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Formação de Vínculo na Adversidade (Bonding in Adversity)

Implementing programs in contexts of extreme violence is a major challenge. And yet, this is where these projects are needed the most. The Bonding in Adversity program in Fortaleza, Brazil, is an innovation because it has found the way to navigate current difficulties in a high-risk environment and succeed in having a positive impact through homes visits. In its design and implementation, it managed to involve the community and win over their trust so that visitors could do their job. It also incorporated mothers’ opinions in order to make the use of the material more enticing.


Warzones aside, Latin America and the Caribbean is the world’s most violent region, and Fortaleza, in particular, is one of Brazil’s most violent cities. Exposure to violent situations affects the whole family: children, caregivers, and their inner circle. Having to experience these stressful situations limits their response capabilities and weakens the links between caregivers and boys and girls – a phenomenon that can have lifelong consequences.  In addition, the complexities of structural violence are a major obstacle for the implementation of early childhood development and other social programs that are badly needed to close the gaps in at-risk populations.


The program trains young mothers and fathers of 18 to 25 years of age with children between 0-3 years who are immersed in a violent environment. The project is oriented to boost caregiver-child interaction quality and to improve early childhood development through home visits, videos and text messages. In addition, with the fast-cycle iteration process they were able to refine the program using data, observation and users feedback, achieving an effective degree of involvement with the Fortaleza community.

Evaluation and Impact

The program was subject to a viability test which explored the ability of the project team to achieve effective involvement with the community in Fortaleza. The program also went through 3 iteration cycles during the first 18 months in order to determine what is working, what is not, and what adjustments are needed to improve the intervention’s strategies and materials. In this sense, the project team considers the program’s implementation as an ongoing, co-creative process that can always be improved. Following several fast-cycle iterations, the team now is embarking on the following actions: i) explore partnerships with the public sector to reach out to other quarters in Fortaleza; ii) improve its facilitation and implementation guidelines; and iii) leverage the potential of its public healthcare professionals to help win the involvement of community members.

Basic data

Target population
Girls and Boys (0-3) years
Caregiver development
Cognitive development
Language development
Socio-emotional development
iLab Primeira Infância, IPREDE
Brazil / Fortaleza
Start date
Intermediate stage
Type of Intervention
Home visits
Behavioral science-based incentives
Delivery mode
Reminders through Applications / Text Messages
Individual sessions
Virtual sessions