| Aug 10, 2022
ECD Services for Vulnerable Communities
Children from one of the ECD centres we work with
The early stages of a child’s life are important as they lay a foundation for the rest of their lives. Providing access to quality early childhood development interventions is the best way for the most vulnerable children to be able to reach their full potential. Through our Early Childhood Development Programme, 1500 children receive essential services from the 24 ECD and stimulation centre partners we work with. The centres are visited regularly to monitor them. When the children come to our Play and Learn Centre they receive primary health care in the form of health screenings, growth monitoring, and vision and hearing test conducted by our nurses.
Nutrition is also necessary for the early stages of development; no child can learn and fully develop on an empty stomach. All centres working with Topsy must have a vegetable garden. A partnership with Head Start Kids, a local NGO whose mission is to eradicate child malnutrition is helping us improve nutrition. The partnership also included a read donation for our ECD centre partners
HSK monitors the children that are part of the project to show that their nutrition improves those who had malnutrition are better. We also work with Rise Against Hunger which provides our ECD centre partners with meal packs. The pack contains all the nutrients required in one serving.
ECD Practitioner Training
Training for practitioners is equally important for children to receive age-appropriate learning. In early June of 2022, thirty-two Practitioners participated in a three-day training session focusing on ELDA (early learning and development areas) to help them organise the activities with babies, toddlers and young children. The practitioners come from ten centres, mostly from the Govan Mbeki municipality.
This training is a way for us to introduce our ECD services to this community. It has also helped us build a relationship with Sasol Foundation which funds ECD projects. We are cultivating this relationship to translate into a donation for ECD in the Dipaleseng and Govan Mbeki communities.
Many of the centres we work with do not have adequate facilities, making it dangerous for the children and constant stress for the practitioners. Through our partnership with the centres, we have been able to assist these centres to apply for container infrastructure from Breadline Africa. Centres that are assisted must be registered with the Department of Social Development.
The containers are fully equipped with classrooms, toilets and a kitchen. Breadlines Africa requires that centres must own the land they are on. One of the centres that received containers that recently received containers is Tholulwazi Day Care Centre.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Monitoring and Evaluation is helps us identify the most valuable and efficient use of our resources. In 2021 we had an M&E specialist come and evaluate our process and help us improve. Ntjidzi Dube, an M&E specialist worked with Topsy to design a Monitoring Evaluation and Reporting Plan (MERP) with the following objectives in mind:
- For accountability to caregivers, community, fundamentals and other stakeholders
- to gather quality data for guiding decision-making for the project around targets, strategies, spending, administration etc.
- to determine what resources are required for achieving results
- to measure progress in the implementation of planned activities and use of funds
- Document lessons learnt
We have started using Soweto Care System (SCS), a monitoring software, which produces correct, complete, reliable and timely information on the programme activities. Using SCS, information on beneficiaries, employees, beneficiary interventions and projects are captured, updated and retrieved in great detail. From these files, we can easily generate comprehensive reports for management and donors.
Feedback from a parent who was assisted by a Topsy nurse
Dear Sr Joan, Topsy Foundation Staff and Donators I gave birth to the most beautiful baby boy Tsholo on 19 September 2019. But he was born with a genetic skin disease; Epidermolysis Bullosa which left us heartbroken and made his management as a baby very complicated. About 60% of his body had no skin, and needed dressing, wound care and pain management every 4 hours.
The costs for pain medication, dressing material, gloves and ointments were so high, and we did not know how we are going to care for him. But great thanks to Sr Joan who support us with all we need to improve his quality of life and relief our need. Unfortunately, baby Tsholo gained his angel wings on 5 December 2019.
Thanks for all the support and Sr Joan and Topsy.
Thank you for continuing to support The Topsy Foundation! Without our donors, we will not be able to reach communities that need our services.
Practitioner handing out bread
ECD Practitioner Training in Secunda
Breadline classroom containers