The start of the new school year marked the launch of a data collection partnership between the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Network Action Group (NAG). The project entails the mapping and profiling of all Early Childhood Development (ECD) services in Mbizana Local Municipality - a local municipality in the Alfred Nzo District Municipality - in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa.
The partnership aims to fill the data gap regarding the scale of ECD provisioning in the area. In the absence of knowing the scale and spread of ECD services, planning and budgeting is speculative for the state, NGOs, donors and other stakeholders. Furthermore, it also results in an inability to determine progress in achieving universal availability of ECD services.
NAG, who have conducted a similar data collection exercise in the Ugu District Municipality of KwaZulu-Natal, are using 16 Youth Employment Service participants. These participants have been recruited from all wards in Mbizana to carry out the data collection project.
In addition to gathering profile data, the NAG team will produce a report that outlines the data collection process and the challenges experienced. This report can be used by other organisations, including the state, who intend on engaging in similar processes.
Upon completion of this project, NAG and the Nelson Mandela Foundation will use the data collected to advocate for greater resources to be invested in Mbizana to enhance opportunities and investment for young children. The project is expected to be completed in April this year.