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
An interactive panel discussion on ‘Implementing Child Rights in Early Childhood’ was held at UNICEF House in New York last night to highlight the importance of the period between birth and three years. Among the panellists was BvLF's executive director Lisa Jordan, who stressed that only 53 per cent of countries have comprehensive national early childhood development programmes in place. Read a full report on the panel discussion here.
‘And what do you expect from UNESCO?’, the Dutch Ambassador to UNESCO Mr Barend ter Haar asked me quite candidly at UNESCO's World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education in Moscow last month. Armed with talking points I rattled off two areas of intervention that UNESCO could champion. However, the first answer that came to mind was ‘Not much’. Read more
In the autumn edition of the European Foundation Centre's Effect Magazine, BVLF's Executive Dirctor Lisa Jordan co-authors a piece discussing The essentials of impact assessment (pdf).
‘There is nothing for these kids and families. This is the area of greatest need in this country. Where are you?’ This was one of many responses we got when I visited Israel last month to determine how our new goals – bringing quality early learning to scale; reducing violence in young children’s lives; and addressing the physical environment in which young children live – respond to one of the local contexts in which we work. Read more
The United Nations have published an 18-page pdf entitled Status of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, presented to the 65th session of the UN General Assembly. Most of the report, paragraphs 6 through 61, is specifically focused on the current state of implementation of the CRC regarding young children. (For further information, see our backgrounder on General Comment 7, on implementing child rights in early childhood).
The latest edition of Early Childhood in Focus, entitled Culture and learning, looks at children's right to "development": the major policy questions surrounding the place of culture in early childhood programmes, and how to promote development and learning while respecting cultural diversities. The ECiF series provides clear reviews of research for policy makers and child advocates.
Speaking at an event in Peru last week to launch the latest results of the Young Lives project (press release, in Spanish), the Chair of the foundation Board of Trustees, Peter Bell (pictured, right), called for Peru to focus as much on human development and the fair distribution of wealth as on economic growth and physical infrastructure. Young Lives is a major longitudinal study of children in Peru and three other countries, funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The project's progress so far in Peru was the subject of a recent foundation working paper.
In the wake of Roma expulsions from France, the European Foundation Centre (EFC) Forum for Roma Inclusion met in Vienna on 9-10 September to renew their ongoing efforts to abate Roma exclusion and step up actions to promote European values. Read more
Today a front-page feature in the Miami New Times and several other US newspapers considers the plight of young children in Ciudad Juarez, the subject of BvLF executive director Lisa Jordan's recent message. As BvLF's Leonardo Yanez says in the article, "In just a few more years, these kids are going to be sucked into the narco world. Early childhood is the point where a rupture can be made."
How can governments make sure non-profit organizations in Europe aren’t being used a front for financing terrorism? This was the subject of the EU Directorate General of Home Affairs’ third meeting on non-profit sector transparency and accountability. Having co-authored a book on accountability in the non-profit sector, I was happy to be asked to share my views. Read more