In line with the National Department of Basic Education strategy, the purpose of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) project is to manage the development, evaluation and maintenance of policy, programmes and systems for early childhood development.
MOWFSDA aims to increase access to and quality of early childhood care and education. Through mentorship, training and infrastructural upgrades, we empower principals and staff to develop under-resourced edu-care centres into sustainable education providers. The programme currently partners with a number of centres within the boundaries of uThukela District.
Despite the fact that some of the evident township edu-care centres operate as functional schools, many are overcrowded, unsanitary structures where 60 children and two adults share a room the size of a shipping crate. Certain individuals, usually women who start ECD centres-sometimes in their own homes -often lack the education, skills and confidence to successfully run a centre. Many under-resourced centres function as little more than “holding pens” for children. Hence MOWFSDA has since established a crèche in one of the operation areas, Mahhashini situated in Wembezi Township.
Therefore without government support, centres struggle to fund daily operations. However, in order to be eligible for subsidies, they have to meet minimum requirements in infrastructure, financial management, curriculum and teacher training. External assistance provided by MOWFSDA gives edu-care centres resources they might never obtain on their own to make these upgrades and build a foundation for self-sufficiency.
The ECD Programme helps centres with:
- Donations: MOWFSDA collects and delivers material donations, including educational toys, blankets, books and clothing.
- Nutritional support: MOWFSDA provides a nutritious meal for every child, every day.
- Government registration: MOWFSDA helps centres qualify and register for state subsidies.
- Mentorship: MOWFSDA stands alongside centre staff throughout the journey to sustainability.
- Capacity building: The organisation provides training to principals, teachers and care givers in a first aid, hygiene, nutrition, parenting skills, HIV/Aids, grief and trauma counselling, fundraising, financial management, computer skills, inclusive education, and arts and crafts.
- Teacher development: MOWFSDA staff to enrol in and access bursaries for SAQA-accredited modules in early childhood education.
- Structural upgrades: MOWFSDA renovates existing structures and build new centres to provide adequate space, proper sanitation and protection from the elements.
- Activities and outings: MOWFSDA staff and volunteers run regular interactive workshops with children.
- Access to resources: MOWFSDA further helps centres raise money, access resources and equipment, and develop partnerships with resource and training organisations.