Publication Date
April 1, 2015

This annual report of the Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) describes: how they work on child health, safety, and early learning (their strategic plan, decision-making cycle, and the tools used); the progress they have made; and their national activities in: Brazil, India, Israel, The Netherlands, Peru, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, and the European Union; and then details information on their staff and finances.

The foundation's ten-year strategic plan, at its midpoint, includes the following objectives: 

  • Taking quality early learning to scale.
  • Reducing violence in young children’s lives. 
  • Improving young children’s living conditions.


Strategic tools include:

  1. "Research and evaluation - Discovering, developing, interpreting or sharing knowledge to solve existing or expected problems
  2. Demonstration services - Developing and delivering products and services to fulfil unmet needs
  3. Capacity building - Helping organisations or individuals enhance their capabilities and develop their skills
  4. Behaviour change - Informing and motivating individuals to change their behaviour for positive social benefits
  5. Policy influence/advocacy - Promoting, developing or resisting a change in government, multilateral, or corporate policy
  6. Systems and infrastructure - Establishing systems and infrastructure that facilitate social change"


Their decision making cycles through: strategy development; electing partners; verifying partner diligence; assessing proposals; monitoring; and evaluation. Of the 47 networks and coalitions supported, stakeholders vary from private sector business leaders in Uganda, to tribal leaders in India, to religious leaders, such as the Imams' Forum in Israel. Efforts included, for example [also see related summaries listed below]: 

  • "The Rede Nacional Primeira Infância in Brazil played a critical role in the introduction and design of Brasil Carinhoso, a national early childhood programme launched in 2012. This programme made a eur 464 million investment in child development during 2014. The Rede also won a national human rights award this year and is now working on the country’s biggest-ever early childhood legislation (see story on page 17).
  • The Grupo Impulsor Inversión en la Infancia (Steering Group for Investment in Children) – a group of Peruvian leaders from academic, scientific, business and cultural circles – created a ‘citizen pact for early childhood’ which has been signed by over 500 mayors and which contributed to the launch of the national early childhood programme Cuna Más in 2012 and the National Plan for Nutrition this year. Combined, these two programmes invested nearly eur 605 million in young children’s health, nutrition and education in 2014 alone (see story on page 18).
  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda has partnered with UNICEF [The United Nations Children’s Fund] to launch the un Children’s Rights and Business Principles and has initiated the Early Steps pledge to support investment in young children. In its first months, 43 Ugandan companies have already signed the Early Steps pledge (see story on page 16).
  • In India, after only two years, the Humara Bachpan (Our Childhood) campaign has mobilised children in 23 cities to advocate for improvements in living conditions in their neighbourhoods. They have worked with the Government to establish facilities important for young children’s development, including playgrounds, water, sanitation and housing.
  • In the Netherlands, the Child Rights Collective has provided the Children’s Ombudsman and municipal governments with child abuse prevention guidelines, now being adopted across the country."


Creating demand for investment in early childhood development (ECD) is supported by development of data: "International, national and local indicators and data collection systems and quantifiable goals play an important role in aligning the efforts of diverse actors concerned with the safety, health and learning of young children." Hence, BvLF supports efforts to include metrics on ECD In official data collection systems nationally and globally. It also works through the seed funding of social entrepreneurs in early-stage innovation.


Email from the Bernard van Leer Foundation to The Communication Initiative on April 9 2015.