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To: Political parties

A People's Manifesto For Early Childhood Development

[Campaign Update] On 20 April, over 600 advocates for young children took to the streets of Johannesburg to call on all political parties to recognise the significance of early childhood development (ECD) in shaping our nation's future. As we gathered in the morning at Beyers Naude Square in Marshalltown, we were united in our message: a party for the children is a party for the future! We held our placards high, which read: "Implement the Manifesto 2024 - 2029" and "R17 subsidy is an insult", among others, as we marched to Constitution Hill in Braamfontein. Action SA and Rise Mzansi members marched with us as we called for the incoming government following elections to implement The People's Manifesto for Early Childhood Development (#ECDManifesto). 

It is 30 years after democracy, and the government has yet to properly support and invest in our youngest children and the vital work of those who care for them. The period from 2024 to 2029 is our time to change this. 

We call on political parties to implement this manifesto for ECD from 2024 to 2029. A party for the children is a party for the future!

The full manifesto is available here: https://www.ecdreform.org.za/uploads/ecd-manifesto-digital.pdf

Why is this important?

To unlock young children's' full potential, they need nurturing care across five key areas, as early as the first 1 000 days of their lives: nutrition; early learning; health; caregiving; and safety and protection. These forms of care lay an essential foundation for lifelong learning, well-being, and success.

All young children have a right to access these quality services, whether at home with their families, at early learning programmes, at health clinics, or in other settings. Caring for young children is one of the most powerful investments the South African government can make. But, for too long, the government has neglected young children, and the parents, caregivers, and ECD practitioners who nurture them. 

The amount the government spends on young children is not enough: children aged zero to five make up 10% of the population yet, 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. Families who take care of children at home do not get proper support. The health sector has not fulfilled its mandate to enable parents and caregivers to provide nurturing care. Many children without birth certificates cannot access the Child Support Grant, and when children have access to the Child Support Grant, it is not enough to cover nutritious food, let alone other essentials such as clothing. 
 
Currently, only a third of children aged three to five have access to an early learning programme (such as a creche, nursery school, or playgroup). Even where children do access early learning programmes, practitioners often struggle to provide nutritious food, adequate infrastructure, and age-appropriate stimulation for learning, with the subsidy from the government frozen at just R17 per eligible child per day since 2019.

This needs to change if we are committed to the just, equal, and caring society we strive to become.

How it will be delivered

Hundreds of ECD practitioners, parents, caregivers and advocates for children will march to political party offices in Johannesburg to deliver the People's Manifesto for ECD in April 2024.

South Africa

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2024-06-04 11:39:57 +0200

On 20 April, over 600 advocates for young children took to the streets of Johannesburg to call on all political parties to recognise the significance of early childhood development (ECD) in shaping our nation's future. As we gathered in the morning at Beyers Naude Square in Marshalltown, we were united in our message: a party for the children is a party for the future! We held our placards high, which read: "Implement the Manifesto 2024 - 2029" and "R17 subsidy is an insult", among others, as we marched to Constitution Hill in Braamfontein. Action SA and Rise Mzansi members marched with us as we called for the incoming government following elections to implement The People's Manifesto for Early Childhood Development (#ECDManifesto). The #ECDManifesto was drafted by the ECD sector and currently has over 5800 individual signatures and 170 organisational endorsements.

2024-03-13 08:41:44 +0200

1,000 signatures reached

2024-03-12 11:40:36 +0200

500 signatures reached

2024-03-11 21:29:09 +0200

100 signatures reached

2024-03-11 19:56:55 +0200

50 signatures reached

2024-03-11 19:17:05 +0200

25 signatures reached

2024-03-11 18:40:08 +0200

10 signatures reached