Active since 1970

The Van Leer Foundation has been active in Brazil since 1970. Our work in the country is directed at enhancing the healthy development and minimising the risk factors impacting the 21 million children in the country. A third of children in Brazil are still growing up in poverty – to provide better support to them and their families, we build partnerships across municipal, state, and federal levels.

We focus on strengthening the communities around families and young children by building parenting skills as well as group interventions and services supporting pregnant and postpartum women, fathers and other caregivers during the first years of of a child’s life. Care lines and protection networks are also essential aspects for thinking about public policies for early childhood.

Urban95 In Brazil

With more than 86% of Brazil’s population living in cities, our Urban95 programme works with Brazilian municipal leaders, urban planners, designers, and civil society to focus on babies, toddlers, and caregivers through the cross-sectoral urban planning, policies and institutionalisation. Our Urban95 network in Brazil includes 27 municipalities of different sizes and in different regions across the country.  

Learn more

We connect and support inspiring individuals in Brazil who are working to improve the lives of young children and their caregivers. We offer them opportunities to gain knowledge and support in their field of interest through national and international trainings, study tours and courses. We also invest in and share scientific evidence on the early years, as well as support civil society initiatives like the National Early Childhood Network and the Scientific Nucleo for Early Years.

We also work together with government, partner organisations, consultants, civil society, and experts at the state and national level to advance the early childhood agenda in Brazil. Together with the Ministry of Citizenship and UNDP, we have supported the national home visiting programme Criança Feliz to maintain quality as it scales. In the state of Pernambuco, we are supporting the strengthening of state-wide childcare and quality early childhood education. With the state of Ceará, we have a coalition to promote early childhood development with a cross-sectoral approach.


Brazil at a glance
21 million
Children from birth to age 6
1 in 3
Children living in poverty
1.2 million
Children receive visits from the Criança Feliz programme
4 in 10
Children are breastfed until 6 months
Families live without at least one basic sanitation service
Children aged 4 attend school, as is compulsory in Brazil
Management case studies Advocacy Efforts in Brazil to Extend the Recognition of Children’s Rights in Early Childhood
This case study analyses how years of civil society advocacy contributed to major legislative change.
Management case studies Reducing Inequality by Focusing on the Very Young: Boa Vista, Brazil, Deepens its Investment in Early Childhood Development, 2009–2016
This case study looks at how the Mayor of Boa Vista championed early childhood services while assisting refugees fleeing Venezuela.
Management case studies Governing from a Child’s Perspective: Recife Works to Become Family Friendly, 2017–2019
This case study examines early childhood investments in light of access to services for families with young children.
Knowledge from Brazil
See all knowledge from Brazil
urban experts at the children's factory in Jundiaí Report Value for Investment Study: Urban95 in Jundiaí
An evaluation on how value was created and how more value can be generated through Urban95 partnerships in Jundiaí
Guide Recife Childhood Squares Guide
This guidelines provides techniques and good practices to encourage the creation of squares for early childhood in the capital of Pernambuco, Recife.
Report Parenting: How Home Visiting Practices in Brazil Adapted to the Pandemic
These resources capture insights and stories from the Parenting Award, which recognised 100 inspiring home visitors across Brazil.