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

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.

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

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 10 years.


ILCHR works across South Africa

(Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces) 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 far and wide 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.

© 2020 by ILCHR 

Office 4009, 4th Floor, Education Building, Francie van Zijl Drive, Tygerberg, 7505