top of page
Sinamatella - Mphatlalasane - Lesotho -

Testing solutions for improved health

and development across the life course

life course2.png
life course_1.png
life course4.png
life course3.png
life course5.png
life course6.png
life course7.png

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.

map blue.png

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

US - Mphatlalasane - Lesotho 2015 - Inte






Sinamatella - Eyethu League Launch - 201
Sinamatella - Eyethu League Launch - 201



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

bottom of page