Scaling partnerships: Case studies

We have commissioned an ongoing series of case studies on our partnerships exploring ways to take services for babies, toddlers and caregivers to scale.

Our case studies with Princeton University looks at implementing Urban95 from a municipal leadership perspective in various cities around the world.

Our partnership with RAND has produced a series of case studies on successful advocacy initiatives for the early years. See this Lessons Map for a matrix describing common themes and elements across all five cases for achieving impact at scale, despite different contexts.

In addition, case studies developed by the Harvard Kennedy School for our executive education course in scaling early childhood programmes, designed to stimulate learning and discussion, are now publicly available (free registration required). They cover four Foundation partnerships:

Supporting parental behavioural change: Multichannel and cross-sector campaigns in Israel

A partnership between Hop! media group in Israel and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Magic Moments and Beautiful Moments campaigns used a variety of channels – including social media, television and partnerships with organisations such as supermarkets – to inspire parents to turn everyday activities into bonding experiences with their children. This case study draws lessons from the campaigns about how to inspire behaviour change at scale.

Seizing Opportunities, Strengthening Synergies: Lima Frames a Collective Strategy to Advance Early Childhood Development, 2019–2021

In 2019, Jorge Muñoz had a chance to champion children and take some of his ideas to scale. As newly elected mayor of metropolitan Lima, a city of almost 11 million, he oversaw basic services for about a third of the country’s population. The mayor directed the metropolitan government’s Social Development Department and a small interdisciplinary team of architects and social scientists (1) to identify lessons learned from pilot projects, (2) to establish new ways of assisting infants and young children, and (3) to coordinate to get the job done. When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the capital city in 2020, the metropolitan government and its team continued this work.

Advocacy efforts in Brazil to extend the recognition of children’s rights in early childhood

In 2016, Brazil introduced a wide-ranging new legal framework for early childhood development, addressing issues from parental leave to qualifications for early years professionals.

This case study analyses how years of advocacy by civil society – with a focus on the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s partner, RNPI (National Network of Early Childhood) – contributed to this major legislative change. It also looks at subsequent work to ensure the framework is implemented.

Ending the use of physical and emotional violence against children and adolescents in Peru

Peru passed a law in 2015 prohibiting physical and psychological violence against children and adolescents in homes, schools, communities and other spaces. The law followed years of efforts by the Training Institute for Adolescents and Children Workers (INFANT), Organisations for Children and Adolescents (ONNAS) and other civil society partners to identify barriers and facilitators.

In this case study, RAND Europe looks at what can be learned by organisations in other countries working to prohibit the use of violence against children and adolescents.

Bridging the divide: Coalition building for early childhood development in Istanbul, 2016–2020

As skyscrapers replaced parks, Istanbul developed a reputation for not sufficiently considering the needs of young children. In 2016, the Istanbul95 programme partnered with four district municipalities to create a digital-mapping tool to help locate vulnerable children, conduct regular home visits to hundreds of families, and design child-friendly public spaces. Based on interviews conducted in June and July 2020, this case explores how principles of early childhood development are now becoming embedded in the work of Turkish local governments.

Working to support policy change through an advocacy coalition in Israel

Prior to 2018, Israel had no formal legislation for early childhood care and education needs. However, the new Supervision Law, passed in July 2018, set out to improve the supervision of daycare services for children under three years old by creating regularised standards relating to staff training and the physical environment in daycares. This case study on the Coalition for Education from Birth details how ANU and the Bernard van Leer Foundation, together with 250 members, campaigned for several policy changes to improve the care, safety and education for children under three years old. 

Efforts to support the extension of birth leave in the Netherlands

Through the new WIEG law, the Netherlands secured paid birth leave for partners of mothers. From January 2019, the new policy provides those within formal employment with five days of fully paid partner leave. This will be extended to five weeks of nontransferable partner leave paid at 70 per cent of normal pay from July 2020. This case study details how the partnership between Bernard van Leer Foundation, Rutgers and WOMEN Inc. aligned perspectives on children’s needs, men’s needs and women’s needs to support policy change on paid birth leave.

Reducing inequality by focusing on the very young: Boa Vista, Brazil, deepens its investment in early childhood development, 2009–2016

Since well before Boa Vista joined the Bernard van Leer Foundation’s Urban95 programme in 2017, the city’s five-term mayor, Teresa Surita, had prioritised early childhood development services as crucial for narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Building on work already done, Surita and her department heads undertook projects including a data dashboard and alert system. This case study explores how those efforts stayed on track despite the challenge of assisting refugees fleeing Venezuela.

City hall embraces early childhood development: reaching an underserved population in Tel Aviv, 2016-2019

In 2016, the government of Tel Aviv began to respond to mounting pressure from parents of young children to tackle a crisis of affordable childcare in the city. By 2019, early chldhood development had become a priority across the city government. Based on interviews conducted in May 2019, this case study explores why and how young children rose up the municipal agenda.

Governing from a Child’s Perspective: Recife, Brazil, Works to Become Family Friendly, 2017–2019

In 2017, Geraldo Julio, the mayor of Recife, began to invest in early childhood development as an innovative strategy to address crime and economic inequality. This case study explores how city departments were aligned, legislation passed and an existing public-private urban planning partnership engaged to pilot projects in two neighbourhoods. Bill Steiden explores the lessons that had been learned by mid-2019 about improving access to services for families with young children.

Reconstructing a City in the Interests of its Children: Tirana, Albania, 2015-2019

Erion Veliaj became mayor of Tirana, Albania, in 2015. The city was growing quickly, with pollution from construction work and traffic threatening the health and well-being of infants, toddlers and caregivers. This case explains how Veliaj’s administration won public trust and found the budget to prioritize reforms for the city’s youngest residents, including building new parks, playgrounds, nurseries, schools and pedestrian spaces.