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The LEGO Foundation is awarding a £11 million five-year grant to international research aimed at developing and providing free, evidence-based, playful parenting support to every parent all over the world.

A smiling mother holding her child

The grant to the Global Parenting Initiative (GPI) is led by the University of Oxford with partner universities, organisations and implementers around the world, including in South Africa, Canada, Malaysia, Philippines, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, and the UK.

At the helm are Dr Jamie Lachman (University of Oxford), Professor Lucie Cluver (University of Oxford), Professor Cathy Ward (University of Cape Town) and Dr Godfrey Siu (Makerere University). The initiative is the most recent project from the team, who developed the WHO-endorsed Parenting for Lifelong Health parenting programmes, a suite of evidence-based, open access, non-commercialised parenting programmes to prevent violence in low-resource settings. The GPI will also house the highly successful research-based COVID-19 playful parenting emergency response, created with UN agencies and other partners, and, more recently, online support for families affected by the war in Ukraine.

With the support of the LEGO Foundation, the GPI aims rapidly to develop and evaluate playful parenting programmes to improve at-scale child learning outcomes and reduce violence against children.

These will be delivered through in-person, remote, digital, multimedia and hybrid platforms and have been co-developed by Parenting for Lifelong Health with children and families in the Global South. The project includes nine state-of-the-art research-within-implementation studies focused on increasing the evidence of effectiveness and scalability of these programmes.

Dr Lachman, GPI Lead and Senior Research and Teaching Fellow at the Department of Social Policy & Intervention, Oxford University, said,

'We are delighted to be embarking on this playful learning journey with the LEGO Foundation and our partners. This ambitious research initiative aims to have a fundamental impact on child learning and violence prevention through the scale-up of evidence-based playful parenting programmes in the Global South.’

‘As we have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, parents and caregivers across the world urgently need effective parenting support that is relevant to their lives and responsive to the challenges they experience. The Global Parenting Initiative will provide this.’

Read the full story on the Global Parenting Initiative website. 

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