Early Childhood Development (ECD) has been known to play a key role in determining whether a child will achieve his or her full potential. Early years of childhood is a crucial period since the events that occur during this stage have a lasting impact on child’s development throughout his or her life. Various programs on ECD with a holistic and integrated approach have been widely implemented in many countries but the participation and program coverage are limited. At this point, high quality of data analysis became essential to understand how these programs can have an impact and to provide an evidence-based policy on ECD, particularly in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) where the opportunities to conduct high-quality study and data analysis are lacking.

Grand Challenges Canada (GCC) together with its partners who are members of Saving Brains support ideas to improve early brain and child development globally. Given GCC’s mandate to create sustainable impact at scale, catalyse both national and global policy as well as build capacity of researcher in LMICs, an intensive 4-day virtual workshop entitled “Saving Brains Workshop for Data Preparation, Analysis, and Writing” was held from November 9th to 12th, 2020. Targeted participants of this workshop were grantees from GCC and selected investigators from Indonesia. There were 15 teams of 2 persons from each selected project team who participated in this workshop.

The workshop was supported by the GCC Platform Team and the Indonesia Medical Education and Research Institute (IMERI) at the University of Indonesia Faculty of Medicine Online Course Facility. Summit Institute of Development (SID) provided some additional support which includes technical assistance and also became a facilitator during this virtual workshop.

The workshop targeted enhancement of the core skills of participants in the analysis and interpretation of ECD data, writing, and communicating findings. During the 4-days intensive workshop, participants joined as project teams and they worked directly with their own data with the goal to maximize the value of their project and to develop generally applicable skills. Prior to the workshop, preparatory work had been done by participants, including a series of meetings to familiarize project team members with the basic data preparation and analysis and report writing. During the workshop, each project team was guided through various processes including data preparation, assessment, and analysis, as well as manuscripts and report writing. A peer mentor was assigned to each team to guide them and work closely with each project team during the peer mentoring session.

The outcome of this workshop was valid analysis results of each project data and a draft manuscript. It is hoped that the presence of this event can support drive the establishment of evidence-based policies that are targeted and sustainable, especially related to ECD in order to optimize the potential of brain development and learning abilities of children in the future, ensure that every young child will reach their full potential.