PLH Scale-Up of Parenting Evaluation Research (SUPER)

About this project

  25 LMIC countries across sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean 
  2019 - 2024
Principal Investigators Prof Lucie Cluver, Dr Jamie M. Lachman (University of Oxford and University of Cape Town); Dr Yulia Shenderovich (Cardiff University and University of Oxford); Prof Cathy Ward (University of Cape Town)
Co-Investigators Prof Frances Gardner, Dr Inge Vallance (University of Oxford); Prof Mark Tomlinson (Stellenbosch University); Dr Hlengiwe Sacolo (University of Fort Hare), Dr Kufre Okop (University of Cape Town);Dr Daniel Oliver (Catholic Relief Services)
Main Partners National Governments, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services/4Children, and Pact
Partners ERC under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Research England, UKRI GCRF Accelerating Achievement for Africa’s Adolescents Hub, and the National Research Foundation of South Africa


A unique study examining the scale-up of parenting programmes across multiple contexts. It will allow testing of whether families with key vulnerabilities (such as being affected by HIV/AIDS, poverty, or political violence) benefit more, less or differently to other families. It also provides the opportunity to examine issues related to programme implementation and scale-up, such as barriers/facilitators of attendance and quality of delivery, and how they might differ across contexts.


WHO’s INSPIRE: Seven Strategies for Ending Violence Against Children, which forms part of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, recommends parenting programmes as a core component of preventing abuse. Parenting for Lifelong Health (PLH) is an initiative of researchers from the Global South and North, the WHO, UNICEF, and NGO implementing partners who are focused on improving parenting. Over the past decade, it has carefully developed and tested in randomised controlled trials a suite of freely available parenting programmes for low-resource settings. Two of these programmes are PLH for Young Children for children aged 2- to 9-years-old and PLH for Teens for children aged 10- to 18-years-old. These programmes aim to prevent violence against and by children, to improve child wellbeing, and to improve positive parenting capacity. They also represent some of the programs with the most evidence of effectiveness in low- and middle-income countries.

Positive results from the studies of PLH sparked major interest from international agencies and governments to plan scale-up. An unprecedented scale-up of these programmes is currently taking place throughout Africa as well as in East Asia, Eastern Europe and the Caribbean, with major partners including national governments, UNICEF, Catholic Relief Services/4Children, and Pact. However, we currently only have a tiny number of studies on the effectiveness of any parenting programmes outside the high-income world. Evidence from randomised trials is of great value for testing causal pathways of effectiveness, but we also need more programmatic evidence in order to understand questions such as the most effective implementation approaches, impacts of combined programs, and add-on modules.

Over 20 low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) have now scaled up PLH for Young Children and PLH for Teens. This is an unprecedented opportunity to collect and combine monitoring and evaluation (M&E) and research data that can bring forward the evidence-base for prevention of violence against children.

Study Setting

Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Kingdom of Eswatini, Kingdom of Lesotho, Kingdom of Thailand, Malaysia, Montenegro, Republic of Botswana, Republic of Cameroon, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Republic of Haiti, Republic of India, Republic of Kenya, Republic of Malawi, Republic of Moldova, Republic of North Macedonia, Republic of South Africa, Republic of South Sudan, Republic of the Philippines, Republic of Uganda, Republic of Zambia, Republic of Zimbabwe, Romania, and United Republic of Tanzania.

Study Objectives

In this study, we are working with implementing partners to support them to collect pre-post data during routine programme delivery, so that we can answer the following five questions:

  1. What is the process and extent of the dissemination and scale-up of these programmes?

  2. How are they implemented, and what is associated with variations in implementation?

  3. Under these routine conditions of delivery, are there changes in violence against children and other family outcomes, following delivery?

  4. What are the barriers and facilitators of sustainment of the programmes?

  5. What are the costs and resources needed for program delivery?

Significance and Wider Impact

To our knowledge, never before has anyone been able to study parenting programmes at this scale (tens of thousands of families have received the programmes) and under routine conditions. This project will be the first study of its kind to draw on multiple data sources and methods to examine the dissemination and scale-up of a parenting programme across multiple LMIC contexts. While this study reports on the implementation of two specific parenting programmes, we anticipate that our findings will be of relevance across the field of parenting, as well as other violence prevention and social programmes.

The study protocol is available at