Grant from Grand Challenges Canada to expand Episcopal Relief & Development’s early childhood development work

Episcopal Relief & Development
Posted Jun 12, 2019

Episcopal Relief & Development has been awarded a $500,000 CAD (approximately $370,000 USD) grant from Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) as part of the GCC Saving Brains Transitions-to-Scale Program to support the expansion of Moments That Matter, an early childhood development program partnership of Episcopal Relief & Development. GCC strives to help grow proven innovations such as Moments That Matter, which first demonstrated results in strengthening families so that young children could thrive in Zambia before expanding into Kenya.

Moments That Matter (MTM) is distinctive because our program model focuses on strengthening access to critical information and services for the most vulnerable, such as small-holder farming families affected by HIV/AIDS and households headed by grandparents, adolescents or single parents,” said Melissa Crutchfield, Episcopal Relief & Development’s Director of Community Impact. “Receiving this grant from Grand Challenges Canada enables us to learn how to expand this important program to different places while still achieving high-quality results that impact children for life.”

Episcopal Relief & Development’s program works directly with mothers, fathers and other primary caregivers to improve the growth and development of children from birth to age three in marginalized communities. It links families with available health, nutrition and other services provided by government and other stakeholders and strengthens the community’s early childhood development capabilities. The program is supported in part by grants from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the Episcopal Health Foundation and other donations to Episcopal Relief & Development.

The MTM program partnership was first introduced in Zambia in 2012. As a result of the early success in engaging with rural communities to strengthen parenting, it was expanded to Kenya in 2018. Staff plan to broaden the program by starting new partnerships in Malawi, Ghana and Mozambique in 2019.

“It’s exciting to have this GCC investment to match the enthusiasm and energy of more communities mobilizing the program and seeing their children thrive,” said Samuel Omondi Ochieng, Executive Director, the Anglican Church of Kenya Development Services-Nyanza. “The community volunteers have seen the lasting change MTM brings. They are excited to work with more families to transform communities and set up their children for success.”

The GCC Saving Brains Program focuses on supporting bold ideas to improve early brain and child development worldwide. GCC works to help transition to scale integrated innovations targeted at marginalized populations of low or middle-income countries. Within the MTM program partnership, this grant will also support a research partnership initiative that will provide the opportunity to conduct research which will inform learning processes to help the program to continue to expand and grow in other countries.

“The uniqueness of MTM is its focus on serving the most vulnerable, including those facing pervasive and interrelated barriers to early childhood care and stimulation. The model leverages a strong and vast network of faith based organizations to complement a health systems approach – incorporating responsive care and stimulation into reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health services,” said Michelle Cruickshank, Saving Brains Program Officer at Grand Challenges Canada. “In addition to pairing ECD programming with the economic empowerment of parents, we’re particularly excited that this is the first investment in the Saving Brains portfolio that leverages faith-based organizations.”

To learn more about Episcopal Relief & Development’s integrated early childhood development programs, please visit the Episcopal Relief & Development website.