Earlier this year the Nelson Mandela Foundation in partnership with the Early Care Foundation (ECF) developed a capacity-building programme for Early Childhood Development (ECD) Forums, which was attended by 13 ECD Forums from across different communities in Gauteng.
The Early Childhood Development (ECD) Forum Leadership Programme graduation in July marked the conclusion of this capacity-building programme but also signified the start of a new developmental endeavour through the ECD Forum Leadership Awards. The aim of the ECD forum Leadership Awards was to allow the 13 ECD forums to put into practice what they had learnt during the programme. Each forum had to develop a project proposal and pitch for funding which needed to fall within one of the following categories: Community development, with the project benefiting the community in which the Forum operates; ECD-related, with the project elevating ECD in some way in their community; or internally focused with the project being a means of building the ECD Forum members’ capacities or their internal structures.
Following the submission of proposals and budgets, Forums presented their proposals in person to a panel of four representatives from the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Early Care Foundation. A total of 4 winners were selected which included the Dithungthung ECD Forum which is based in Midrand; the Alra Park ECD Forum based in Nigel; the LECO ECD Forum that is based in Meyerton; as well as Ennerdale ECD Forum based in Alexander.
The project of the Dithungthung ECD Forum involves the development of a community food garden to benefit both the community and their respective ECD centres. Additionally, the project includes beadwork training for ECD forum members, creating a new stream of income for the forum. The Alra Park ECD Forum will also develop a community food garden, which will be maintained by community members, especially young individuals, to alleviate the challenges of crime and drug usage within their community. The produce from the food garden will also benefit learners attending the ECD centres. The project of the LECO ECD Forum aims to enhance the forum's brand identity, foster a sense of pride among its members, increase visibility, and promote active participation in various forum activities. Lastly, the Ennerdale ECD Forum will be hosting a gathering where motivational speakers will be addressing their ECD practitioners followed by a lunch. This gathering aims to motivate ECD practitioners and to thank them for the work that they do in nurturing children.
Once projects are completed, all awardees will submit a narrative report detailing how the funds were utilized and the impact of the project. Additionally, representatives from the Nelson Mandela Foundation will conduct on-site visits to observe the implementation of the projects.