What is ALAS?
ALAS or Latin America in Solidary Action (from the Spanish: América Latina en Acción Solidaria) is a non-profit organization founded in the City of Panama on December 12, 2006. ALAS is a group of Latin American leaders who work together to ensure that children from 0-6 years of age reach their full potential. The aim is to promote integrated educational programs and quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) to generate changes in public policies.
Why does ALAS focus on Early Childhood Development (ECD)?
Early childhood is considered the most important development phase in everyone’s life. Eighty percent of an individual’s brain develops between 0 and 3 years of age. Thoughts, sensations, personal traits, and motor abilities are shaped during this period. In addition, basic communication skills, particularly speech and language, develop between 3 and 6 years of age. If neurological development in children under 3 years of age experiences delays due to unsuitable prenatal care, malnutrition, or lack of stimulation, all the adverse effects this may have for the rest of their lives are both difficult and expensive to compensate. The consequences in the medium and the long term include poor health, a disruptive social behavior that could eventually lead to criminality later in life, learning difficulties, school failure, and diminished income-earning capacity. In turn, these have very profound implications. ALAS considers ECD among its top priorities, as it believes ECD to be potentially the most effective way to mitigate poverty and narrow the inequality gap in Latin America and the Caribbean.
How is ALAS financed?
The ALAS operating budget is funded by the generous contributions of ALAS Executive Committee members. These funds are used to cover salaries, travel and other direct and indirect operational costs.
Does ALAS raise funds for Early Childhood Development projects?
No, ALAS does not raise funds. What ALAS does is to obtain the commitment from donors and governments to invest in Latin America in programs directed to early childhood. ALAS does not receive money to save or invest, rather, ALAS proposes integrated Early Childhood Development projects where those funds can be effectively used.
What type of projects does ALAS propose?
ALAS proposes projects that are implemented by public entities or NGOs and that can benefit Latin American children under 6 years of age in an integrated way. Projects or programs should seek that children can develop their full potential and provide them with proper health services, education and nutrition, thus contributing to the erradication of the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
What are the factors of success of ALAS?
The success of ALAS lies on garnering the commitment of business leaders, governments and members of civil society to help and devote their attention to Latin America's children during their first 6 years of life. The attention and education that a child between 0-6 years receives will determine his or hers possibilities for the future and thus, it should be a priority for the State and its society. Thus, ALAS engages with influential sectors of society that are able to implement integrated solutions for vulnerable children. ALAS perceives an extraordinary eagerness from the business sector, who see this as an excellent solution for private investment interests in social projects for the region.