Tag: Clinton Global Initiative

Watch HHI on TV!

Recently HHI has been featured on NBC and Rainmakers TV.  Its been fun to share about our work, and all the incredible outcomes for babies and families around the world.  In Uganda, our work was just evaluated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and their independent findings included:

Quantitative data collected showed a remarkable increase in key early childhood development (ECD) indicators and impressive sustainability in areas that had not had the intervention for over 18 months, a few highlights include:

  • Cognitive stimulation from parent to child increased from 30% – 76% (doubled!)
  • Linguistic stimulation increased from 23% – 64% (tripled!)
  • Showing affection during feeding (responsive feeding is important to preventing malnutrition) increased from 54% – 91%

Qualitative findings on this project were equally impressive and reported the unexpected findings of cessation of corporal punishment and domestic violence, indicators we hadn’t known to measure, but that were repeatedly reported by parents and health workers.

WOW!  Consider the impact of these changes for more than 15,000 parents and over 30,000 children all recovering from decades of trauma, violence, hunger, etc…

Just a few reasons the TV may have become so interested in HHI’s work.

See HHI’s founder/director, Laura Peterson, interviewed by Rainmaker’s TV at the Clinton Global Initiative, and then again in Portland, OR on KGW’s Live @ 7 “Talk Box”, (NBC ‘s local affiliate).

-  Watch here.




NYC = UNICEF + CGI (Clinton Global Initiative)

It’s been an inspiring few weeks. HHI just returned from Clinton Global Initiative’s 2013 Annual Meeting, which convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. And, just ahead of that was the launch of the Early Childhood Peace Consortium, hosted by UNICEF, Yale University and the Fetzer Institute.

At the Early Childhood Peace Consortium, a dedicated group of professionals from academia, UN agencies, foundations and NGOs gathered to connect the dots between research findings on the neurobiology of the developing brain and its impact on conflict and violence.  It was a fascinating and educational day.  Brain science has made leaps and bounds in the last decade and now it can be shown that both the environment and the caregiving relationship between child and parent in the earliest years actually alters the infant’s neurobiology – brain development – and that this lasts a lifetime, impacting all domains of development, and with particular and predictable behavioral and health outcomes. These include tendencies towards addiction, depression, violence, school failure; as well as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.  This all means that the implications of a child’s earliest years are more critical than ever imagined and that the number one thing that can be influenced for the better, is the relationship an infant has with their parent/caregiver – the best protective factor against the hardships of poverty, violence, family disease or trauma and an entire host of challenges that can be significantly buffered all by the love and consistent nurturing of a parent (or auntie, or grandpa, someone loving and caring for that baby!).

As you would suspect, this was all completely validating of HHI’s work and left me exhilarated and ready to share it with the world the following week at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

The week at CGI was an ocean of individuals, ideas, compassion and energy, all out to create solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.  Speakers included political elites like Presidents Clinton and Obama, celebrities such as Bono, Kate Hudson and Ben Affleck, and global leaders like Bill Gates and Malala, the young Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban who is now an international voice for girls’ education.

This year CGI’s focus was “Mobilizing Impact” and every participant there was required to make a Commitment to Action.  Every Commitment brings together the key people, organizations and resources to create bold new ways to address global challenges.  HHI met some incredible new people and organizations and together we are crafting our Commitment to Action, stay tuned for the announcement of this.

What HHI contributed to the CGI Annual Meeting was knowledge, experience and advocacy for early childhood development.  Coming off the heels of the UNICEF meeting, was perfect timing to offer the latest research and most compelling case for investments in programming and resources for early childhood, as well as our own simple model of how ECD can be integrated into existing models for health, education, women’s empowerment, etc…  New systems do not need to be created from scratch, the investments are minimal, while the outcomes last a lifetime and global economists rate the returns on ECD programs from $4 – $17 for every $1 invested!  This represents the highest rate of return on any project a government could possibly make.

Stay tuned for HHI’s CGI Commitment to Action and our new partnerships.

See more of HHI’s photos from CGI

See CGI’s official pics from the Annual Meeting.

Visiting Edutainers in South Africa

I spent the day today with The Bright Kid Foundation and their Edutainers project in the slums outside of Johannesburg. We’ve met via our shared membership in the Clinton Global Initiative and we share core values of serving vulnerable young children.  Bright Kid Foundation is able to place these Edutainers in “informal settlements” where formal building is not allowed, yet there are thousands of children and their families living in these settlements and they need support for early childhood development and learning  if they are ever to break their inter-generational cycles of poverty.

Edutainers provides the infrastructure, and the community takes charge of painting, caring for and running these centers in their communities. Trained and certified teachers lead the children each day through early learning and stimulating play.  These pop-up preschools serve far more than just the children, they become community hubs for work programs, massive community gardens and create a way for the community to be recognized and therefore supported by the government.  It is a fabulous and sustainable program, its a true inspiration!


HHI has been approached because the communities want more, the parents in the communities want to learn about early childhood development, and what they can do at home to better the lives of their children before preschool. Because of HHI’s success in community trainings, in a variety of challenging settings and diversity of cultures, we were invited to visit and brainstorm ways we might partner.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit today and am looking forward to find ways we can collaborate to serve more children, more families and the community at large.

We are brainstorming ways that we can join forces for the good of all.  H

Here are some photos from the community where this Edutainer is located -


HHI Invited to Clinton Global Initiative

We are thrilled to announce that Hands to Hearts International was chosen for a complimentary membership in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).  This is a very big deal, in the non-profit world this is like winning an Oscar!  There are very few complimentary memberships given per year, and you can only apply by invitation. Normal cost of membership starts at $20,000.

CGI was created by President Clinton in an effort to gather together hundreds of leaders from the business and government sectors, leading foundations, and civil society and support them in joining resources — finances, organizational capacity, governmental powers, and innovative ideas – to ensure that powerful ideas turn into real actions!

The world’s largest agencies (World Health Org., UNICEF, etc…), governments and researchers from the most prestigious universities in the world (Harvard, Yale, Columbia…) have all begun to recognize the power of investing in early childhood development. It was just published in the Lancet Journal that the most important component foundation for child health and therefore a lifetime of health is, “A stable and engaged family environment in which parents show interest and encourage their child’s development and learning…” (Read full article)

HHI is happy to offer our program model as a solution for global health!