The training programme is an in-house developed 3-year training programme specifically designed for rural and pre-urban child-carers with limited exposure or training in Early Childhood Development (ECD). In addition to building capacity and skills of childcare practitioners, it also serves as a bridging programme to prepare child-carers for entry into the NQF (National Qualifications Matrix) level 4 ECD qualification offered by Public FET Colleges and accredited training organisations. In year one of the training programme, the focus is on practical classroom guidance following prescribed lesson plans. In addition, practitioners will complete three ECD Level One (i.e. National Qualification Framework level 1 standard) modules which are integrated with the practical classroom guidance, as well as a Level 1 English Communications course and a Level 1 Mathematical Literacy course. During the latter two years, whilst continuing to provide practical classroom-based support to practitioners, practitioners are assessed according to the ECD NQF Level 4 learning outcomes. The ultimate goal being to achieve the qualification required to qualify for a government ECD Centre grant to help sustain the ECD centres.
In the year under review, we trained and undertook capacity building for 80 child-care practitioners (child-carers) at 29 childcare centres (rural and semi-urban crèches). Of the 80 practitioners, 46 remained dedicated and completed the respective levels that they undertook.
As part of its holistic response, LAFN identifies that specific needs for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) are intrinsically linked to its mission. The OVC programme responds to identified needs, such as the following examples:
- Food Deliveries: The feeding of over a thousand children at crèches, whilst supporting crèches to establish gardens to grow their own food, and providing nutrition advice and support.
- Help for families and children to access any state assistance and entitlements for which they qualify
- Food gardens and gardening workshops: Regular workshops are held with the child-carers – e.g. workshops on HIV and AIDS, legal rights of children etc.
- Urgent and appropriate responses to children in extreme crisis such as abandonment, neglect, abuse or who are disabled, sick or recently orphaned.
- Children for Children Campaign: The Children for Children food collection campaign which involves over 40 schools in the region brings in a very large amount of food which we are able to use for several months to helps supplement our food deliveries.
Infrastructural support is given (budget allowing) to each of the ECD crèches in order to ensure an environment that conducive to development and learning. This includes new buildings, upgrades, maintenance, furniture, toys, educational equipment, classroom and learning equipment and materials, water tanks, toilets etc. Many of the crèches initially consisted of little more than a shack with no toilet facilities and no access to water.
We are glad to report back that new buildings were completed during the course of 2013 for both Nombasa and Msobomvu Day Care Centres. The Centres are nothing short of spectacular from our perspectives and are “off the grid” in that their electricity needs are completely generated by solar power, their water is UV filtered and has heating facilities, they have very adequate water collection tanks and water pumps ensure strong water pressure. They also have hygienic (albeit outside) toilets, very good cooking and refrigeration facilities, adequate inside space, good security and fencing and lovely playground equipment.
Nombasa Day Care Centre had an official opening ceremony and the building officially opened by MEC Xoliswa Tom.
These are the projects we support