The Nelson Mandela Foundation‘s strategic work on improving Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilities in South Africa aims to make a difference where it matters most, during the all-important first years of life. For a number of years, the team has been working in the Vangasali campaign, aiming to facilitate registration of informal centres which would enable them to qualify for much needed support.
The Vangasali campaign - Vangasali is a Xitsonga word meaning No One Left Behind - was launched officially with the Department of Social Development in 2020, and local and international partner organisations contributed to its success. The Hanns Seidel Foundation has been supporting different aspects of the program as well. "Every child counts" - this is the tagline of the Vangasali campaign, which is hugely important in a country where the majority of ECD centres are unregistered, thus receiving no support from government at all, and where inequality and poverty are so rife that one third of all children are stunted in their growth.
With Vangasali, ECD centres are enabled and supported to register step by step, which then helps them also to be supported and to receive some assistance - a small daily subsidy for children can contribute to nutritional meals, often alleviating hunger as well, and many thousands of informal centres need at least some funding for basic infrastucture upgrades.
Read this enlightening new article by Sumaya Hendricks and Qhamani Tshazi from our partner team at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, with important information about the situation of Early Childhood Development in South Africa, the Vangasali campaign and the recent visit with president Cyril Ramaphosa in the Eastern Cape:
It was a moving day of celebration, of important conversations and of reflection when the Nelson Mandela Foundation was hosting President Ramaphosa for the opening of the Little Flower Early Childhood Development Centre in Nkantolo Village in the Eastern Cape. The centre was built using some of the funds given by the President, as part of his previous pledge to donate a portion of his salary to the Foundation.
We were honoured to join the team from the Nelson Mandela Foundation (NMF) for this memorable event, together with representatives of other partner organisations who have been involved with the Vangasali campaign and other ECD work of the NMF as well - among them Impande, UNICEF, the DG Murray Trust and the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, as well as the Department of Basic Education who took over the responsibility for ECD in April this year.
The visit offered valuable opportunities for exchange with the experienced other partners as well.
In his speech, the president expressed his deep appreciation for the productive work of the Nelson Mandela Foundation and other stakeholder organisations from civil society and business - and his hope that these collaborations and the support for the sector can be strengthened further.
He stated that he was considering for ECD to become a responsibility of the presidency as well.
The president focussed on the theme of ECD in his weekly Newsletter since, which was then also quoted extensively in other publications: