The Family Philanthropy Initiative of the Bainum Family Foundation supports and oversees the philanthropic efforts of individual Bainum family members and family committees. One of these programs, the Global Education Fund, provides grants to organizations that ensure access to quality early care and preprimary education for young children in countries with lower per-capita incomes.
In 2015, the Global Education Fund started making grants to organizations supporting the direct service delivery of early childhood development programs in Africa and Asia. One of the first partners, Save the Children, received funding to develop and pilot a parenting education program in Uganda to support the development of children under age 3.
The following article shared by our partners at Save the Children briefly explains how the organization successfully moved the program from the pilot stage to a larger scale.
Manager, Family Philanthropy and Board Administration
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When the Bainum Family Foundation began to fund an early childhood program at Save the Children, we were confident we’d see significant results among the youngest children in the Wakiso district of Uganda. But the results were even more far-reaching. The story starts in 2015, when the Bainum Family Foundation first funded Save the Children’s project called A Boost for the Youngest. The goal was to develop a package of resources to train community and facility-based health workers and parents in Uganda on strategies and activities to stimulate brain development in children ages 0-3 and to promote responsive caregiving – in those crucial early childhood years when interactions with adults make such a difference in a child’s cognitive, physical and social development.
The first four years of funding, up through 2019, allowed Save the Children to set up the nurturing care programming in Uganda. Save the Children had a bold ambition to impact the entire early childhood development sector in the country – by getting the A Boost for the Youngest package institutionalized through government systems, actually impacting early childhood development policy. The Save the Children team in Uganda tested the training package and piloted its implementation using Village Health Teams to deliver community-based caregiver group sessions in addition to messaging at the health facility level. Feedback on the program was key. Health worker feedback improved the training package. Parent feedback even included fathers who wanted a time to learn together, so in addition to the mixed male and female caregiver groups, the team developed a special training package for dads to reshape and empower each other on their role in promoting their children’s development and well-being.
Meanwhile, Save the Children engaged with national-level Ugandan government ministries (including the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development; Ministry of Health; and Ministry of Education) in adapting the training materials and then running a national-level “training of trainers” on the package. This close collaboration and engagement with key government ministries led to endorsement of the package as the training package of choice for both government and partners across Uganda. Flexible funding from the Bainum Family Foundation enabled the Save the Children team to pursue a long-term vision for A Boost for the Youngest, rather than simply the short-term results.
But the story didn’t end there. This success positioned Save the Children in Uganda to attract scale-up funding from other donors. In 2020, Save the Children secured $2 million from another funder to adapt and scale A Boost for the Youngest to the humanitarian context in northern Uganda, broadening the program’s reach even further. The master trainers initially trained in 2019 are still supporting this work. The solid partnership between Save the Children and the government of Uganda that began during the Bainum Family Foundation funding is continuing with the new funder and ensures that the program will be sustained through government systems. And the program has attracted the attention of additional funders and NGO partners, who have expressed interest in utilizing the training package endorsed by the government of Uganda in their own programs.
Bainum Family Foundation funding started ripples that are impacting not just families in the Wakiso district, where the project started, but throughout Uganda. This program even has the potential to impact early childhood development programming and policy across the entire region, especially in humanitarian settings, since the currently funded work has that ambition. The multiplier effect is powerful indeed.