Global Displacement

Active since 2017

Since 2017, the Van Leer Foundation has been working to support families affected by crisis and displacement. We started this work with partnerships supporting Syrian refugees and host communities in Jordan and Lebanon, and in 2020, expanded our support to families affected by displacement around the world.

More than one in five babies start their lives in situations of conflict. Evidence indicates that early childhood services – including those that support and guide parents, caregivers and families in times of crisis – can mitigate the negative effects of trauma and stress on young children and promote resilience and wellbeing. Yet currently only an estimated 3% of total development assistance goes to crisis-affected countries, and in 2018, 2% of aid explicitly went towards providing quality early years services to newborns, young children and their caregivers.


Global displacement at a glance
108 million
Forcibly displaced people worldwide
62.5 million
Internally displaced people worldwide
Total development assistance going to crisis-affected countries
Humanitarian funding went to early years services in 2018

Our global displacement portfolio identifies and supports examples of good practice in early years programmes and policies in crisis contexts globally. Examples of our work include supporting Amna scale their refugee-led Baytna approach through a hub of grassroots organisations; exploring opportunities to integrate Kangeroo Mother Care for premature babies into maternal and child health provision in humanitarian contexts; and working to increase support to displaced families at the local level together with the Mayors Migration Council on the the Global Cities Fund for Migrants and Refugees: Children and Caregivers.

Through the Moving Minds Alliance, we share learnings and participate in joint advocacy activities to increase financing and improve policies and leadership to support the youngest children and their caregivers in humanitarian response.

The Moving Minds Alliance

Originally established in 2017 by a group of philanthropic foundations, the Moving Minds Alliance is a multi-stakeholder partnership combining programmatic, funding and research expertise to support prioritisation of the youngest refugees and their caregivers.

Learn more
Knowledge from Global Displacement
Report Proximity of Care Report
This report presents an important new approach to designing for early childhood in vulnerable urban contexts.
Case studies Young Children and Families in Crisis and Displacement
Selected Articles from our Early Childhood Matters publication
Management case studies Reducing Inequality by Focusing on the Very Young: Boa Vista, Brazil, Deepens its Investment in Early Childhood Development, 2009–2016
This case study looks at how the Mayor of Boa Vista championed early childhood services while assisting refugees fleeing Venezuela.