The global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 4.2 includes early childhood development to “ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality ECD.” Further, the 2016 Lancet series “From Science to Scale” highlighted the importance of supporting children and families during the first 1,000 days of life when development is most rapid and when nurturing care (including responsive caregiving, stimulation and early learning, health, nutrition, and security and safety) by parents and other caregivers is among the most decisive factors for healthy child growth and development. The series further highlighted the need for multi-sectoral interventions, particularly the role of the health sector given its reach to families and children in the early years.

Building on increasing evidence and global momentum as well as our learning and achievements, the Foundation’s 2017-2021 strategy focuses on strengthening programs, systems and the evidence base to contribute to the 2030 SDG targets. Together with our partners, we aim to demonstrate effective, scalable approaches to improve growth and development outcomes for young children. Our emphasis is on the first 1,000 days and health systems in high HIV prevalence communities in Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.