About The Bernard Van Leer Foundation
A good start for all children
A good start puts each individual child on the path to realising their full potential and, collectively, lays the foundation for a healthy, creative and peaceful society.
Who are we?
All babies and toddlers deserve a good start in life.
The Bernard van Leer Foundation is an independent foundation working worldwide to inspire and inform large-scale action to improve the health and well-being of young children, especially the most disadvantaged, and the people who care for them.
For more than 50 years, we have worked to develop and share knowledge about how to improve young children’s health, nutrition and education. We aim to bring together robust science, practical ideas and strong leadership. We have seen in practice how this combination can transform the lives of millions of children and families.
How do we work?
We are constantly gathering intelligence on the innovative approaches and emerging leaders that hold promise for advancing social change at scale.
Building on the latest science, we adapt proven early childhood interventions for a set of socially, economically and culturally diverse countries and cities around the world. At the same time, we always search for opportunities to share what we learn and help accelerate large-scale change for babies, toddlers and the people who care for them. We offer our partners access to curated global knowledge and expertise, strategic funding, connections to an international network of peers, access to events and media platforms, advocacy, and technical assistance.
Defining and measuring impact is important to us, and we are careful to select reliable, meaningful performance indicators for our own initiatives as well as the programmes and services we encourage. Additionally, we work hard to build in considerations about scale from the early design stages of every project.
Why focus on scale?
Going beyond pilot projects to address the challenges of implementation at scale.
Plenty of interventions to improve the youngest children’s health, nutrition, protection and learning have proven their worth at small scale. Harnessing growing political will worldwide, the challenge now is to effectively reach millions of children – to transition what has worked at the pilot level and expand it to large-scale policies and programmes that serve all children, especially those most in need.
Demonstrating that a project benefits young children is important. Expanding that model to benefit millions of children is a goal that presents different challenges. Often, the difference between success and failure on a larger scale is a matter of execution. It requires building a strong frontline workforce and supporting managers to drive an ongoing cycle of design, implementation, monitoring and adjustment.