The Bright Kid Foundation, on behalf of the Watch Hill Foundation, commits to deliver the infrastructure for two ECDCs to selected GDSD areas in the West Rand, with each of the two ECDCs serving the needs of about 4000 people.
An ECDC includes five converted containers (Edutainers). Each of the first three containers can provide pre-school for 25 children, while the fourth Edutainer serves as a headquarters for home-based education practitioners. One of the Edutainers functions as a Service Center that includes a kitchen, office and sick-bay. The ECDC also includes fencing, a jungle gym, a shade area, and a food garden. A water supply and ablution facilities are also supplied by the local government. Four Edutainers will be used to offer ABET to twenty adults during after school hours.
This infrastructure satisfies Community Health Department (CHD) requirements for registration. The GDSD will register each ECDC with the CHD to receive government subsidies that will allow them to become self-sustaining. This includes funding for certified ABET courses.
At the request of the GDSD, BKF established a pilot ECDC in 2008 in Jabulani. Citigroup and Trinity Hall College, Cambridge funded the initial infrastructure. The pilot is successful, sustainable, and provides quality ECD to up to 75 children per year. It has employed and trained teachers, established food gardens, and 70 adults are employed by the Community Works Program (CWP) to maintain it. A non-profit organization (NPO) of 11 Jabulani residents runs the ECDC. UNICEF has visited Jabulani and endorsed the ECDC concept.
All Edutainers have approved ventilation, insulation, electrical fittings, cupboards, shelving and fire extinguishers. They are all fitted with appropriate furniture, books and toys. The BKF team will use the experience gained in successfully delivering over 200 individual Edutainers in the construction and delivery of the two ECDCs identified in this commitment.
The ECDC plan includes two independent ECDCs to be constructed and delivered to GDSD selected sites in the West Rand. Each ECDC will consist of three pre-school Edutainers each taking 25 children a fourth Edutainer that will be used for accredited home-based education teachers, and the fifth Edutainer will be the Service Center, containing an office, kitchen and sick-bay. The Service Center cannot be used for teaching or ABET. The two centers will each reach approximately 445 children and eight Edutainers will be used for ABET after hours. BKF plans to raise funds and to deliver both ECDCs within 24 months.
On receipt of the $200,000 required for the first ECDC, BKF will manufacture and deliver the required infrastructure by month 12. The GDSD, with BKF, will select an appropriate site that is publicly owned without liens by month three. BKF will then negotiate and sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the GDSD which confirms that BKF will deliver the ECDC infrastructure required for registration, and the GDSD will liaise with community leaders to prepare for the ECDC, level the land if necessary, and provide water, electricity connections, and ablution facilities.
Following these steps, the GDSD will help the community form an NPO to run the ECDC, and subsequently help it to register, receive a subsidy, and monitor its progress. The GDSD will organize ABET after the ECDC is complete. The MOU will be complete by month four. In month 12, once each ECDC is delivered, BKF will establish information gathering systems with each ECDC to collect all the information required for the measurement of performance in relation to the achievement targets set. This task is vital, as the NPO members will need to be trained to collect and remit the required information.
A substantial number of South African people live in shack settlements that lack adequate schools or community facilities. Many shack settlements in the West Rand area have been established for over ten years without formal government recognition. Formal brick structures, like pre-schools and community halls, cannot be built since these settlements are classified as temporary. At some point, the government plans to move the inhabitants of these settlements to permanent structures. However, this process could take decades. Meanwhile, settlement children receive no pre-schooling and levels of education among adults remains low. The children, in particular, are most vulnerable to neglect, hunger, and abuse, and forego the significant developmental benefits of pre-school.
According to the 2011 Census, approximately 130,000 people live in shack settlements in the West Rand. While the needs of 30,000 people ages 6 to 19 are addressed by external primary and high schools, there are 100,000 people with immediate needs. This includes 13,000 children 0-5 years of age, who lack access to childcare and pre-school facilities and 87,000 adults over 20, who survive on modest government grants and would benefit greatly from skills-training and heightened access to jobs.
While brick buildings in shack settlements are not permitted, containers converted to Early Childhood Development Centers (ECDCs) can be placed adjacent to the settlements as they can be moved if shack dwellers establish permanent houses.
The ECDC concept, combined with effective Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET), provides an innovative, cost effective, sustainable solution to many problems of shack settlements. A pilot Bright Kid Foundation (BKF) ECDC concept was designed, with the Gauteng Department of Social Development (GDSD) to provide settlements in the West Rand with quality Early Childhood Development (ECD), providing adults with ABET training to improve their life skills and job opportunities.
We have received the first $100,000 for half of the first ECDC proposed. We would like to raise the additional $300,000 required. $100,000 will go to complete the first ECDC, and $200,000 for the second planned ECDC.
We have made effective use of the first $100,000 by delivering a viable ECDC to Philani Development Centre.
However, we cannot achieve the planned beneficiary targets for the first ECDC, as we have only been able to deliver two of the five Edutainers planned. (We have also delivered all the planned required infrastructure for the ECDC to open and run, including ablution facilities, the shade area, the jungle gym, and fencing.)