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Scaling Up Early Child Development Interventions in Rwanda

This project aims to analyse, evaluate and scale up a unique holistic programme (First Steps) that supports families of children aged 0-3 in the district of Ngororero in Rwanda.

Globally, around 250 million children under the age of five do not meet key development milestones, which reduces their ability to reach their full potential, and compromises the success of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and a large body of scientific evidence have shown that parenting is one of the strongest influences on early child development. As a result, there has been a recent push towards the implementation of parent training programmes across the world. However, despite the increasing popularity of these programmes, gaps remain in our knowledge of what works to promote positive parenting practices, particularly in vulnerable contexts.

Past evidence has shown how parent’s practices fundamentally shape early child development by influencing the physical, socio-emotional, cognitive and language development of children. This project tests empirically this relationship by analysing, evaluating and scaling up a unique programme (First Steps), which supports children aged 0-3 in the district of Ngororero in Rwanda. The project involves a close partnership between the Institute of Development Studies, Save the Children UK and Save the Children International Rwanda, with support from the Government of Rwanda (Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion).

Principal Investigator: Professor Patricia Justino, Institute of Development Studies

Project outcomes

Project part of

Early Childhood Development

The purpose of this interdisciplinary research programme is to fund the evidence that will inform the policies and interventions that will transform the life chances and destinies of children in their early years in lower- and middle-income countries.


We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.

Other projects in this programme