DSD and Rotary enter partnership for improved ECD in the Western Cape
Extensive research shows that the first 1000 days of a child’s life is the most important for their mental and physical development. It sets the stage for his or her future health, learning, language and emotional growth. This makes quality Early Childhood Development (ECD), whether in a centre or in the home, a critical tool in helping children to realise the full developmental benefits of this stage of life. The Department of Social Development is therefore excited at the new partnership it has entered into with the international Rotary organisation to strengthen ECD in the province.
Together the Department and the Rotary District 9350 will facilitate the improved provision of holistic, quality ECD care to ensure all children receive love, food, security, and stimulation within a legal and sustainable framework.
The Department funds more than 1000 ECD centres. It will provide the Rotary with data including geographic mapping, to identify where the ECD centres in need of the most support are located, specifically those involved with the age groups 0-2 (first 1000 days). The first 1000 days is when brain development is crucial, and interventions can have the most sustainable impact.
The Rotary will be linked directly to regional co-ordinators, social workers, and the Department’s other partners in the field to maximise efficacy.
The Rotary District 9350 – which represents the Western and Northern Cape, Angola and Namibia – will promote awareness among the individual clubs. They in turn will partner with their selected ECD centres, working closely with communities and Department staff to add value to overall operations.
Clubs will assist ECD centres with registration, the planning of nutritious meals, minor infrastructure upgrades and maintenance, the provision of educational material, and assist the Department to ensure regular training, monitoring and evaluation of ECD teachers.
It is envisioned that these interventions this will ultimately contribute to the improvement of school readiness of children and their overall well-being.
“We believe that the child in Philippi has the right to the same quality care and development as the child in Claremont. Rotary will help us bridge that divide,” says Social Development Minister Albert Fritz. He adds that the Department will continue to seek out and nurture partnerships with civil society.
“We look forward to this partnership resulting in significant improvements in Early Childhood Development throughout the Western Cape. The Rotary Clubs and Rotarians who commit their time, effort and knowledge will work together with DSD staff and pre-schools to ensure that we lay strong foundations for the future of the youth of the country,” says Rotary District Governor Geraldine Nicol.
Social Development Head of Department, Dr Robert Macdonald has welcomed this partnership. “We appreciate the opportunity to partner with the Rotary. They are a solid organisation that has set the benchmark for volunteerism, and will align well with DSD’s drive to improve ECD services to our vulnerable communities,” says Macdonald.