Supporting marginalised communities during the lockdown

The current pandemic hitting the world is of grave concern for a country like South Africa whose poverty levels are high and with a large percentage of the population who are immune compromised. We would like to applaud the South African Government for their swift measures in addressing this pandemic and the risk which millions of South Africans face. At 23:59 on Thursday 26 March 2020, South Africa went into a full lockdown as regulated by the Disaster Management Act, in an attempt to mitigate the risks associated with a coronavirus outbreak, this has been extended until 1st May at this stage. We were relieved to hear the president’s announcement on 21st April to increase social welfare grants to compensate for the lack of meals that children receive at school and pre-schools.

Over and above the risk of infection the biggest challenge we are currently faced with is nutrition and child protection.

Sphindile Gasa

Our response strategy to the challenges that Covid19 bring for young children in rural KZN and Eastern Cape involves the following:

  • Rapid Nutrition Response to combat the sudden loss of access to meals for young children during April and May 2020. We hope governments new social relief will ease this burden from June onwards
  • Child Protection Monitoring – using our network of 7 specialised community based child protection organisations, 700 early childhood development centres and 20 youth interns to be child protection champions on the ground reporting and intervening in problems which may include: Neglect, Abuse, Lack of Nutrition, No access to water for hygiene
  • Improving our mobile communications with our member organisations in all the rural communities in UGU and Bizana Municipalities to enable us to continue to support early learning to take place in homes and to continue with organisational development support of the ECD centres during this time

On Thursday the 8th of April Impande began the task of distributing 13 tonnes of food to 5000 children in the area of Bizana, Eastern Cape. We prioritised this area as it is one of the poorest in the country and reports from the ground reveal high percentages of children with malnutrition and stunting.  Accurate and up-to date data on all existing ECD centres in the area enables us to reach the most vulnerable children and their families.  The work to reach these remote and isolated ECD centres has involved coordination of supplies and long days on the road. To assist on the ground, we have made use of our local youth interns.

Since the start of 2019 we have worked in partnership with Zero2Five Trust to administer nutritional support to children that attend 160 ECD centres which are not funded by government. The main challenge with COVID19 is safe distribution which avoids cramped public transport and gatherings of people. Our strategy has therefore been to deliver supplies to ECD centres that in turn distribute fortified breakfast, rice and soya meals and soap to parents.  As various partners helped increase the quantities of nutritional support, we have been able to provide food for the children that normally attend the ECD centres as well as their families.

Special Thanks to our Partners

A special thank you to Impande Norway and their partners for supporting our work to distribute and deliver assistance where it is needed the most, and a big thanks to our dedicated nutrition partners Zero2Five Trust who have mobilised support from their partners FutureLife, Rise Against Hunger, Southern Lodestar Foundation and Willowton Oils. We would also like to appreciate local business Build it Port Edward for providing warehousing and daily assistance opening up the warehouse and assisting with loading of supplies.


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Your investment can help us to give children in rural South Africa a fair start in life. You can give a general support donation or donate to one of these specific projects:

  • ECD Infrastructure
  • Playgrounds
  • ECD helpdesk

Covid-19 update

We need your help

We are currently working to support ECD centres to comply with the process set out by DSD for reopening but we need your help.  Centres urgently need water tanks, cleaning materials and personal protective equipment (PPE). Partner with us or make a contribution to reach ECD centres that do not have any water source and those who are not funded by government.

Network and Helpdesk

It is possible to improve access and quality of ECD when communities, government and the private sector work together


·         Facilitate municipal ECD Network meetings to support flow of information between grassroots ECD services, government and stakeholders 

·         Provide a help desk to assist ECD centres with registration and compliance to improve child protection and access to government subsidies.