We are grounded by the fundamental belief that every child has a right to ‘health and well-being’ and all children should achieve their full potential.
Launched in 2020, the Protecting Every Child’s Potential initiative (PECP) is a public private partnership that works to raise awareness of the impact of lead exposure on children’s long-term health and development and mobilize action to abolish dangerous practices that cause harmful lead exposure.
Around 1 in 3 children – up to 800 million globally – have blood lead levels indicative of lead poisoning. Informal and substandard recycling of lead-acid batteries is a leading contributor to exposure in areas where children play, live and go to school in low and middle-income countries.
With the scope and scale of this crisis in mind, Pure Earth, UNICEF, and the Clarios Foundation partnered to form the Protecting Every Child’s Potential initiative. We believe that children deserve a future free from lead exposure. By combining the expertise of the public and private sectors and civil society, we are working toward that reality. PECP supports large-scale efforts to reduce lead poisoning in seven countries, including Bangladesh, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Philippines.
PECP draws on the three founding organizations’ complementary expertise:
- The rehabilitation of contaminated sites,
- the safe manufacturing and responsible recycling of lead acid batteries,
- and the promotion of children’s health and rights.
“I have been a great believer in public private partnerships. It’s something that I learned when I was in office and I know that it makes all the difference if you can get the private sector and the public sector working together to solve a problem, and we have this magic trio on this.”
— Madeleine Albright, speaking at the PECP launch, Oct. 2020.
“The good news is lead-contaminated sites can be remediated and restored. People can be educated about the dangers of lead and empowered to protect themselves and their children. The return on the investment is enormous: improved health, increased productivity, higher IQs, less violence, and brighter futures for millions of children across the planet.”
— Richard Fuller, CEO and Founder of Pure Earth.
Protecting Every Child’s Potential: Growth and Progress
Today, PECP supports large-scale efforts to reduce lead poisoning in seven countries, including Bangladesh, Georgia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Philippines. The rapid growth of PECP is a sign that our call to action in 2020, made following the release of the Toxic Truth report, is being heard.
What started with $15M in seed grants to support work in five countries –Bangladesh, Georgia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Mexico– has grown with $8.2M in new funding from from GiveWell, the Effective Altruism Global Health and Development Fund, and Open Philanthropy. PECP has expanded to support work in the Philippines and India and to conduct Blood Lead Level surveys in the Philippines, India and Bangladesh. In addition, Pure Earth has begun conducting Rapid Marketplace Screenings in 25 countries to identify lead-containing products and prioritize countries for future interventions.
New partners are joining PECP and growing our capabilities and expertise, including the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution (GAHP), and Vital Strategies. In June 2022, the International Lead Association, Association of Battery Recyclers, EUROBAT, and Battery Council International joined the Protecting Every Child’s Potential. The four associations have pledged to help advance PECP’s mission to ensure a future free from childhood lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) where capacities, including regulatory, are often absent. In addition to other forms of assistance, the associations will provide pro-bono technical support remotely and, on the ground, to help LMIC regulators and facilities adopt global best practices. This is an activity that ILA and BCI have supported for many years with successful projects delivered in Africa, Central America and Asia.
Learn more about current PECP activities and projects to reduce lead exposure in the 2022 Progress Report.
Our Guiding Principles
At the heart of everything we do lie nine agreed-upon beliefs that provide the ‘why’ of our partnership. Each one works toward the protection of children through issue advocacy, education and collaboration.
Every Child Has a Right to Health
We All Have a Role
We acknowledge we all have a role to help educate governments and the public of the dangers of lead and how they can help protect their children.
Confidence in Solutions
We are confident solutions to protect children from lead exposure are well within reach and they need not compromise growth, prosperity, or equity.
Now is the Time
It is time to do this .
Belief in Our Efforts
We believe our efforts to protect children from lead exposure must be meaningful, measurable, equitable and ensure sustained progress towards improving the health and well-being of children.
Appreciate Need for Government Action
We appreciate that inherent in these principles is the need for government action to implement legislation and set and enforce standards that properly regulate the safe manufacture, usage and, most importantly, smelting of lead-acid batteries.
Committed to Our Approach
We commit to a multi-stakeholder approach to work collaboratively with local and national governments, businesses, the United Nations system, academia and civil society to share best practices and model policies.
Aware of Challenges
We recognize that the task of addressing this global crisis poses a formidable challenge that will not be met overnight. Actions and interventions may need to occur incrementally, and always with the awareness of local conditions and concern for livelihoods.
We Have the Tools
We have the tools to track and measure our progress towards improving the health and well-being of children.
Op-Ed by Madeline Albright and Henrietta Fore: Lead poisoning affects 1 in 3 kids worldwide—but it’s not too late to act