Within Education the H&M Foundation is working together with UNICEF, investing in a better future for the most vulnerable children, through early education and care.


Imagine if…

…your child fell behind from the start? Children who fall behind often stay behind – since learning gaps are set early in life. How would that affect your child’s possibility to achieve later in life?

This is a reality for approximately 1/3 of children under the age of five in the developing world, and children from poor families or from marginalized groups who are the most vulnerable. They are not achieving their development potential due to a lack of stimulating, nurturing, safe and responsive environments. This results in limited psychosocial, physical and mental development, and learning achievements. This in turn leads to reduced social and economic potential later in life, which has huge effects on societies, and economic and social development.

The brain’s ability to develop is strongest before the age of eight. The first few years lay the foundation for cognitive and non-cognitive functions, social interactions and ability to succeed and achieve later in life. Children, who receive early childhood care and education, are more likely to learn, stay in school and graduate from school.

 A girl jumps rope during recess at the UNICEF-supported Denham Town Basic School in the Denham Town community in the parish of Kingston and St. Andrew. Many poor families cannot afford pre-school fees, books or uniforms, so their children do not attend school regularly.

The program

This Global Program focuses on the most vulnerable children, enabling equal opportunities for development and leveling out disadvantages. Not many donors or governments prioritize funding early childhood development, which is why the H&M Foundation wants to contribute to filling that gap.  Increasing access to quality early childhood development programs is a smart investment not just for the individual child, but for the society as a whole.

Our ambition is to place early childhood development on the global agenda so that in the future, more children achieve their full developmental potential. This will be done by supporting a range of early childhood care and learning programs such as parenting education and support, integrated early stimulation and nutrition, peer-led child-to-child learning initiatives, community-based programs and formal preschools. All programs need to be relevant to the local context. It is also important that family demands, needs and situations are considered in the design of programs, as families heavily influence children's early learning and development opportunities.

In addition, the Global Program will support the development of national investment cases in three countries.  These will highlight the importance of early childhood development and provide country-specific economic evidence for investing in early childhood care, development and education. This will persuade governments to place early childhood development on the national agenda and to commit budgetary resources to address these issues. The results of the investment cases will be pilot projects that serve as models for scaling up in other countries.

Finally, a global campaign will be created that will be based on the first-ever Global Report on Early Childhood Development and an app that will provide real-time access to data, especially for policy makers. There is currently no systematic reporting on early childhood development and this effort will make this possible for the first time. By capturing early development indicators, the Flagship Program will help shift perceptions of the importance of early childhood development and education as well as mobilize public opinion toward recognizing the value of investing in the early years of life. This will lead to transformational long-term change.

Our goals by 2017

73,600 children will benefit from early childhood development programs supported through this partnership.

Three National Development Agendas have included Early Childhood Development, and are supported by national budgetary resources.

The first-ever Global Report on Early Childhood Development highlighting key early development indicators will be released and help shift global perceptions of the importance of early childhood development.

Our Global Partners

Investing in children´s early education and development - for the best start in life!

Investing in clean water and sanitation in schools – to offer children a better future!

Investing in women’s economic empowerment – a catalyst for positive change!

Our Local Projects

Read about our Local Projects in various countries.

Want to know more


Please contact one of our Project Managers


Maria Bystedt

Charlotte Brunnström


Tel: +46  8 796 55 00

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