GCI-logo.gifGlobal Children's Initiative

The Global Children's Initiative (GCI) was established in 2009 to advance the Center's mission internationally through a collaborative, science-based approach to improving the survival, health, learning, and behavior of children facing significant adversity. Its commitment to global work not only acknowledges a moral responsibility to meet the needs of all children, but it also represents a critical investment in the economic productivity, positive health outcomes, and strong civil society of all nations—from the poorest to the most affluent.

Drawing on the Center's experience in North America with the Frontiers of Innovation initiative, GCI seeks to catalyze fresh thinking about how to achieve breakthrough outcomes for children around the globe. The following propositions guide GCI's work:

  • We need to protect children from the biological consequences of significant adversity, in addition to providing them with enriched learning opportunities. Investments in the early childhood years are critical building blocks for lifelong health promotion and disease prevention, not just strategies to enhance school readiness.
  • Coordinated strategies to reduce biological and environmental risk factors in the lives of women and their children can simultaneously reduce child mortality, improve developmental outcomes, build human capital, and reduce widespread poverty throughout the world.


GCI Activities


Applying the Science of Early Childhood in Brazil

In 2011, GCI launched its first major programmatic effort outside the United States, Núcleo Ciência Pela Infância (NCPI). This leadership program uses scientific knowledge to inform the creation of new strategies that will improve the well-being and life outcomes of vulnerable children in Brazil, while also supporting sustainable social and economic development in the country.



Global Learning Community: Saving Brains

A program of Grand Challenges Canada, Saving Brains promotes the creation of interventions that nurture and protect the early brain development of children living in poverty. The Center on the Developing Child supports a dynamic learning community of Saving Brains grantees to help them advance the impact and scale of their work within global contexts.



Support for Faculty: Seed-Funded Research

GCI has provided support to the Center's Harvard-affiliated faculty members who are working closely with researchers and institutions in low- and middle-income countries around the world, including in Chile, China, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.



GCI Funders

The Center acknowledges the important contributions made to the development of the Global Children's Initiative by the Mother Child Education Foundation (AÇEV) of Turkey, which served as Founding Partner for the initial planning of the Center's global agenda. The Center and AÇEV continue to share a strong belief in the power of science to inform global early childhood development.

We also acknowledge the generous support of The Pierre and Pamela Omidyar Fund, an advised fund of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation; Grand Challenges Canada; the Bernard van Leer Foundation; and An Anonymous Donor.


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Videos in Spanish and Portuguese

Several of the Center's videos have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese. The translations of the Spanish videos were made possible with major support from the World Bank, while the videos available in Portuguese where translated and adapted for a Brazilian audience as part of the Global Children's Initiative's major programmatic effort in BrazilView all videos available in Spanish and Portuguese >>