Testing solutions for improved health
and development across the life course
At ILCHR, we conduct research to provide evidence about what works to improve outcomes for parents, children, adolescents, and adults in the South African setting, as well as other low-resource communities
The Institute for Life Course Health Research is housed within the Department of Global Health, in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University
Through our work, we aim to generate evidence on prominent factors that stand between individuals, families and communities and their improved health and well-being.
We work closely with communities to develop relevant and acceptable interventions that seek to address issues such as caregiver mental health, early child development, HIV/AIDS, adolescent mental health, sexual and reproductive health, alcohol abuse, violence and trauma.
Where we work
The Institute largely operates from a central research hub, situated in Khayelitsha, outside of Cape Town, where the team has worked for more than 12 years.
ILCHR works across South Africa
and the sub-continent, having run projects in Lesotho, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria.
At ILCHR, our mission is to work upstream in the prevention cycle so that individuals, families and communities can minimise or overcome the harmful effects of adversity. Through a life course perspective, we aim to work more strategically to build resilience at crucial “tipping points” in a person’s life, to prevent patterns of disadvantage from affecting multiple generations.
Pregnancy & Infancy
The ILCHR team has successfully followed up birth cohorts into middle childhood and late adolescence.
This young man is holding up a photo of himself as an infant, taken by the research team during one of our first studies - a randomised control trial of a home visiting programme, delivered to mothers and their infants in Khayelitsha, South Africa.
The ILCHR team searched extensively to re-assess this cohort of children at 12-14 years of age, and again during late adolescence, as part of the
Zifune (Find Yourself) study.
Due to the nature and breadth of our work, we use a transdisciplinary approach to our projects and initiatives, which requires consultation and partnership across different fields. In our work, we collaborate with large international agencies such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and frequently work in partnership with other academic institutions, NGOs and governing bodies.
Funders and Collaborators:
Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, South Africa
British Academy, United Kingdom
Clowns without Borders, South Africa
Collaborative Initiative for Paediatric HIV Education and Research (CIPHER)
Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, USA
Department for the Economy, Northern Ireland
Department of Health, South Africa
Department of Education, South Africa
Department of Social Development, South Africa
DG Murray Trust, South Africa
DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development, South Africa
Elma Philanthropies, South Africa
Fondation Botnar, Switzerland
GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents Hub, United Kingdom
Grand Challenges Canada
Harvard University, USA
Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa
Ilifa Labantwana, South Africa
Innovation Edge, South Africa
Regional Interagency Task Team on Children and AIDS (RIATT)
LEGO Foundation, Denmark
LENA Foundation, USA
Medical Research Council (MRC), South Africa
Medical Research Council (MRC), National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Department for International Development (DFID), United Kingdom
National Research Fund (NRF), South Africa
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSREC)
NIH National Institute of Mental Health, USA
NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, USA
NIH National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, USA
Oak Foundation, USA
One to One Children’s Fund, United Kingdom
Philani Maternal Child Health and Nutrition Project, South Africa
Plan International, United Kingdom
President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), USA
Queen’s University Belfast, United Kingdom
Sexual Violence Research Initiative, South Africa
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
The Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture, South Africa
UBS Optimus Foundation, Switzerland
United Nations Children’s Fund, USA
University College London, United Kingdom
University of Bath, United Kingdom
University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), USA
University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
University of Cape Town, South Africa
University of Oxford, United Kingdom
University of Reading, United Kingdom
VVOB - Education for Development, Belgium
Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom
Wellspring Advisors, USA
World Health Organization