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Young Children Affected by HIV/AIDS Strategic Initiative

This project involves the implementation of a Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Strategy for the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation’s Young Children Affected by HIV/AIDS Initiative. The Initiative seeks to improve the developmental outcomes of all young children (from birth to five) in five focus African countries (Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique & Tanzania) through ensuring quality evidence-based programmes, strengthening systems and building an evidence base for early childhood development.


ILCHR conducted detailed indicator tracking of all programs in the initiative and provided ongoing support to various NGO and community-based organisations in the five African countries in their monitoring and evaluation of programmes that support caregivers and their young children. Partners were also supported to implement a measure of caregiving quality in Zambia, Kenya and Malawi. Through the Initiative’s online learning community (PLANT), ILCHR hosted a range of webinars on topics related to nurturing caregiving, health systems and policy for ECD, and COVID-19. ILCHR also organised and hosted a two-part online convening series on Integrating Nurturing Care as part of health systems in Eastern and Southern Africa following the cancellation of the in-person convening that was due to take place in Mozambique in March.

Multiple locations; Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Mozambique & Tanzania

Children (0-5 years) and their caregivers

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Khwezi Lokusa: Early Morning Star (CIPHER Fellowship)

The Khwezi Lokusa project aims to adapt an existing intervention component, that was used in the Lesotho-based Mphatlalatsane (Early Morning Star) trial, to improve HIV testing rates in young children. The specific aims of this project are to optimise the intervention for delivery in South Africa; and to test the feasibility and acceptability of integrating the HIV component into an existing parenting programme (SinoKids). We are working in partnership with Clowns Without Borders South Africa, and the project is being delivered in Khayelitsha, Cape Town to caregivers with children between the ages of 2-5 years.


Focus groups were conducted with multiple community stakeholders in Khayelitsha, which aimed to elicit opinions on the barriers and enabling factors for caregivers in Khayelitsha to take their young children for HIV testing and to identify relevant contextual issues that are likely to influence the content and delivery of the intervention. The intervention design is currently being finalised and will be piloted with 120 families during 2021.

Khayelitsha, Western Cape, South Africa

Caregivers with children between the ages of 2-5 years

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Sharing Stories: The Parent Engagement through Digital Books (PED) Project

The Sharing Stories intervention is a fully digital programme, delivered to caregivers of young children over WhatsApp to promote child social, emotional and language development and positive, responsive parenting, combined with support for caregivers’ mental wellbeing. The digital intervention is based on an in-person, evidence-based shared reading programme, which guides caregivers in how to use digital picture books in playful ways to support their children’s learning and development. Through partnering with the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI) and the Africa Early Childhood Network (AfECN), the programme is being pilot tested in Tanzania, Zambia and Uganda.

Rapid consultation interviews with program staff and caregivers in each country took place to inform the development of the digital intervention. Baseline data collection has been completed with a total of 720 caregivers of young children in the three countries. All intervention materials have been developed and translated into the local languages. The project was selected to be featured at the LEGO Foundation’s annual board meeting.

Lwengo District, Masaka District, Sembabule District, and Kyotera District, Uganda, Temeke District and Ubungo District, Tanzania, and Chibombo, Chilanga, Kafue and Lusaka, Zambia

Caregivers with children between the ages of 9 and 32 months

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Nurturing Care Handbook

Over the past year, ILCHR have been working with WHO stakeholders to develop the Nurturing Care Handbook. The handbook helps users put the Nurturing Care Framework into practice.


The handbook consists of 6 guides, each of which are available as standalone documents. Each guide provides information related to the five strategic actions of the Nurturing Care Framework. The handbook is a living document with guidance and resources that will be regularly updated as more experience is gained in the implementation of the Nurturing Care Framework.



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Measurement Hub: Emerging tech for child development

ILCHR in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) and Innovation Edge is working to develop an information, learning and practice hub for emerging child measurement technologies in Africa. The hub aims to create a central regional point around which a network of actors using emerging technologies for child outcome measurement can cohere and assess the extent to which technology can be leveraged to generate data to inform improvements in programmes and services aiming to improve early child development.

To identify potential technologies that can address measurement needs, ILCHR conducted an extensive mapping exercise of available technologies, which was then reviewed in terms of their relevance, cost, implementation requirements and adaptability for use in low-income settings.

South Africa



Gender-responsive pedagogy for early childhood education (GRP4ECE)

ILCHR is adapting an international toolkit for genderresponsive pedagogy for use in the South African early childhood education context. In collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, the contextualised toolkit has been developed to provide practical guidance to teachers, teacher trainers and school leaders, to implement gender-responsive lessons and play-based activities, as well as gender-responsive policies in the school environment.

The VVOB’s international toolkit has been contextualised through a series of consultation workshops with local gender and education experts to produce two practical guides: one for teachers and practitioners and another for school leaders and school management teams.

South Africa


WHO Monitoring Child Development Review

A review of monitoring child development and identifying children at risk

This narrative review aims to identify current approaches to detecting risk in children aged 0 – 3 of suboptimal development. The review also aims to draw attention to lessons which countries might use to inform decision-making about feasibility and usefulness for implementation in their context, at the primary care level.



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