ECD Sector is set to Launch the People’s Manifesto

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“A country that does not take care of its children is doomed. No house can stand without a proper foundation.” These poignant words by Gugu Cresicia Nkomo, an Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioner at Leratong Daycare Centre in Johannesburg, echoes the sentiment shared by the ECD sector. 

As our elections approach on 29 May 2024, the ECD sector is sounding a clarion call: a party for the children is a party for the future! This rallying cry finds expression in the People’s Manifesto for Early Childhood Development in South Africa which will be launched at a march from Beyers Naude Square in Marshalltown, to Constitution Hill in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on 20 April 2024. 

RSVP here to attend the march. 

Behind the doors of early learning programmes lie stark realities: underfunded and overstretched ECD practitioners grappling with insufficient government support, who often make a little go a long way to care for our children. The current government spending on young children is disproportionately low: children aged zero to five make up 10% of the population but, in 2021/22, less than 2% of total government spending went to early learning, family support, and early nutrition interventions for children in this age group.

Yet, despite these challenges, a shared vision emerges—a vision of holistic ECD services that nurture every aspect of a child’s growth, of inclusivity that embraces every child regardless of circumstance, and of quality that upholds the highest standards of care. 

This vision demands action from political parties, hence our call on political parties to recognise the crucial role of ECD in shaping our nation’s future by implementing our ECD Manifesto between 2024 and 2029.  At the heart of our ECD Manifesto is the understanding that the future of South Africa depends on the choices we make today, and it begins with investing in our children’s early years. 

In a landscape where political party manifestos skim the surface of ECD issues, ECD partners, practitioners, parents, activists, academics and other ECD stakeholders have undertaken a crucial task–consolidating the voices of the ECD sector into one ECD Manifesto. We stand united in our message: under-resourced communities, families, and our ECD workforce cannot continue to nurture our youngest children without proper state funding and support.

The time for action is now

As we mark thirty years of democracy, the urgency to prioritise ECD cannot be overstated. We are calling on everyone who knows, has, cares for, or loves a young child to sign the People’s Manifesto for Early Childhood Development here. Every young child deserves a fair chance to succeed in life and holistic, well-funded, inclusive, and quality ECD services are the foundation for that life-long success and well-being. An investment in our young children is an investment in the just, equal, and caring society we strive to become. 

About Real Reform for ECD: 

Real Reform for ECD is a movement advocating for holistic, well-funded, inclusive, and quality early childhood development services for all children. Our focus is to ensure an enabling legal, policy, and regulatory environment for providing and expanding ECD services.

For more information, please visit: https://www.ecdreform.org.za