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2011

Interventions Promoting Early Childhood Development in South Africa

Physical growth and cognitive development during the first five years of a child’s life can have profound effects on lifetime educational achievement and economic potential, and early developmental delays may perpetuate intergenerational cycles of poverty. The past decade has seen an increase in resource mobilization for early childhood development (ECD) programs in South Africa targeting the most disadvantaged and vulnerable children, but there has been relatively little systematic research to document these efforts. This case study from 2011 aims to contribute to the knowledge base on ECD programming through offering a detailed report on the activities of five organizations providing ECD services to young children in South Africa. Rather than daycare or other more general support services for young children, this case study showcases formal ECD programs including school readiness curricula for children and training initiatives for parent and community care providers. The partners include: Nurturing Orphans of AIDS for Humanity (Noah), Save the Children in collaboration with the Center for Positive Care (STC/CPC), the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), World Vision and Woz’obona. While the partner organizations have experienced some notable successes providing ECD education to disadvantaged children throughout South Africa, challenges remain.

The past decade has seen an increase in resource mobilization towards interventions for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in southern Africa, but there has been relatively little research documenting the effectiveness of the interventions. This series of case studies aim to contribute to the knowledge base on OVC programming by documenting the activities of various organizations and initiatives working to improve the lives of OVC. These organizations all receive financial support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). These case studies were made possible by financial support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Southern Africa, as part of the Enhancing Strategic Information (ESI) project implemented by John Snow Incorporated (JSI) in collaboration with Tulane University’s School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine (TSPH). Information gathering activities took place in 2009 and 2011 and included document review, site visits, key informant interviews and focus group discussions.

Suggested Citation: Neudorf, K., Thurman, T.R., & Taylor, T.M. (2011). Interventions Promoting Early Childhood Development in South Africa. New Orleans, LA: Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Department of International Health and Development.

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