Oct 2020 1st edition

Vangasali campaign strengthens the ECD sector

Written by Dale Hes

A campaign by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Department of Social Development (DSD) is helping early childhood development (ECD) centres to get registered and provide effective care to children around South Africa. 

Phase 1 of the Vangasali (meaning ‘No One Left Behind’ in Xitsonga) campaign was launched in June, and aimed to find every ECD centre in South Africa. During this phase, more than 52 000 ECD services were identified around the country. 

Sumaya Hendricks, dialogue analyst at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, explains that it is important for the DSD to build a database of ECD providers in South Africa. 

“While the DSD has some data regarding the scale of ECD provisioning in the country, this covers mostly registered and conditionally registered sites. There are, however, thousands of unregistered ECD services and non-centre based ECD services, including mobile services, that government does not have data on because they are unaware of where these centres operate from.”

Phase 2 of the campaign is now underway. It aims to support ECD centres in applying for registration with the DSD. Hendricks says that registered centres are better able to access government relief measures and support, which is especially important during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has meant that many ECD centres have been closed. 

Hendricks says the COVID-19 crisis hit unregistered centres hard because they were unable to benefit from government’s relief measures. 

Abram Kgari, the chairperson of the Diepsloot ECD Forum in Gauteng, says that getting centres registered can also give them access to subsidies that can help pay for the running of the centres. 

He encourages parents to find centres that are registered with the DSD because the subsidies they receive help them to provide a better level of care.  

How do you register an ECD centre?

ECD service providers can register an ECD centre by contacting their nearest DSD office. They should also contact their local municipality and the departments of Education and Health to get the right permissions and the necessary health clearance certificate.

The importance of effective ECD

  • Helps create a positive environment for young children.
  • Lays the foundations for a good start at school because the first five years of a child’s life are the most important for developing important basic functions such as motor skills, counting, creativity and social skills. 


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