Children posing in their school uniforms

Early Childhood Development is essential for all children to achieve their full potential and lead happy and healthy lives. It is estimated that in developing countries 43 per cent (approx. 250 million) children under 5 years old are not reaching their developmental potential and tragically 5.6 million children under the age of five died in 2016, many of those deaths were avoidable.

Far too many children perish before reaching the age of five, but the near certainty that millions of children worldwide today will fall far below their development potential is no less a tragedy. 

But there is a solution; the good news is that early childhood presents an incomparable window of opportunity to make a difference in a child’s life. The right interventions at the right time can counter disadvantage and boost a child’s development and survival. Providing evidence-based interventions from birth to school age for the whole family, especially for those most marginalized is the most cost-effective equalizer to break the vicious cycle of inequity.

We are committed to funding high quality programmes across the four main areas of child development; Nutrition, Health, Safety & Protection and Care & Early Stimulation to achieve greatest impact and ensure as many children as possible grow up happy, healthy and safe.


For children to achieve their developmental potential, receiving quality health, nutrition, protection and stimulation

An African boy in a wheelchair with his friends

The negative impact of children not receiving adequate health, nutrition, early stimulation, learning opportunities, care and protection, can be devastating and far reaching, with children having lowered cognitive, language and psychosocial outcomes, which can lead to low educational attainment, unemployment, intergenerational violence and criminal behaviour, poor health outcomes and in some tragic cases death. The latest evidence even indicates that early deprivation leaves a genetic mark that is expressed in future generations, indeed, the structures of immediate, underlying as well as macro-level causes of early deprivation perpetuate cycles of poverty, inequity and the neglect of basic child rights.

We will fund and support high quality, well-planned and well-resourced programmes that are ‘developmentally appropriate’ respecting children’s rights, needs, capacities, interests and ways of learning at each stage of their early lives. We recognise the interdependencies between nutrition, health, care and education, from the ‘first 1000 days’ onwards and the need to build on and support children’s key relationships, especially with their mother, father and wider family in the specific physical, social, cultural and language contexts that are the foundation for well-being.

Other programme areas