South Africa: Protecting Children During COVID-19 and Beyond

The Department of Social Development, in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, aims to improve the standard of Early Childhood Development (ECD) across the country, as part of this year's Child Protection Week campaign.

This year's campaign is being held under the theme: 'Let Us All Protect Children, During Covid-19 and Beyond'.

The partnership between the department and the Nelson Mandela Foundation will culminate with the launch of Vangasali-Every Child Counts Campaign, which is targeting unregistered ECD centres, with the view of assisting them to meet the minimum norms and standards for registration, as stipulated in the Children's Act (Act No. 38 of 2005).

A nationwide audit of ECD centres conducted by the department on the nature and extent of ECD provisioning, services, resources and infrastructure across all nine provinces revealed that a considerable number of centres were unregistered.

Vangasali, which means "leave no child or ECD centre behind" in Xitsonga, seeks to change all that by encouraging members of the public to participate in finding ECD centres in their local communities. Members of the public are encouraged to find ECD facilities in their local communities.

Once a centre has been identified, members of the public are advised to send the word "ECD" to 082 046 8553 on WhatsApp.

The name, details and the geolocation of the centre will be entered into the Govchat database for mapping purposes. This will also assist in determining the coverage of ECD services, particularly in poor and vulnerable communities.

The campaign will be rolled out nationwide in three phases, namely find and count (phase 1), categorise (phase 2) and intervention (phase 3).

The goal is to provide support packages to all identified ECD centres to progressively register and enhance the delivery of quality ECD services, including nutrition, health and safety of children.

The package of ECD registration benefits include amongst other things, access to basic social services such as access to government subsidy in the form of a R15 per child a day for 365 days a year.

The ECD subsidy is important for ensuring that children attending ECDs have access to health services and nutritious meals every day.

"We could not have found a better partner than the Nelson Mandela Foundation for an initiative of this kind, which seeks to improve educational opportunities for children.

"We all know that the founding father of our democracy spent his life campaigning for improvement and access to education for all children.

"We are keeping his legacy and passion for education and children alive," said Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu.

The Vangasali campaign will be officially launched today as part of this year's Child Protection Week.

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