Early Health and Well-being.

Every child receives nourishing food and good healthcare starting during pregnancy.

What is the problem?

Physical health conditions and mental health disorders that caregivers and their children experience during the children’s early years have detrimental consequences for the children’s physical and brain development.

Some of the most common problems for women include depression and anxiety, and in some cases, physical abuse, during and after pregnancy. This is more true for women in under-resourced areas in South Africa. If left untreated and women do not receive appropriate support, these mental health disorders affect the physical and brain development of the fetus and child.

Stunting is another issue that is more prevalent in low-resourced areas. Evidence suggests that an estimated one in four children under five years of age in South Africa are stunted. These are children who are shorter than the expected height for their age due to irreversible physical and mental damage from a variety of causes, including poor nutrition, infections and inadequate psychosocial stimulation. Stunting can be prevented if caregiver and child healthcare services can focus on providing preventative care solutions in addition to treating illnesses, for both caregivers and young children.

Why does it matter?

Children who are born to and/or raised by healthy caregivers with access to appropriate healthcare services have a potential to thrive and do well in life. The good health and well-being of caregivers and their young children depend on regular monitoring of their physical and emotional health, prevention of illnesses, and other appropriate support.

What is the opportunity?

If more healthcare service providers could offer caregivers and young children with empathic, convenient and affordable services that support the regular monitoring of health and well-being; focus on promotive and preventive actions; and help with referrals to care and appropriate treatment for illnesses, this would lead to improved outcomes in caregiver and child mental and physical health.

We invest in innovative solutions that aim to improve the caregiver and child mental and physical health to ensure that children have the potential to thrive and do well in life. 

Are you a social entrepreneur and have creative ideas on how to act on opportunities or support caregiver and child physical and mental health? Below are some enabling ingredients, which we hope will help to guide you. Each contains opportunities for innovation and investment. We hope this information will create a launchpad for creative ideas on how to act on opportunities or solve problems in this area.

We have a year-round open call for applications for funding and support for ideas that meet our investment criteria.

Empowered caregivers
  • Caregivers who receive the care and support they need, especially for their mental health, are better able to ensure the health and well-being of their young children.
  • Mothers need access to convenient and affordable antenatal care from early in their pregnancy.
  • Mothers need environments that are supportive of breastfeeding, including in the workplace
  • Fathers need support and motivation to be able to contribute to the health and well-being of both mother and child.
  • Caregivers need information and motivation to make the best possible food choices within their means.
  • Caregivers and children need access to food systems that provide them with affordable and nutritious food.
Effective healthcare services
  • Healthcare workers need to feel motivated and supported to deliver quality care to caregivers and young children.
  • They also need accurate and convenient tools to enable them to monitor children’s growth and development and to respond appropriately.
  • Effective and accessible tools for the early detection of physical and cognitive barriers to development are essential.

Our investments are featured in the grid below.