Joyful Babies ECD Centre in Gompo Town, Eastern Cape joined the Community Early Childhood Development (ECD) Network in 2013, receiving teacher training, materials for learning and play and nutritional support. This allowed the centre to grow and thrive. However, three years into the program, the ECD centre began to struggle. Enrollment fell from 150 to only 22 students and staff retention and centre management suffered as well. In partnership with Masibumbane Development Organisation (MDO), South Africa Partners and other stakeholders, efforts to get the centre back on track have been ongoing. Since 2017, the following policies have been implemented to ensure the centre’s success:
Monthly Meetings: Collaboration between South Africa Partners and MDO introduced the importance of monthly meetings to serve as a platform to address challenges Joyful Babies has experienced as a centre. Establishing these meetings has empowered the practitioners to develop strategies to improve enrollment, staff retention, marketing and other obstacles.
Assistance from University of Fort Hare Students: Joyful Babies has also partnered with The University of Fort Hare Nursing School to improve childhood care and increase enrollment numbers. Students from Fort Hare have trained ECD teachers to monitor children’s growth and development to identify potential children in need of clinic referrals. Their assistance has greatly benefitted the centre and has improved the quality of care for children attending Joyful Babies.
Increased Enrollment: Prior to seeking technical expertise from South Africa Partners and MDO, the number of children enrolled in Joyful Babies preschool was only 33 students. Mentorship helped the centre devise short and long-term plans for the organisation and implement a new marketing strategy. Since, enrollment has more than doubled and Joyful Babies is currently caring for 72 children.
The above collaborative interventions have resulted in increased parent involvement and improved management of Joyful Babies ECD Centre. Partnership with the Community ECD Network has made it possible for the centre to host workshops, assess child progress, improve financial and classroom management and better monitor the growth and development of the children they care for each day.
We are pleased and excited to share the wonderful progress in transforming into a true centre of early childhood education. This work has only been possible because of supporters like you. Thank you for your generosity towards this important project!
It's been a busy few months in the Community Early Childhood Development (ECD) Network! Thanks to your support, the team in East London made great progress towards empowering the women who create safe and effective learning spaces for the youngest children in their communities.
Since our Global Giving campaign launched in September 2018, we have achieved the following:
All these efforts are only possible because of supporters like you. Thank you so much for your continued support and we look forward to sharing further updates in the future!
South Africa Partners
Today, we are proud to introduce you to Alwaba!
When Alwaba was 3 years old, her parents enrolled her at Second Creek Daycare Center in East, London, South Africa. They both worked full time, and were lucky to have the option of a quality daycare center in their community, which is not always available in low-resourced areas in South Africa. Approximately 72% of children in South Africa’s Province of the Eastern Cape live in impoverished communities, and just 28% of children ages 0 to 4 attend daycare outside the home.
Second Creek is one of the 7 daycares that form part of the Community Early Childhood Development Network, initiated by South Africa Partners and our sister-organization, Masibumbane Development Organization. At Second Creek, Alwaba was cared for by teachers that receive specialized training in Early Childhood Development, along with mentorship, on-site coaching, and essential learning materials to create engaging learning experiences. These teachers are dedicated to ensuring that their students develop the critical skills they need in their early years in order to succeed in school later on. We see our investment in them as the key to transformation in not only their preschools, but in their larger communities.
Alwaba is now 9 years old and is a grade 3 student at the A.W. Barnes Primary School. She is a star student who is passionate about learning and is excelling with her studies. Her teacher recently remarked on her emerging leadership abilities, "Alwaba is able to work well with her group and can also lead the class! She is also a strong player on the school netball team".
Alwaba is a great example of how young children can thrive when they receive quality early education from dedicated teachers. She has a good future ahead of her and recently told us that she wants to become a doctor so she can help sick people!
We want to offer our sincerest thanks for all of your support along the way, to make programs like the Community Early Childhood Development Network possible. Your generosity allows for South Africa Partners to be able to identify, support, and fund efforts which most directly improve the lives of children growing up in South Africa. Thank you!
The South Africa Partners Team
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