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what is the first 2000 days network
What is the First 2000 Days Network?

The First 2000 Days Network is a collective response of community members, organizations, professionals with a passion for making progress on our vision:

All children from conception to six

are supported by family and community

in order to reach their optimal development.

why 2000 days
Why 2000 Days?

From conception to entering kindergarten, our community has 2000 days to build a lifetime foundation and make the difference in the life of a child.

the opportunity
The Opportunity:

Investment in the early years has the best

Return on Investment

than in any other time of life.

the pathway
The Pathway:
  • WE CAN bring together citizens, associations, service providers, institutions who all care about children!
  • WE CAN pool collective knowledge and build a coalition that can take locally relevant action to improve ECD!
  • WE CAN helpweave together opportunities and resources across city and area coalitions to further impact ECD through the First 2000 days network!
  • WE CAN helpbuild a collective response and voice to move the needle on early childhood development!
coalitions are
Coalitions are…

…an avenue to organize around a shared issue and act collectively. They share four core features:

  • Broad community representation
  • Broad approach/long term orientation
  • Bottom up decision making/consensus
  • Community mobilization rather than service deliver

Source: S. Berger (2014) Harvesting the Wisdom of Coalitions,

for the EC Mapping Project

factors in sustaining a coalition
Factors in sustaining a coalition:
  • Membership (broad-based)
  • Quality of relationships (trust and respect)
  • Leadership (local and shared)
  • Vision and purpose (clear and shared)
  • Concrete, measureable wins (initial success)
  • Larger ecological factors (favourable political, economic and community conditions)
  • Funding (support from ‘back-bone agency, multi-year funding)
  • Training (ongoing)
  • Marketing (communication plan)
  • Community history (of organizing)

Source: S. Berger (2014) Harvesting the Wisdom of Coalitions,

for the EC Mapping Project

learning from success
Learning from Success:

Communities that have mobilized

successfully share these characteristics:

  • Have a strength-based orientation
  • Focus on relationships
  • Build on opportunities and current success
  • Attend to community economic development

J. Mcknight, J. Kretzmann, (1993), Building Communities from the Inside Out,

The ABCD Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, ACTA Publications,

Chicago, Ill.

a strength based approach to ecd highlights
A strength-based approach to ECD highlights:
  • Findings on early brain development as a window of opportunity.
  • The diverse assets and capacity already existing within families, the community, and professionals.
  • The potential in building relationships and weaving connections.
  • Opportunities for families when linked with people, information, supports and resources.
edi instrument informs our process by
EDI instrument informs our process by:
  • Bringing us together in conversation.
  • Providing awareness around need and opportunity.
  • Sparking motivation to act.
  • Highlighting gaps – clarifying desired outcomes.
  • Tying into collective vision for ECD (city and province).
  • Offering a baseline to measure progress.
  • Highlighting current success.
elements of coalition building
Elements of Coalition Building

Building and weaving relationships…

engaging others building a balanced coalition
Engaging others: building a balanced coalition
  • Who lives, works or plays in the community?
  • Who will affect the system?
  • Who can benefit from the solutions ?
  • Who cares enough to act?

Representation from:

Individuals, associations, business, institutions?

Source: P. Born, Community conversations

it all begins with a conversation
it all begins with a conversation…

What brought you here today?

What are your hopes and dreams for your child/your community?

How can we best support ECD in our community?

What is already working in your home/community?

articulating a shared vision and mission
Articulating a shared vision and mission…

Conversations lead to:

  • Discovery of a shared vision: ‘What are we working toward?” “Are we aligned with vision of First 2000 days network”?
  • Articulating a mission: “How and why are we going to get there?
  • Identification of key strategies – specific opportunities and potential short and longer term outcomes.

(informs Theory of Change – planning tool).

individual skills and talents what do we have to work with
Individual Skills and TalentsWhat do we have to work with?

Talents of the Head

Talents of the Heart

Talents of the Hands

“Practical action starts with the understanding that every community has more potential resources than any one person knows.” - Mike Green, ABCD in Action,, When People Care Enough to Act

leaders find and build connections among
Leaders find and build connections among…
  • individuals
  • formal and informal associations
  • agencies and services
  • institutions
  • “nodes” or multiple connections
  • community bumping places
monitoring short term and intermediate outcomes by

How are we doing?

Monitoring short–term and intermediate outcomes by:
  • Involving participants
  • Tying into collective vision

(shared goals and measurement - EDI)

  • Documenting some results quickly – low hanging fruit
  • Revisit theory of change: focus on Intermediate goals
  • Being descriptive – i.e. most significant change?
  • Observing/noting unintended outcomes
  • Ongoing sharing and discussing of process and results

Adapted from: Dewar, T. (1997) A guide to evaluating asset-baed community development

recognizing shared challenges
Recognizing shared challenges…
  • Process can be slow and requires patience
  • Need for keeping the conversation going (continuous engagement)
  • Breaking down silos among service providers
  • Creating continuity – i.e. changing circumstances of emerging leaders lives
  • Staying aligned with mission and vision
some key learnings
Some Key Learnings…
  • Need to “lead from behind’
  • Listening is critical
  • Importance of harnessing and supporting local leadership
  • Flexibility from ‘plan’
  • Importance of 1:1 conversations – small steps are impactful
  • It is about relationships!

Prepared by the Café Institute with the North of McKnight and the Bowness/Montgomery First 2000 Days Network Coalitions