The Woodside Development Fund

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ONE FOCUS AREA: Early childhood development

ONE GLOBAL VISION: Every child thrives in their development, learning and life 

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The early years of a child’s life have a profound effect on their future.​​​​

 

​A good beginning to life is recognised world-wide as the foundation for future development, health and wellbeing.

Focusing on the learning, physical, social, emotional and cultural dimensions of childhood, directly impact a person’s ability to achieve their potential throughout their life.

Recognising this opportunity, in 2014 Woodside committed A$20 million over 10 years to early childhood development to decrease developmental vulnerability and improve outcomes for children aged zero to eight in the communities in which Woodside operate's globally.

The Woodside Development Fund (WDF) strives to build alliances that bring together reso​urces and expertise from early childhood non-profits, researchers, analysts, businesses, academic institutions, philanthropy and government to drive social change.

WDF aims to energise, advocate and collaborate. We believe that by working together we can generate systematic change by creating and enabling conditions for improved early childhood development in our host communities.

 

Catalysing the potential of children creates benefits for communities today and tomorrow.​

 

In Australia, one in five children are developmentally vulnerable when they begin school.1 Evidence shows that when children start school behind, they stay behind.2

Economic research by Nobel Laureate in Economics Dr. James Heckman has demonstrated that high-quality early childhood programs can deliver a 13% per year return on investment. This means a great return to individuals and society in better education, health, economic and social outcomes.3


 

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Investment Snapshot

Investments in Indigenous Australian children and Families

Dampier Peninsula Family Wellbeing Coordination Project

Woodside has partnered with Save the Children to work with four local communities of the Dampier Peninsula in Northern Western Australia, to create a unified approach to improve health and development outcomes for children.​

The initiative involves local elders, school principals, medical services and local and federal government agencies. It also provides support to build local capability in the early years sector.​​


 

Pilbara Early Years Networks (Karratha/Roebourne)

Woodside is collaborating with Regional Development Australia, to support the Roebourne and Karratha Early Years Network and Pilbara Early Years Group.​

The objectives of this initiative are to improve the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) community results, increase school readiness and provide access to professional development opportunities for Early Years Network members.​


 

Family Matters WA Working Group

The WDF commenced its support of SNAICC – National Voice for our Children, in late 2016.​

SNAICC is the national peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, and is supported by a Strategic Alliance of over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non- Indigenous organisations.


Investments targeting community‑based collaboration

Connecting Community for Kids (Cockburn & Kwinana Collective Impact Initiative)

Connecting Community for Kids is about empowering parents, local services, industry and civic leaders in the communities of Cockburn and Kwinana, south of Perth, to work together and make a lasting difference in the lives of children pre-birth to eight and their families.​

The initiative works across government and the community sector to identify gaps and duplication to improve Australian Early Development Census results in the communities and close the gap with metropolitan Perth.


 

Investments to build capacity and capability

Family Connections - Supporting vulnerable children through child care

Woodside has funded Goodstart Early Learning to implement a training program to build educators’ family and community collaboration skills to create environments that improve children’s social, emotional and language skills for better long term outcomes.

Goodstart Early Learning is a network of early learning centres that operate as a not-for-profit, with all generated surplus invested back into early learning initiatives. ​

Through this program, Goodstart Early Learning are repositioning the early learning centres as valuable assets in each community which are inter‑connected with other​ local services and resources.


 

Investments to support advocacy for the early years

The Front Project

​Woodside is a key foundation partner in this business-membership organisation, which was founded in 2016.

The Front Project works to unite the Australian business community to improve the prosperity of the country through investment in the early years.

The organisation has built a powerful community of corporates and individuals who believe in the benefits of early learning and school education, and are committed to helping ensure that Australian workers are skilled, flexible and responsive.​


 

International investment

Myanmar Early Childhood Care and Development Project

​The WDF’s first international investment was in 2016 in Myanmar, in the form of a joint collaboration between the Australian
Government, Plan International, Save the Children and local organisation Pann Pyoe Latt.

The Project engaged parents in the development and application of early years education, hygiene and nutrition, which enabled vulnerable families to not only change their own parenting practices, but to also reach out to neighbours and other family members.

 

 

Education and Empowerment of Children in Dakar, Senegal

​In 2017, the WDF committed to its first investment in Senegal. The education and Empowerment of Children Program is a collaboration between Save the
Children working in partnership with a longstanding local organisation ENDA Jeunesse.


 

The program aims to support teacher training and improve educational outcomes on three communities of Dakar (Guediawaye, Pikine and Rufisque) targeting children aged zero to eight.​

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For more information on the Woodside Development Fund, download the brochure.

1. 2015 AECD Results, ‘Emerging trends from the AEDC’, March 2016
2. AEDC Research snapshot, ‘The predictive validity of the AEDC - Predicting later cognitive and behavioural outcomes’, 2014