Project #14397

Help Children Left Behind in Mexico

by Instituto Mexicano de Investigacion de Familia y Poblacion - IMIFAP


Our program “Help Children Left Behind in Mexico” in the state of Hidalgo has come to an end. I would like to share with you the excellent results of this program that helps the children of migrant parents through our “I want to, I can” Child Development Centers. The Centers attend children aged 0-10 and their parents or caretakers through activities that promote child development, health and nutrition. In total, 2,517 persons (657 adults and 1860 babies and children) benefitted from the program.

As in all our projects, we evaluate the impact of the program. In this case, wwe have evaluated children who participate in the program and children who don’t (control group). In our last report, we told you how the babies who participate in the activities of our “I want to, I can” Child Development Centers in Hidalgo, have higher level of social, emotional de cognitive development that the babies who don’t participate.  I’m glad to tell that in other age groups, we also have made great advances.

The preschool children (aged from 3-6) who participate in the program, show higher cognitive development than their peers that didn’t attend the Centers. This means, that the children in our program think more before acting, understand adults better and have more control over their own acts that the children in control group. What comes to social interaction, 53% of children that participated in the program are extroverted and affectionate, while this happened with only 22% of the children who didn’t participate in the program. The children who participated in the program are also less anxious than the children who didn’t.

The positive results can be seen also in the primary school children who participated in the activities of the Child Development Centers. The children improved their life skills in a significant manner. For example, there was an increase in their capacity to resolve problems (47% before the program and 58% after the program) and in self-knowledge (43% before the program and 60% after they participated the program). After participating in the program, the children also know how to communicate more assertively (from 70% to 78%) and improved their capacity of team work (from 56% to 68%).

As one teacher put it:  “ (…) well now we see the children more sociable, very participative, they express their emotions, their feelings, they say what they feel, what they like, what they don’t like, although sometimes some (adults who haven’t participated in the program and are in favor of children being quiet and not expressive) say that they are more rebellious because of this”.

All these skills and abilities and better nutrition and health will help the Children Left behind to have a better future and aspire to leave behind the circle of poverty that is affecting them and their families.

I want to thank you so much for having participated in this project and supporting these marginalized children. Our next step is to help the Child Development Centers to continue their work independently, so that many many more children can benefit from this program. Please continue to follow us in Global Giving. Together we can make a positive impact! 

"I want to, I can" Development Center in Hidalgo
"I want to, I can" Development Center in Hidalgo


I would like share with you some of the results of our program “Help Children Left Behind in Mexico”. At the moment, 2,517 persons (657 adults and 1860 babies and children) have participated in our “I want to, I can” Child Development Centers in Hidalgo state. We have organized workshops for teachers, community promoters and parents and caretakers and the children have participated in different activities in the Child Development Centers and at school, depending on their age.

In December and January, we have been carrying out evaluations of our program. I´m glad to tell you that the evaluation of the babies and their parents have shown great results. We have been interviewing the parents and caretakers to get more information on the development of their babies, and in addition, we have realized different tests and observed the babies to corroborate the results. We have also compared the results with control group of children of the same age that do not participate in the program.

The evaluation shows that the babies that participate in the “I Want to, I can” Child Development Centers show higher levels of emotional, social and cognitive development and have better sleeping and nutrition habits than the babies that do not participate in the program. This means that the participant babies manage better their emotions, are less impulsive, irritable and aggressive and handle frustration better than the control group. They also communicate their needs better, cooperate more with other people, are more empathetic, smile more, play with their pairs and think more before acting.

In addition, all the babies that participate in the program show higher level of development than normal. At the same time, 72% of the babies in the control group show a deficient development level, which mean they are below the development level expected at their age.

All this shows that the program is really working. The early childhood development has an important impact in the later life. Giving these marginalized children a chance to get adequate stimulation, nutrition and care, together we can have a great positive impact on their future.

Thank you so much for your continuing interest and support for the children left behind in Hidalgo! Without people like you, we could not continue this important work!

Activities in the Development Center
Activities in the Development Center
A father practicing his new skills with his baby
A father practicing his new skills with his baby
Children and parents learn to show their affection
Children and parents learn to show their affection

Hi! I would like to tell you about how our program “Help Children Left Behind in Mexico” is going.

We have continued training through workshops community promoters, teachers, healthcare personnel, parents, and caretakers in life skills, reduction of psychosocial barriers and early childhood development. At the moment, the program benefits 2,517 persons in the Hidalgo state: 237 community promoters, health professionals, teachers and educational authorities, 420 caretakers (parents and relatives of the children) and 1,860 babies and children aged 0-12. Our “I want to, I can” Child Development Centers have been received very well and the communities are participating in them enthusiastically.  

We evaluate our programs periodically, and the most recent evaluation has shown positive results. The teachers, the community promoters, and the health personnel that participates in our workshops, have increased their life skills, especially self-knowledge, management of emotions, empathy, assertive communication, decision-making, critical thinking, conflict resolution and negotiation and group work. They have also decreased the psycosocial barriers (fear, guilt, shame, prejudice, and resentment) that are obstacles to personal development. They have also increased their knowledge on infant development, upbringing and school performance and the effects of parental migration on children. After the workshops, they have also more positive attitudes on the involvement of the adults on child development, the importance of the play and the importance of the personal agency in parents and caretakers.

The evaluation of the babies, for its part, shows that the program has had positive effects on the children that participate. For example, there are more normal-weight babies than in the control group. There are also more babies that have outstanding development level and fewer babies with deficient development level than in the control group. The babies that participate in the program have more advanced auditory and visual perception and motor development level than babies of their age – something that does not happen in the control group. These evaluation results show that the program is really working. We will soon apply more periodical evaluations to see how the other age groups are going.

Thank you for continuing to support of the children left behind in Hidalgo and helping us with this important work!


Hola! Me gustaría contarles cómo nuestro programa “Ayuda a los niños dejados atrás en México” va. Hemos continuado formando a través de talleres a los promotores comunitarios, docentes, personal de salud y padres, madres y cuidadores en habilidades para la vida, reducción de barreras psicosociales y desarrollo infantil.  Actualmente, el programa beneficia a 2,517 personas en Hidalgo: 237 promotores comunitarios, profesionales de salud, docentes y autoridades educativas, 420 cuidadores (madres, padres y familiares) y 1,860 niños entre 0 y 12 años. Nuestros Centros de Desarrollo Infantil “Yo quiero Yo puedo” han sido recibidos muy bien y las comunidades participan en ellos con entusiasmo.

Evaluamos nuestros programas periódicamente, y las evaluaciones más recientes han mostrado resultados positivos. Los docentes, los promotores comunitarios y el personal de salud que participa en nuestro programa, han incrementado sus habilidades para la vida, especialmente auto-conocimiento, manejo de emociones, empatía, comunicación asertiva, toma de decisiones, pensamiento crítico, resolución de conflictos y negociación, y trabajo en equipo. También han disminuido las barreras psicosociales (miedo, culpa, pena, prejuicios y resentimientos) que obstaculizan el desarrollo personal. Además, han incrementado sus conocimientos sobre desarrollo infantil, crianza y rendimiento escolar y efectos de la migración en los niños y las niñas. Después de los talleres, también tienen actitud más positiva

hacia ciertos aspectos vinculados al desarrollo infantil: papel de todos los adultos involucrados, importancia del juego e importancia de la agencia personal en los padres.  

La evaluación de los bebés, por su parte, muestra que el programa tiene efectos positivos en los niños y las niñas que participan en él. Por ejemplo, hay más bebés con peso normal que en el grupo control. Más bebés que participan en el programa  tienen un nivel de desarrollo sobresaliente y menos bebés participantes un desarrollo deficiente –si se les compara con los del grupo control. Aquellos bebés que participan en el programa tienen una percepción (auditiva y visual) y motricidad (fina y gruesa) más avanzadas para la edad que presentan, lo que no ocurre con los bebés del grupo control. Estos resultados muestran que el programa realmente funciona. Vamos a aplicar pronto más evaluaciones para conocer el efecto del programa en otros grupos de edad.

¡Gracias por seguir apoyando a los niños y las niñas dejadas atrás en Hidalgo y apoyándonos en este trabajo importante!


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Organization Information

Instituto Mexicano de Investigacion de Familia y Poblacion - IMIFAP

Location: Mexico City, Mexico - Mexico
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Anna-Emilia Hietanen
Mexico City, DF Mexico

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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