Sunday, December 7, 2014

Return on child investment (ROCI)

Investing in children is something many people are aware of and always talk about. Children are our future and need nurturing, education and development in all areas to become future leaders and custodians of our world. On a trip to Uganda Kampala in October this year, I came across Lloyd Lamm a Regional Banking Executive in Pennsylvania. As we spoke during a networking event, I got to find out from Lloyd about an organization called Ready Nation formed in the USA to strengthen business and economies through better policies and investments in children and the youth. The organization is spreading out of the USA and he was a Keynote speaker at a summit that week with business leaders and politicians aimed at educating them and creating awareness on the importance of developing children to keep a nation strong into the future. Ready Nation focusses on early childhood development and also addresses transition from school to work while protecting high educational standards, child health, nutrition, welfare and other child related activities. The organization has until recently been America focused but has now moved into Peru, Netherlands and Uganda. Lloyd showed passion and purpose as he spoke about this voluntary work he does outside his paid job and also being his first time in Africa. His passion was confirmed by his assertions that the feedback he got from the audience had been overwhelming as they warmed up to the cause for which this organization stands and the need to set up programs and policies that enhance the rights of children. Early investments in child education yield a return that far exceeds the return on most public projects that are considered economic with studies showing that given early child care and education programs, every dollar yields a return on investment to society at large of between $7 to $17. Doctor Christine Hajek, a neuropsychologist with UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh says it is easier to build strong children than try and repair broken ones.

Except from The Children's forum
What is the impacts on children who participate in high quality early care and education (ECE) programs?
• Improved academic, social-emotional, and character development
• Improved grade promotion and high school graduation rates
• Improved employment rates
• Higher salaries
• Reduced criminal activity
• Less likely to rely on the welfare system
What can be expected for at-risk children who don’t receive high quality early care and education programs?
• 25% more likely to drop out of school
• 40% more likely to become a teen parent
• 50% more likely to be placed in special education
• 60% more likely to never attend college
• 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime

When you are passionate and purposeful about something it becomes apparent and shows to those you engage with. It is then easy for others to get excited and passionate as well. Let us invest in this profitable area of our societies for which there are great long term benefits. Great lesson on passion and purpose from Lloyd. Will you be passionate and purposeful about something today?