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About the project

Scaling Early Childhood Development and Nutrition Service Delivery

The Government of Côte d’Ivoire, philanthropic organizations that constitute de TRECC consortium (JacobsBernard van Leer, and UBS Optimus Foundations), and 12 companies from the cocoa and chocolate Industry, are establishing the Early Learning and Nutrition (ELAN) Financing Facility, which will support the Ivorian Government in scaling proven-to-work behaviour-change focused Early Childhood Development (ECD) interventions in Côte d’Ivoire. ELAN aims to impact 1.3 million children aged 0 to 5 living in rural cocoa-producing communities of Côte d’Ivoire, so that the latter can achieve their optimal physical, emotional, and cognitive development. By providing caregivers access to ECD and parenting training, as well as improving access of basic services critical for young children’s wellbeing, ELAN will ensure young children growing in the cocoa-belt, are equipped with key physical and cerebral capacities needed to succeed in primary school and beyond.  

The Facility would be endowed with seed funding of CHF 15 million, yet has a target capitalization of CHF 40 million, to serve as a multi-stakeholder platform for advocacy, resource mobilisation, evidence-based decision-making, coordination, planning and implementation of behaviour-change focused ECD interventions. ELAN will bring together decision-makers from government, the cocoa industry, philanthropic and development agencies, as well as civil society. The objectives of the Facility respond directly to three specific national strategies targeting children: The National Multisectoral Nutrition Plan; the 10 years Education Sector Plan; and the National Action Plan to Combat Child Labor. As such, the ELAN partnership could become the first public private partnership focused on scaling investments for children under the age of five in Côte d’Ivoire.  

The Next Prospering Generation

Investing in early childhood development is one of the best investments a country can make to boost economic growth, develop human capital and break the vicious cycle of poverty.1 James Heckman (2006) demonstrates that the earlier we invest in children’s development, the higher the returns. Equally important, investing in early childhood development is necessary to uphold the right of every child to survive and thrive.

The primary caregivers of young children can play a major role in improving child-related indicators. Physical and brain development is most rapid in the earliest years of life when children are fully dependent on their caregivers. Yet in Côte d’Ivoire, caregivers receive very little support to do so. As a result, a large majority of parents and caregivers maintain practices that they consider positive and appropriate, although in fact harmful. This explains why despite its well-performing economy, Côte d’Ivoire struggles to improve its human development indicators, which in turn is stagnating its human capital.   

Catalysing the Impact of Existing Efforts

ELAN is expected to be embedded in the context of a broader child rights framework addressing concurrent efforts on child protection, child health, poverty reduction and improved quality education. Jacobs Foundation and its philanthropic partners strongly believe that ELAN is a catalytic investment with the potential to accelerate broader multi-stakeholder agreement.  

To date, substantial investments have been committed to ECD in Côte d’Ivoire including the Projet Multisectoriel de Nutrition et Développement de la Petite Enfance (PMNDPE), a CHF 60 million Programme financed primarily by a credit from the World Bank and a grant from the Power of Nutrition. While substantial, the current investments remain restricted in scope and cover only part of the country’s needs. With the objective to fill this gap, ELAN will build upon the gains of the PMNDPE and will bring to scale ECD service delivery focussing on caregiver programs, while strengthening government capacity by prioritizing delivery via its institutional platforms.   

Expected Results (2025)

Target Capitalization of CHF 40 M 

  • 1,3 million children below age 5 benefitting from nurturing care practices at home; 
  • 100 ECD relevant infrastructure are renovated and equipped to improve the quality of child-friendly spaces;  
  • The institutional environment governing early childhood development interventions enables effective and efficient coordination and implementation of high-impact programs;  
  • Local scientific evidence on young children is generated.

Contributing Partners

Government of Côte d’Ivoire


  • Jacobs Foundation
  • Bernard van Leer Foundation
  • UBS Optimus Foundation

Cocoa and chocolate companies

  • Barry Callebaut
  • Blommer / Fuji Oil Group
  • Cargill
  • Chocolonely Foundation
  • ECOM
  • Ferrero
  • Guittard
  • Hershey
  • Mars Wrigley
  • Mondelez International
  • Olam
  • Sucden
  • Touton

Call to Action

Companies and institutions interested in partnering with ELAN should contact:

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