ECD-support-fund encourages corporates, donors & citizens to invest in the next generation

ECD-support-fund encourages corporates, donors & citizens to invest in the next generation
ECD-support-fund encourages corporates, donors & citizens to invest in the next generation

The COVID-19 pandemic caught the country and the world off guard and had a major impact on everyone, including non-profit early childhood development (ECD) programmes. The ECD sector is facing an abrupt loss of income and the livelihoods of ECD practitioners with skills, knowledge and experience in early learning is seriously under threat. This will also impact on young children’s continued access to quality early learning and development opportunities and programmes as they start to re-open.

According to Leonard Saul, CEO of the South African Congress for Early Childhood Development, “ECD centres closed on 27 March 2020 due to a pronouncement by the Department of Social Development, leaving about 175 000 ECD practitioners without a daily income. Parents did not pay monthly fees because their children were at home, resulting in no income to the ECD centre which pays the salaries of the ECD practitioners. To date, very few ECD centres have reopened due to a lack of resources to provide PPEs and also because parents are not sending children to attend programmes. Many ECD centres closed down leaving ECD practitioners without an income and in some centres which reopened, ECD practitioners were retrenched due to a low income.”

Investments in ECD programmes have the potential to generate benefits for children across their lifespan, their caregivers and for the broader society*. ECD programmes which meaningfully improve children’s early learning experiences can lead to better cognitive and emotional development over the life course. These improvements can lead to long-term economic growth, responsible citizenship, and the effective parenting of future generations.” (according to the South African Child Gauge 2013, University of Cape Town).

During the early years (birth to six years) quality early learning and development opportunities lay the foundations to prepare young children for more formal education (starting at Grade 1) and to become life-long learners. The harsh reality is that the sector is losing well qualified and experienced ECD practitioners, which will disadvantage young children if there isn’t enough funding and resources for non-profit ECD programmes across the country.

The ECD-Support-Fund was created by people from both public and private sectors to provide bridging financial aid to support registered non-profit ECD programmes and to keep them from closing due to loss of experienced staff.

According to Ruby Motaung, director of Training and Resource in Early Education (TREE), “During this most challenging time in the recent history of our nation, it is paramount that the strength of NGO sector in ECD as a voice of the communities, be combined with that of all relevant government, other stakeholders and the public to ensure that our youngest citizens continue to have access to quality early learning opportunities now, and for years to come.”

We’re encouraging corporates, consumers, donors, philanthropists and other organisations to support the ECD-Support-Fund to ensure that those providing ECD programmes do not close nor retrench experienced staff. This Fund will assist in ensuring that our young children continue to receive much needed early learning opportunities that will not only ensure that they have a good start in life during their early years, but to be able to contribute to the long-term prosperity of our nation. In this instance we are reminded of the words of Seattle pediatrician Dimitri Christakis: “When you change the beginning of the story, you change the whole story.”

Queen Mgobhozi, the Chairperson of the ECD-Support-Fund’s Independent Oversight Committee reveals the goals of this initiative, “Our initial target for fundraising is R5 000 000. With this amount, we will impact upon the lives of around 14 000 children in 547 ECD programmes, benefitting a total of 1 368 ECD practitioners and educators. This will be done through the provision of  two-month support of 50% of the national minimum wage as a norm. The cost of inaction is high and has a long-term impact. For every qualified ECD practitioner/educator we lose, it will take at least 3 (three) years to recover, meaning that approximately 41 000 young children, conservatively calculated, will be deprived of quality early learning and development opportunities.”

HOW CAN YOU SUPPORT?

–           Citizens:

You can help the ECD-Support-Fund, as every contribution will help! And no contribution is ever too small:

1.Make the decision to contribute

2.Decide how much you can contribute (once off or a number of times)

3.Pay it into the bank account of the ECD-Support-Fund and send us an email with proof of payment

4.Tell your friends and family, and spread the word on social media using #ECDSUPPORTFUND

–           Corporates:

You can make a difference and help to save the country’s investment in human capital by:

  1. Contributing directly into the ECD-Support-Fund
  2. Requesting your employees to collect and make a contribution to the ECD-Support-Fund as an internal CSI initiative

– Donors and Philanthropic Organisations

1.Your organisation can make a contribution to the fund in aid of ECD programmes by contributing directly into the ECD-Support-Fund

*Tax exemption certificates in the form of Section 18A letters will be provided by NECDA in return for donations received.

Find out more by visiting: https://www.ecdalliance.org/

#ECDSUPPORTFUND

ISSUED BY:  Independent Oversight Committee

ENQUIRIES FOR MEDIA ONLY:

Name: Queen Mgobhozi

Email: [email protected]

OR

Name: Tina Lepan

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 078 617 2473

ABOUT THE ECD-SUPPORT-FUND

The National Early Learning and Development Programme Support Fund during COVID-19 in the Republic of the South Africa (ECD-support-fund) was established to address the dire plight in the early childhood development sector during the COVID-19 pandemic by the National Early Childhood Development Alliance (NECDA) in collaboration with the South African Congress for Early Childhood Development. The purpose of the ECD-support-fund is to receive funds from individuals, donors, organisations, corporate companies, private family foundations and other entities for the purpose of providing bridging support through cash disbursements to not-for-profit early childhood development programmes that  have been affected by the measures in relation to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic and meet the criteria as set out in its Founding Document. The ECD-support-fund is an independent fund that is managed and overseen by an Independent Oversight Committee to ensure that it is administered in a fair, unbiased and just manner.

The ECD-Support-Fund needs to adhere to strict financial management principles and procedures as set out in Founding Document and the Addendums thereto, and must in accordance with the clause 4.3 of the Founding Document the ECD-Support-Fund shall be subject to an independent audit at the end of the financial year or within three months after it has disbursed all available funding, and this report must be made available to all contributors, beneficiaries and the general public.

For more information on the ECD-support-fund visit https://www.ecdalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/ECD-COVID-19-Founding-Document-Final-for-Publication.pdf

 

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