continued to promote safe and supportive environments for the next generation. Our National Dementia Care Collaborative expanded its work to share best practices. Recognizing the importance of mental health as a key component of overall wellbeing, EDC has actively supported community-led suicide prevention efforts by developing both a toolkit and a guide that can help local educators, health professionals, and community members save lives. Through these actions, EDC is strengthening community networks that prioritize physical and mental wellbeing.

Adapting to Shifts in Education

In 2023, education and learning underwent transformational shifts, urging us to take action in response to evolving needs. With the surge in distance learning, we’ve created resources to empower teachers to provide effective remote education, and we’ve developed curricula to ensure that young people have the skills they need to engage with civic society. We’ve also developed resources to help teachers assess and accelerate learning. Recognizing the vital role of opportunities for young people, our partnership with USAID supported critical reading programs in Honduras, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In Honduras, we developed and implemented comprehensive strategies for reading remediation to ensure that children receive the support they need to learn how to read as they returned to school after the pandemic school closures.

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