In January 2022, the Nelson Mandela Foundation approved grant funding for the construction of three new Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in WM-Mandela Municipality in Eastern Cape. The source of the funds for the Little Flower Pre-school was from President Ramaphosa who committed to donate half of his presidential salary when he took office. Little Flower used to be run from a corrugated iron structure. The infrastructure upgrade included a new centre as well as water, sanitation, equipment and learning resources.
We are very grateful that the President took time out to visit Little Flower Pre-school and that he publicly stated that ECD centres are important for both children’s preparedness for school and as a source of entrepreneurship and job creation. Hopefully his support makes our advocacy work a little easier. We actively engage with policy makers and policy implementers to exert influence for a better early education for children and we do this because we are absolutely convinced that ensuring healthy child development is an investment in a country’s future workforce and its capacity to thrive economically and as a society.
We are pleased there are NGO’s, like Impande and many others, who have dedicated their work, their staff and their attention to making that they upgrade our ECD centres. And it’s quite impressive to hear that Impande has concentrated here in this District, and they have already built so many. Thank you very much Impande, for the work that you are doing.President Cyril Ramaphosa
Whilst their facilities have been transformed, the Little Flower volunteers and children still need other types of support. Until they begin to receive government funding Impande will continue to:
- provide nutritional support through our partnership with Zero2Five Trust
- include the teachers as participants on the Social Employment Fund (SEF)
In addition, there is a great need for ongoing training and mentoring of volunteers at centers such as Little Flower so that they can provide better stimulation and learning for the children in their care. The necessity for these additional layers of support is evidenced by the ELOM (Early Learning Outcome Measure) scores of these centres. ELOM provides a psychometrically valid instrument to assess children against the early learning standards that they are expected to reach prior to Grade R. Impande has done several ELOM assessments and they all tell a very similar story about the work that remains to truly give children a fair start in life. Children attending 3 ECD centres in WM Mandela Municipality including Little Flower were recently assessed, and a summary of their results is as follows:
Obviously, much work still needs to be done to reach the levels of child development we hope to see in these poorest communities of our country.
|We would like to thank the President and the Nelson Mandela Foundation for making the transformation of Little Flower, Mandlobe and Greenville Pre-schools possible. We would also like to thank President Ramaphosa for visiting Little Flower Pre-schools and for your kind words expressing appreciation of the work Impande does.|
|We would also like to extend our gratitude to Zero2Five Trust for their long-term partnership on ECD nutrition, the DGMT for supporting our ECD network in WM-Mandela Municipality, the Industrial Development Corporation for providing the opportunity for volunteers at unfunded ECD centres to receive an income through the Social Employment Fund project, and DataDrive2030 for the ELOM report.|