GC-DWC Receives Award to Address Gaps in WCD

The University of Notre Dame’s Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child (GC-DWC) has received an award from the Porticus Foundation to address crucial gaps in the knowledge and understanding of whole child development (WCD). 

The needs and risks of children growing up in adversity are multidimensional. Tackling one issue at a time—divorced from the complex and intertwined realities of children’s lives—is ultimately an inefficient means to support time- and resource-strapped families and communities. Children and adolescents require holistic, integrated support, including health, nutrition, education, care, and protection. By turning attention and resources toward coordinated investments and delivery platforms, the GC-DWC can close the gap between what is known and what is done to support children and adolescents globally. 

“Despite the irrefutable links between the well-being of children and the social and economic progress of nations, WCD approaches remain the exception rather than the norm in education interventions and policies,” said Neil Boothby, the founding director of the Global Center. “Research tells us that this could stem from a lack of consensus regarding what WCD is and mismatches in planning at strategic and policy levels. This award from Porticus provides us with a launching point to begin to bridge the gap between evidence and action when it comes to WCD.” 

The funds for this project will allow the GC-DWC to equip and empower university students, practitioners, academics, and policymakers with the tools, resources, networks, and skills necessary to bridge the gap between siloed education interventions and WCD approaches, ultimately meeting the complex needs of children and families facing poverty and other forms of adversity. The GC-DWC intends to use the funds to develop a course around WCD at Notre Dame, host a colloquium series dedicated to WCD, develop WCD communications and learning materials, and consult on a variety of WCD projects globally.

The Institute for Educational Initiatives’ Global Center for the Development of the Whole Child at the University of Notre Dame collaborates with researchers and practitioners to ensure the wellbeing—physical, emotional, social, and cognitive—of children and adolescents in low-resource and conflict-affected settings. Using an innovative whole child development approach tailored to context-specific needs, we translate research into timely and thoughtful action, adapt research tools to improve the development of learning programs and policies, and activate systems such as families, schools, and communities to ensure that children and adolescents can thrive.