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Our Work

Generating evidence

Developing interventions

sharing knowledge

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Sinamatella - Eyethu League Launch - 201
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US - Mphatlalasane - Lesotho 2015 - Inte

Our work targets many of the important objectives outlined in the

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Aligned with the SDGs' focus on equitable opportunities, our Institute works to design, implement and evaluate community-based interventions that can reach families and children who would otherwise be left behind.

generatig evidence

generating evidence

Through conducting rigorous research that prioritises the well-being of participants, we aim to identify drivers of poverty and inequality, and to mitigate its effects on people’s lives.


In addition to community-based research, our team is experienced in conducting systematic reviews across topics linked to intervention design and implementation. Through this work, we aim to synthesise evidence and find commonalities of effectiveness that can strategically direct future programming and research.

Proudly rooted in the Southern African context, we strive to transfer knowledge into practice,  while bringing feedback to the communities from where the findings originate. 


developing Interventions

Through our work, we aim to place people at the centre of solutions to improve health and reduce inequalities across the life course.

We therefore work in close partnership with communities to develop and implement intervention programmes that are relevant and acceptable, with the aim to support sustainable mechanisms of change once a project ends. 

Developing interventions

Adolescent engagement and participation


Active adolescent engagement is an essential aspect of any programme aimed at teenagers. Through engagement and participation in programme development, young people can become active agents of change to address issues that concern them. A central principle of our work is to enable adolescents from our study communities to not only have their voices heard, but acted upon. We therefore work in partnership with young people through an Adolescent Advisory Board where adolescents weigh in on the planning, development and implementation of our programmes.

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Image source: SVRI


sharing knowledge

Dissemination is a core focus of our work. We aim to communicate our findings across different platforms, to place study results in the hands of those with the agency to bring about change.

In addition to implementing projects and publishing results, ILCHR members provide training and capacity-building opportunities for other organisations and researchers, both locally and internationally.

sharing knowledge
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Mark Tomlinson

Mark is the co-director of the Institute and a Professor in the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University. 


Prof Mark Tomlinson and Prof Sarah Skeen lead the ILCHR team

Sarah is the co-director of the Institute and a senior researcher in the Department of Global Health at Stellenbosch University. 

Sarah Skeen

longitudinal research

The ILCHR team has successfully followed up birth cohorts into middle childhood and late adolescence. 

The Thula Sana birth cohort was assessed at 12-14 years of age (the Saving Brains Study) and again during late adolescence (16-19 years of age), as part of the Zifune study.

The Philani birth cohort was assessed at multiple time-points before age two, including at 3, 5 and 8 years of age.

Participants (4-13yrs) of the Child Community Care study in Malawi, Zambia and South Africa will be followed up in late adolescence in 2020. 


adolescent mental health

Globally, many adolescents live in unstable environments, where poverty or violence is common, placing them at heightened risk of developing mental disorders.

Despite adolescents' increased risk for poor mental health outcomes, guidance on evidence-based actions for promotion and prevention in adolescent mental health is lacking. Through a variety of projects, we work to generate evidence on adolescent mental health and identify effective interventions. 

Related projects:

nurturing care

 Through our research and intervention activities, we are interested to know how best caregivers can be supported to provide children with nurturing care – a type of care that extends beyond basic health and safety to include responsive and sensitive interactions, and opportunities for learning.

Related projects:


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