Synergy: Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Government of Canada and other partners catalyze partnership for ‘Saving Brains’

AKFC - Saving BrainsGrand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada, today welcomed three new partners to the Saving Brains Grand Challenge: Aga Khan Foundation Canada, Norlien Foundation and World Vision Canada. These organizations strengthen the existing partnership with the Bernard van Leer Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Maria Cecilia Souto Vidigal Foundation.

Today, as many as 200 million children fail to reach their full developmental potential. This is a devastating waste of human capital that contributes to the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Grand Challenges Canada is rallying a growing number of organizations worldwide to tackle this problem by seeking and supporting bold ideas for products, services and implementation models that protect and nurture early brain development relevant to poor, marginalized populations in low- or middle-income countries.

“Maternal, newborn and child health remains Canada’s top international development priority. Canada is committed to working with Canadian and international partners to deliver tangible results for women and children in the world’s poorest countries. By catalyzing the Saving Brains partnership and by investing in innovative projects, our government is supporting children in developing nations so they can reach their full potential and contribute to their families and communities.”

– The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie.

“Investments in early child development are not only critical to the individual child, but to the long-term development of their community. This partnership will help multiply the benefits of these investments and underscore their priority.”

– Khalil Z. Shariff, CEO of Aga Khan Foundation of Canada (AKFC)

As an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), AKFC provides access to a global set of resources, expertise and programming in early child development. The AKDN’s agencies have worked for decades to identify barriers to quality early childhood programming, and are well-situated to take up Saving Brains innovations to address these challenges and amplify the impact of the AKDN’s work.

The news coincides with an announcement of more than $2.9 million in funding for 11 new bold ideas aimed at improving the early brain development of infants and children in low-resource countries. Three innovators from Canada and eight innovators from developing countries will each receive $270,000 for projects (detailed below) to be implemented in Brazil, Ethiopia, Grenada, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria and Pakistan.

The Saving Brains partnership will help to identify and support transition to scale for sustainable approaches that show the potential to reach the highest number of children and have the most impact on each child. Ultimately, the Saving Brains partnership aims to increase human capital by transforming impoverished communities into healthy, economically productive and peaceful societies.

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