Research to improve development in early childhood has transformed the Early Childhood Development policy of the Peruvian Government, set to reach 135,000 children by 2016.

Dr Emla Fitzsimons and her team at the Institute for Fiscal Studies designed a programme to improve development in early childhood in Colombia.

Weekly home visits to mothers with children aged one-to-two years were carried out by local women, ensuring cost-effectiveness and scalability. Dr Fitzsimons and her team set up a randomised controlled trial to test whether the programme affected child development, finding that it improved the cognitive and linguistic development of the participating children.

As a result of this research, and owing to close collaboration with early childhood development specialists from the Inter-American Development Bank, the findings have transformed the Early Childhood Development policy of the Peruvian Government, set to reach 135,000 children across the poorest districts of Peru by 2016.

"The team has provided, and continues to provide, excellent guidance and technical support. We believe this study has and will continue to be of high relevance to the lives of many Peruvians." (Andrea Portugal, National Program Cuna Más, Ministry of Development and Social Inclusion, Peru)