The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a private grant-making foundation. 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 promote more cohesive, considerate and creative societies with equal opportunities and rights for all. 

Latest news from the Bernard van Leer Foundation

Foundation for Caribbean children grows out of BvLF's work 20-06-2011

Supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation since 2002, the Caribbean Child Support Initiative is evolving into the Caribbean's first indigenous foundation dedicated to early childhood care and development. The Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children will be launched at a four-day regional forum starting June 27. Read about the FDCC on the Caribbean 360 news website, and see the CCSI's factsheet for further background information.

Peru's president-elect commits to early childhood as BvLF-backed Infobarómetro goes live 10-06-2011

Peru's new president-elect Ollanta Humala has reaffirmed that early childhood programmes will be among his top priorities, echoing commitments he made as a presidential candidate. The below video shows Humala talking to longstanding BvLF partner Salgalú at an advocacy meeting before the election, and his references to early childhood in speeches and interviews following his election victory. Read more

BvLF seeks consultant for 12-month assignment in India 10-06-2011

We are looking for a consultant to help us develop our strategy in India - both our new work focused on child malnutrition and morbidity in urban slums, and our on-going work on improving access to quality multilingual pre-school for tribal children in Orissa. The assignment will run for 12 months, starting as soon as possible, based in India with occasional travel to The Hague. Further details are available here and the deadline for applications is July 9th.

European foundations and evaluation: A trip to Impact Island 09-06-2011

Foundations are generally a demanding lot when it comes to the organizations we fund. We want evaluations, progress reports, audits, indicators, scorecards. But are we also as demanding of ourselves? It seems not. Many foundations do not look rigorously at their own practice to ask themselves if they are using their resources as effectively as they could be.

Why is this? I joined with like-minded partners (Bertlesmann, Cariplo, Erasmus Centre for Strategic Philanthropy, the European Foundation Centre, and the Working Group on Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace) to find out. We surveyed 54 European foundations about their attitudes to assessing their own work, and where they feel they could use more knowledge.

This six-month process led to a recent workshop at the European Foundation Centre’s annual conference in Cascais, Portugal. The conference’s theme was sustainable oceans, so we called our workshop “Impact Island”. On this video, Bettina Windau of Bertelsmann and I briefly explain what Impact Island is all about. Read more

Working Paper on Young Lives in Andhra Pradesh 07-06-2011

WP 58 coverIncreasing choice or inequality? Pathways through early education in Andhra Pradesh, India is the latest working paper to emerge from the Young Lives project, a 15-year longitudinal study of early childhood in four countries: Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. Like all BvLF publications, it is free to download or order.

Combining qualitative research with data from tracking 1950 children born in Andhra Pradesh in 2001, this paper explores the divergence in pre-school and primary services as those offered by the government increasingly compete with a rapidly-growing and poorly-regulated private sector.

Previous working papers in the Young Lives project's Studies in Early Transitions series are Early childhood transitions research: A review of concepts, theory, and practice (Working Paper 48, by Pia Vogler, Gina Crivello and Martin Woodhead); Equity and quality? Challenges for early childhood and primary education in Ethiopia, India and Peru (Working Paper 55, by Martin Woodhead, Patricia Ames, Uma Vennam, Workneh Abebe and Natalia Streuli); and Continuity and respect for diversity: Strengthening early transitions in Peru (Working Paper 56, by Patricia Ames, Vanessa Rojas and Tamia Portugal).

Mexican teacher shows how adults can reduce the impact of violence on young children 31-05-2011

Reducing violence in young children’s lives is one BvLF's three strategic goals - and an issue we have been working on in Juarez, Mexico, for over three years. Today we join the chorus of praise for Martha Rivera, a kindergarten teacher from Monterey (a city in Mexico as afflicted by drugs violence as Juarez) who is being honoured in Mexico for the way in which she kept the children in her class safe and calm during a deadly gun battle between drug gangs going on right outside of the school. The video below has already been seen over 200,000 times on YouTube.

Her actions illustrate the important role adults can play in protecting young children from violence and limiting the influence of that violence on their development. Our programmes in Brazil and Israel also focus on finding out more about how societal violence effects young children and what adults and society at large can do to limit the impact of that violence on the development of young children.

Lisa Jordan blogs on transparency 26-05-2011

Creating a value base for transparency in Europe is the subject of a new post by BvLF's executive director Lisa Jordan on The Foundation Center's "Glass Pockets" blog.

US audiences hear about Hagar's work in Israel 23-05-2011

Amal Elsana Alhjooj and Hagit Damri of the Hagar bilingual school - a partner of the Bernard van Leer Foundation in Israel, where children from Jewish and Arab backgrounds learn together - recently visited the United States on an informational and fundraising tour.

You can read about the background to the visit on the Hagar website, and local accounts of their meetings in Tacoma in Soundly Jewish, and in Los Angeles in the Jewish Journal. For a short introduction to Hagar's work (subtitled in English), see the below video.

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