Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, and Child Health

Informing design and implementation for early child development programmes: follow for updates!

Archives of Disease in Childhood Series coming in March 2019

#ACT4ECD #everychildthrive

This page will be updated as we get closer to the series launch! Read below for background information to the series and the programmes that made it possible. 


17-21 March 2019: Our series will be launched online at the 29th International Paediatrics Association Congress in Panama City, Panama. The series will be available online from the 18th March and will be officially launched on Tuesday 19th March during ‘Concurrent Session 9: Implementing Early Child Development Programmes at Scale: Who, Where, and What can paediatricians do? Launch of a new series in Archives of Diseases in Childhood’. Follow the conversation @IPA_Congress #IPA2019

12-13 December 2018: At the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, the Bernard van Leer Foundation and partners hosted a session, ‘Spotlight on the many voices of the early childhood workforce’. The session focused on the ECD workforce now, what challenges it faces, and how it can be improved to better deliver the Nurturing Care Framework. Our series will support this learning, helping to provide evidence-based actions for an effective, multisectoral ECD workforce.

This is a critical moment for global action in early child development (ECD). Worldwide, an estimated 250 million children under the age of five are at risk of not reaching their developmental potential. The Sustainable Development Goals and the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030) envision that every child has the opportunity to thrive and the 2018 WHO & UNICEF Nurturing Care Framework provides a policy framework for this.

To support the shift to large-scale implementation for ECD, policymakers and programmers require practicable suggestions for context-specific design and implementation interventions.

We are launching a series of papers, in partnership with collaborators from multiple institutions, sectors, and backgrounds, aimed at informing design and implementation of early child development programmes in low- and middle-income countries around the world.

Building on the evaluation of the Grand Challenges, Canada, Saving Brains portfolio and additional analyses, we will discuss evidence to inform decision points encountered in scaling of early child development programmes.

The papers include new data, analyses and case studies, covering;

  • situational assessment, including inter-sectoral partnerships
  • contextual design choices for programmes
  • measurement of ECD including coverage and outcomes in routine programmes
  • trends in donor funding, and how to improve accountability
  • multi-stakeholder perspectives on scaling.

Learning from Saving Brains: informing policies and scale-up for early childhood (Early Childhood Matters, 2018)

Saving Brains is a multi-institution, multi-donor partnership led by Grand Challenges Canada which awarded 84 grants to innovation projects across 31 low- and middle-income countries between 2011 and 2017. The overall aim of Saving Brains is to develop sustainable and scalable ways of nurturing healthy brain development in the first 1000 days. Through technical support and leadership development, Saving Brains provides an opportunity to demonstrate proof of concept, to ‘transition to scale’ grants, which progress selected interventions towards larger scale and sustainability.

As one of the largest investments in early childhood interventions in low- and middle-income countries, the Saving Brains portfolio has unique potential to inform understanding of processes towards scaling.

Read more about Saving Brains here.

Download the full article here.

The series has been made possible by funding support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The Saving Brains impact and process evaluation was funded by Grand Challenges Canada.


  1. Milner, K.M., Kohli-Lynch, M.K., Tann, C.J. and Lawn, J.E. on behalf of the Expert Advisory Group and Saving Brains Platform Team. (2016, unpublished). Saving Brains Portfolio Impact and Process Evaluation Report. London: School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

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