The Bernard van Leer Foundation is an international grantmaking foundation based in The Hague.
Our mission is to improve opportunities for children up to age 8 who are growing up in socially and economically difficult circumstances. We see this both as a valuable end in itself and as a long-term means to promoting more cohesive, considerate and creative societies with equal opportunities and rights for all.
Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation
On August 5th the ceremony for the 1st National Award for Projects with Child Participation (Prêmio Nacional de Projetos com Participação Infantil) was held in Ipanema, Brazil. The first prize winning project is: Escola de Comunicação da Meninada do Sertão (Fundação Casa Grande Memorial do Homem Kariri).
Curious about the other finalists and winners? Check out this link.
The competition, conducted by CECIP (Centro de Criação da Imagem Popular), with support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation, aims to enrich the field and practical discussions around the idea of child participation in Brazil.
By Michael Feigelson, Interim Executive Director, 1 August 2014
In 2007 The Lancet medical journal published an article stating that more than 200 million children under five fail to reach their potential in cognitive development because of poverty, poor health and nutrition, and lack of responsive caregiving. This statistic made the rounds in the worlds of public health, education and other segments of society generally focused on the welfare of our youngest citizens. Unfortunately, it did not achieve the same degree of penetration among one of the most powerful global communities --- business leaders. Why?
The more I have spoken with business leaders around the world, the more I have come to believe the answer is related to how we tell the story. Frequently, those of us who spend our days consumed with Lancet articles and the like have committed the all too common mistake of trying to convince others to engage in an issue we love for the same reasons that moved us to action. Instead, we should have been focusing on connecting to the intrinsic motivations that move business leaders everyday. We need to explain why young children are good for business...
Read the complete article by Michael Feigelson in 'The Guardian'.
'Violence is preventable' is the message in a new film launched by WithoutViolence. This animated film outlines facts about the impact of violence and gives some examples of the ways in which violence in the lives of children has been effectively reduced around the globe. You can watch the film here:
WithoutViolence is a new field-building pilot project designed to help violence prevention leaders and practitioners communicate solutions and accelerate their impact for improving the lives of boys and girls. WithoutViolence is funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation. For more information visit: withoutviolence.org.
Michael Feigelson today takes over as interim Executive Director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, following the departure of Lisa Jordan.
The proud father of a new baby daughter, Michael has worked for the Foundation since 2007, most recently as Programme Director. He has spent the last 15 years focused on working with governments, civil society and business to improve opportunities for children and youth around the world. He is a former Thomas J. Watson Fellow and McKinsey & Company consultant and has degrees from Princeton and Wesleyan University. Read more about Michael and the rest of the Foundation team here.
Three authors from the latest edition of Early Childhood Matters - Jennifer Lansford (the Better Parenting Programme in Jordan), Adrienne Burgess (Reaching out to fathers: ‘what works’ in parenting interventions?) and Catherine Ward (Parenting for Lifelong Health: from South Africa to other low-and middle-income countries) - present their articles in this hour-long webinar, which includes an audience Q&A. You can also download the webinar presentation.
The Bernard van Leer Foundation has just launched a brand new corporate Twitter account! Follow us @BvLFoundation to stay updated on the latest news regarding our Foundation.
Join us for the Early Childhood Matters webinar on Responsive parenting as a strategy to prevent violence, coming July 10th.
Further to the newest published edition of Early Childhood Matters, a webinar will be held that features brief presentations and Q&A opportunities with three authors of articles in this edition:
- Jennifer E. Lansford, Research Professor, Duke University Centre for Child and Family Policy;
- Adrienne Burgess, Joint CEO and Head of Research, Fatherhood Institute;
- Catherine L. Ward, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology and Safety and Violence Initiative, University of Cape Town.
This webinar will take place on July 10th, 2014:
16:00 hrs - 17:00 hrs (Amsterdam local time)
10:00 hrs - 11:00 hrs (New York, USA)
19:30 hrs - 20:30 hrs (Delhi, India)
To register please click here.
The new edition of the Bernard van Leer Foundation's biannual journal, Early Childhood Matters, addresses the theme of responsive parenting, and in particular the potential for responsive parenting programmes to reduce the incidence of violence against young children.
As players stride onto the pitch at the World Cup in Brazil this month, they will enter hand-in-hand with a child. Kids have become the brand of one of the most competitive global sports. The iconic FC Barcelona even sports the UNICEF logo on its jerseys.
This is one example of how men who have historically been symbols of toughness are embracing a new archetype of manliness—one in which they care for their kids, are sensitive with their partners, and share power without losing respect. A “new macho” is emerging, and change is spreading. A 2013 Pew Research study on the “new American father” illustrates several examples.
There is still a long way to go. Traditional stereotypes of strong men—dominant, physically forceful, unemotional—still perpetuate problems such as sexual assault, domestic violence, and bullying. However, rather than focusing on bad behavior, social change leaders should be looking for answers in the experience of the tough guys who are changing.
What motivates men who embody the new macho, and how can we combine the answers with new insights from behavioral science to accelerate the transformation?Read the complete article by Lisa Witter & Michael Feigelson on the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
It's a sad fact that children born in poverty start out at a disadvantage and continue to fall further behind kids who are more privileged as they grow up. But a new analysis of a long-term study in Jamaica shows that surprisingly simple ways of stimulating children’s mental development can have dramatic benefits later in life.
The children were participants in the Jamaican Study, a project geared towards improving cognitive development begun in the mid-1980s by child health specialists Sally Grantham-McGregor of University College London and Susan Walker of the University of the West Indies, Mona, in Jamaica. They focused on children between the ages of 9 and 24 months whose growth was stunted, placing them in the bottom 5% of height for their age and sex (an easy-to-quantify gauge of extreme poverty). Children of normal height in the same neighborhoods were also studied for comparison. For 2 years, community health workers visited the families weekly. One group was given nutritional assistance only (a formula containing 66% of daily recommended calories, along with vitamins and minerals). One group received a mental and social stimulation program only, and one group got stimulation and nutritional assistance. A final group had no intervention and served as a control.
Follow-up studies over the next 20 years revealed that the Jamaican children who received the mental stimulation had better grades and higher IQs, showed fewer signs of depression, and got in fewer fights. The new study, reported online in Science, focused on the children's economic achievement as young adults. Gertler, Grantham-McGregor, Walker, and colleagues tracked down 105 out of the original 129 growth-stunted children. Those who had received the stimulation intervention had earned 25% more than the children in the control group. Even more exciting, Gertler notes, is that they had closed the gap—in physical and economic stature—between themselves and children in their neighborhoods with normal height and weight. Adding nutritional assistance to the mental stimulation didn’t improve outcomes any further, and nutritional assistance on its own had no effect—likely because this kind of intervention must be used before a child’s growth has been stunted, Gertler says. "Mental and social stimulation at around 1 year of age really matter," Gertler says. "It was enough to reduce and possibly eliminate inequality in the long term." Gertler emphasizes that the interventions were inexpensive, consisting of toys, books, and conversation—not pricey, high-tech gadgets like iPads, for example.
"Investing in the early years pay off," Joan Lombardi, Senior Advisor of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, says. "It's time to translate this growing science into improved policies and new investments in young children and their families around the world."
Read the complete article in Science Magazine.