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

New website Elevate Children Funders Group is launched! 03-03-2015

Elevate Children Funders Group - new websiteThe Elevate Children Funders Group – of which the Bernard van Leer Foundation is a member - is a consortium of funders dedicated to building strong families and a life free from violence for all children, founded in 2011. You can read all about their mission and work on their newly launched website.

The importance of teaching through play - Private Sector Foundation Uganda 26-02-2015

New Vision - Play with your toddler, he will thank you for his brains‘Parents may not be around when their teenage children face important decisions about choosing peers, experimenting with drugs, engaging in sexual relationships, or staying in school. Yet, parents lay the foundations for their teenage children’s achievements Caroline Ariba writes.’

Read this article published in New Vision on 11 February 2015, about the importance of parents teaching through play for the development of their young children. Featured in this article is the event ‘grow with your child through play’ organised by our partner Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU) as an urban subsidiary of their ‘Early Steps’ programme.

Blog - Inaugural conference of the Institute for Human Development, Nairobi 25-02-2015

Launch Institute for Human Development'Earlier this month I visited Nairobi to attend the launch of the Institute for Human Development, a new centre of excellence that will build capacity and drive innovation in research and higher education on human development. Its aim is to advance the quality of individual lives and contribute to the building of successful pluralistic societies, with a particular focus on children, families, and communities within resource-poor regions of the world.'

Read Programme Officer Karisia Gichuke's experiences at the launch of the Institute for Human Development in Nairobi, Kenya in her new blog.

Download the Global status report on violence prevention 2014 18-02-2015

WHO - Global status report on violence prevention 2014The Global status report on violence prevention 2014 (jointly published by WHO, the United Nations Development Programme, and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, with support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation), which reflects data from 133 countries, is the first report of its kind to assess national efforts to address interpersonal violence, namely child maltreatment, youth violence, intimate partner and sexual violence, and elder abuse. The report takes stock of how governments are making a difference, by assessing the measures countries are taking to prevent and respond to interpersonal violence. But importantly the report also reveals gaps in global violence prevention that must be filled. Read more

Presentations 'Small Children, Big Cities' conference now available! 18-02-2015

All the presentations held during the 'Small Children, Big Cities' conference in New Delhi, India (28-29 November 2014), hosted by the Bernard van Leer Foundation in partnership with Ministry of Urban Development, National Institute of Urban Affairs and School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi, are now available on the conference website. You can read and download all the presentations here.

Blog - Calling for a two generation approach to child development 13-02-2015

Stepping up Early Childhood Development - World Bank'Over the years there has been a long standing recognition that child development is influenced by conditions facing families and in turn families are influenced by the community around them. These concepts have recently received renewed attention through a new report released by the World Bank, Stepping Up Early Childhood Development: Investing in Young Children for High Returns (Dendoba et al, 2014). The document provides a simple guide for policymakers and practitioners about how to invest in young children and families.'

Read the blog post written by Joan Lombardi, Senior Advisor of the Bernard van Leer Foundation, on our corporate blog website.

The Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development – now also on YouTube! 11-02-2015

The Encyclopedia on Early Childhood DevelopmentThe Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development covers topics related to the development of the child, from conception to the age of five, and presents the most up-to-date scientific knowledge. The Encyclopedia is produced by the Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development (CEECD) and the Strategic Knowledge Cluster on Early Child Development (SKC-ECD), supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation. The Encyclopedia is intended for service providers, service planners, policy makers and parents.

Next to the website the Encyclopedia now also has its own YouTube channel, showcasing many interesting videos related to the development of children. Both the website and the YouTube channel are available free of charge. You can watch the videos here.

BvLF in the media: The case for paternity leave 10-02-2015

The case for paternity leaveIf you were a prospective father 20 years ago, getting paternity leave was almost universally a tricky business, no matter where you lived or worked. These days, the situation is different, to say the least. But even though we've made great strides the experts agreed there is much still left to be done to make paternity leave a universal-and universally acceptable-option for dads around the world.

'Mike Feigelson, executive director of the Bernard van Leer Foundation in The Hague, said that fathers who were early caregivers were healthier overall than those who weren't.'

Read the complete article by Jane Greenway on

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