Saving Brains is a partnership of Grand Challenges Canada, Aga Khan Foundation Canada, the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The ELMA Foundation, Grand Challenges Ethiopia, the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation, the Palix Foundation, the UBS Optimus Foundation and World Vision Canada.
As many as 200 million children fail to reach their full potential, and children in poverty have a higher chance of adversity that could risk disrupting brain development. This is a devastating waste of human capital that leaves the next generation ill-equipped to solve the enormous challenges that lock individuals, communities and societies in poverty.
The challenge is to develop sustainable ways to promote and nurture healthy child and brain development in the first 1,000 days at scale, with lasting impact on human capital in low-resource settings.
Saving Brains seeks bold ideas to promote health and nutrition, provide enrichment and nurturing and protect against maltreatment – the three components of healthy development that every child needs to thrive. Of great importance to Saving Brains is how to effectively integrate these needs and deliver them to the highest number of children in a sustainable manner.
Progress Against the Challenge
Through the Development Innovation Fund Health, Grand Challenges Canada provided $16.8 million CAD to 13 projects funded through the focus phase of the Saving Brains program, which sought to better define the long-term impact of known early life interventions and the return on investment in potential interventions with respect to human capital.
Grand Challenges Canada also provided $18 million CAD to 35 proof-of-concept and 7 Transition To Scale projects funded through the solutions phase of the Saving Brains program, which seeks innovative products, services, policies and implementation models to nurture and protect early brain development. These projects were implemented in 26 countries and leveraged an additional $11.6 million in funding.
Through these projects:
- 31,765 children have experienced improved development
- 37,273 children are receiving innovations designed to improve child development
- 35,867 caregivers are delivering innovations designed to improve early childhood development.
Saving Brains leadership has raised attention globally by taking a bold, holistic approach to early childhood development that:
- Created a new, global partnership
- Has made strong and influential contributions to the global movement from “survival” alone to “survive and thrive”, and aligns with the new Every Woman Every Child‘s Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health: Survive. Thrive. Transform.