2010 February

Shakira Launches Early Childhood Initiative with World Bank

WASHINGTON, D.C. February 22, 2010—Grammy Award-winning artist Shakira and World Bank President Robert Zoellick launched a groundbreaking $US 300 million joint initiative aimed at expanding development programs for young children in Latin America and the Caribbean at the World Bank headquarters today.

Early Childhood Development (ECD) programs provide children with adequate nutrition, healthcare, and stimulating environments from the moment of conception through age 6—a period of development crucial for achieving a child’s full potential. The initiative will help expand ECD programs in a region where 9 million children under 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition, and 22 million lack access to early basic care.

"If we want to build a better world, we have to give children the chance to improve their lives, no matter where they are born or how difficult their circumbstances. By giving every child a fair start in life, we are improving our collective future," Shakira told the an audience of 100 VIPs, including Latin American and Caribbean ambassadors and officials from the education sector, along with representatives from other international organizations.