International evidence on the life-long importance of the first 1,000 days of a child's life, from conception through to the child’s second birthday, already informs maternal and child health practices; however, the First 1000 Days Australia model is unique in including the pre-conception environment and incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge and leadership.
This evidence-driven approach to family and community strengthening, entrepreneurship and nations-building is not a single program, but a coordinated, comprehensive strategy for systemic change.
The model integrates activities such as community sector worker training, regional planning and service cooperation, policy advocacy and household-level longitudinal research.
Save the Children's Chief Executive Officer, Paul Ronalds, said the evolving partnership is an innovative approach and an exciting development for the organisation. He said it will leverage Save the Children’s operational strengths, while supporting the integrity of community-led implementation.
“With Save the Children’s national scale and strong experience working with communities, and the University of Melbourne’s research expertise and existing work in this space, we can make a real difference,” he said.
“This unique approach to development in Australia will support the aspirations of families and communities to improve their own wellbeing and opportunities.”
First 1000 Days Australia Executive Director and University of Melbourne Professor, Kerry Arabena, said the ongoing work that will be facilitated by this collaboration aims to create generational health gains.
“We need an approach that strengthens culture starting with women of child bearing age, their partners, extended family, and communities, to ensure our children are given the best possible start to life.”
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