Adopt an ECD Campaign
The South African government has since 1994 prioritized early childhood development (ECD) as an integral part of addressing the legacy of apartheid education policies. ECD has been recognized as one of the most powerful tools of breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty in South Africa.
Evidence based research conducted on ECD demonstrates that children who participate in well-conceived ECD programs tend to be more successful in school, are more competent socially and emotionally, and show higher verbal and intellectual development during early childhood than children who are not enrolled in high quality programs. Ensuring healthy child development, therefore, is an investment in a country's future workforce and capacity to thrive economically and as a society.
A recent report entitled, 'South Africa's Children: A Review of Equity and Child Rights', released by the South African Human Rights Commission, UNICEF and the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (2011: 5) notes that "just 43 per cent of children under five (in South Africa) are exposed to an ECD program at home, a centre or elsewhere and there are large disparities across provinces". The National Development Plan (2011:274), released by the National Planning Commission indicates that research shows (that) well planned and targeted early childhood development initiatives (can) be a cost-effective way of ensuring all children have a childhood that is free of factors that impede their physical and cognitive development?
The NDA contributes to the ECD sector through interventions that (1) support food security at ECD sites, 2) strengthen the institutional, leadership and management capacity of ECD sites; and 3) improve the infrastructure of ECD sites. The NDA also provides limited financial resources for capital infrastructure for ECD sites, given the limited resources at its disposal. The NDA envisages that the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development will take the lead in resourcing infrastructure development, curriculum development and ensuring compliance with approved norms and standards.
The Adopt an ECD Campaign was conceptualised as part of an activity of the South African ECD conference and the ECD Awards. The Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini has been earmarked to act as the Chief Patron for the campaign. She is expected to act as a patron for the campaign commencing with an advertorial that recognises organisations that have just received funds from the NDA as part of the ECD Strengthening Program. It is envisaged that the roll-out will happen over a period of ten (10) months, with each month dedicated to a specific province to showcase what the NDA has achieved in the ECD sector, linking 'indigent' ECD sites to targeted donors and promoting dialogue on the provision of ECD amongst key players.
The purpose of the Adopt an ECD Campaign is to facilitate, advocate and lobby for expanded access to provision of ECD in poor communities. The campaign is premised on the assumption that South Africa commands sufficient resources to meet current and future needs of learners in the ECD sector. Therefore, improved access to ECD can create a solid foundation for development, lifelong learning and mitigate vulnerability to structural poverty.
The primary objectives of the campaign are the following:
- To mobilise government, the private sector, local and international donors to increase resource flows to the ECD sector.
- To identify and profile ECD sites in predetermined poor communities to access financial and non-financial resources to improve the overall quality of ECD provision.
Key features of the campaigN
- Create a database of public and private donors who have made significant investments in the ECD sector.Profile indigent ECD sites in identified localities.
- Link ECD sites with potential donors.
- Provide program management support for beneficiary sites.
- Provide a platform to dialogue on resource flows to the ECD sector.
- Establishment of Provincial Advisory Committees.
The implementation of the Adopt an ECD Campaign will undoubtedly result in the overall improvement of the quality of life of identified beneficiaries.
To view ECDs that need assistance, please go to: www.ndacampaigns.co.za