Martyn Foot, JAM SA Operations Manager, airs his concerns about the children not attending Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in South Africa.
Of growing concern is the large number of children 0-5 years of age who are not attending Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in our informal settlements. These vulnerable children are largely from the poorest families who cannot afford the fees.
They are highly likely to be experiencing hunger on a daily basis and malnutrition related symptoms, such as stunting. Equally, they are not receiving the benefits of quality ECD, including physical, cognitive and social skills. They are also unlikely to be accessing social and health services from government as is their constitutional right. Many might be subject to child abuse as witnessed by the many recent high profile cases in the media.
JAM SA’s focus of working directly with ECD centres individually or through partner non-profit organisations (NPOs) needs to shift to work more with these vulnerable children. Our approach, which is affirmed by the South African Child Gauge 2013, is to engage with community stakeholders, partners, and donors so as to establish and implement a coalition of effort; one that will not only address the needs of vulnerable children, but also their caregivers.
Martyn Foot, JAM SA Operations Manager