Window of Opportunity

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Supported by BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities (BSC) and led by PATH, the Window of Opportunity program was founded in 2011 in recognition that pregnancy and early childhood represents a critical opportunity to shape the long-term physical, cognitive and emotional health and development of children.

This project also recognises the importance of building government and community capability to support children and their families. Capacity building is a key part of our Company’s commitment to the communities where we live and work, and something on which we place significant emphasis.

PATH is an international, non-profit organisation that creates sustainable, culturally relevant solutions to address health issues. With the support of BSC, it is applying the program in the South African districts of Sedibeng in Gauteng Province, Uthungulu in KwaZulu-Natal Province, Nkangala in Mpumalanga Province, and John Taolo Gaetsewe in Northern Cape Province. In Mozambique, it operates in the Boane District in the Maputo Province.

Since it started, the project has worked collaboratively with teams of government departments (Health, Basic Education, Social Development, and Welfare in South Africa; and Health, Women and Social Action in Mozambique), non-government partners and civil society to develop and implement integrated child and development programs that make a significant and direct impact on maternal and child health and nutrition.

In the early stages of the project, PATH conducted a rapid assessment to identify how maternal and child health development could be improved in each district. In the second year of the project, new and improved technical training and clinical service quality audit tools were developed for maternal and child health services. At the end of 2013, the project had trained over 100 managers in four South African districts in performance management and planning; provided technical support in service quality improvement to 85 health facilities; trained over 300 health professionals on essential maternal and health skills; and provided ongoing mentoring for more than 265 health personnel.

PATH has also refined its innovative ‘Feeding Buddies’ approach to strengthen community-based support for pregnant women and young children, and trained and mentored community-based organisations in project and financial management, as well as behavioural change communications.

Additionally, the PATH team has actively and successfully engaged with communities in each of the beneficiary districts to gain their support for integrated health and development education and promotion, primarily for pregnant women and young children. Through the involvement of local community based organisations, the project has resulted in districts reporting increased childhood immunisation rates and greater numbers of children being exclusively breastfed at 14 weeks of age.

Read more on our community investment activities in the BHP Billiton Community Review (PDF 3.6 MB)

Timing Investment

2011 to 2016

US$25 million to date