Enhancing Africa’s Early Childhood Education to break intergenerational cycles of inequality

Enhancing Africa’s Early Childhood Education to break intergenerational cycles of inequality

The population of African children is projected to reach 1 billion by 2055, making Africa the continent with the largest number of children. This denotes how critical it is to invest in Early-Childhood Education (ECE) to achieve Africa’s development agenda. This emphasis is reflected in the Continental Education Strategy for Africa (CESA 16-25), which identifies ECE as “the next frontier for Africa to realize sustained quality education”.

However, and despite growing evidence of its importance, ECE remains severely underdeveloped. Some of the sectoral challenges listed by the CESA include inadequate planning, limited resource allocation, poorly trained teachers, and insufficient materials. These issues result in educational disparities, poor management, and a lack of a coherent curriculum across Africa. This situation disproportionately affects children living in rural or underserved communities, where there are few or no preschools to provide quality education during their early stages of life.

As we commemorate the International Day of the African Child weat Humana People to People (HUMANA), recognize the indispensable impact of ECE in breaking intergenerational cycles of inequality. Engaging children in educational activities from a young age equips them with critical thinking skills, literacy, and numeracy, which lay the foundation for academic success. Furthermore, by nurturing emotional and social skills, ECE empowers children to develop resilience and navigate social environments effectively.

We urge Africa’s Heads of States to prioritize invest in Early Childhood Education, to prevent millions of children from starting school at a disadvantage every year. Transforming teaching and learning is paramount in this endeavor, necessitating a shift in classroom practices to foster creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills among preschoolers. The time has come to elevate Early Childhood Education to the forefront of Africa’s education agenda, laying the groundwork and continually enhancing it as the cornerstone for meeting the demands of 21st-century skills.

Our Approach

We recognize the critical role of ECE as the foundation for sustainable development and its power to ending inequalities. We recognize the pivotal role of early childhood education (ECE) in laying the foundations for sustainable development and its potential to break intergenerational cycles of inequalities.

For more than 30 years, HUMANA, in collaboration with our dedicated members, has placed a strong emphasis on Early Childhood Education together with its members. Through three main people-centred and community-led flagship initiatives – Preschool of the Future (POF) Movement, Preschool of the Future Teacher Training (POFTT) and Child Aid – we have consistently prioritized and invested in the holistic development of young learners and community education programmes.

For more than 30 years, HUMANA, in collaboration with our dedicated members, have placed a strong emphasis on Early Childhood Education together with its members Through three main people-centred and community-led flagship initiatives – Preschool of the Future (POF) Movement, Preschool of the Future Teacher Training (POFTT) and Child Aid – we have consistently prioritized and invested in the holistic development of young learners and community education programmes.

Preschools of the Future (POF)

Humana People to People developed the Preschools of the Future (POF) model to provide quality pre-school education to children from disadvantaged backgrounds and support children’s transition from ECE to primary school in a sustainable way.

Humana People to People in South Africa has implemented the POF model to mobilise vulnerable communities to embark on a journey to provide holistic child-centred education for their children in 3 municipalities -eThekwini, Ndwedwe and Maphumulo- in KwaZulu Natal province. Each village forms a Parents’ Committee, collaboratively overseeing preschool operations alongside teachers and a dedicated project leader. Through targeted training in adult literacy, childcare, nutrition, hygiene, and early childhood development, parents become active participants in their children’s education journey. This grassroots approach fosters a ripple effect throughout neighboring communities, representing a significant stride towards achieving universal access to education for all children.

In 2023, more than 1,600 students were enrolled in 43 preschools and as result the students are more active, eager and able to learn. Additionally, these preschools have effectively reduced the drop-out rates in primary schools, showcasing their positive impact on educational continuity and retention.

Preschool of the Future Teacher Training (POFTT)

We recognize the role early-childhood teachers play in helping children to thrive and learn. The one-year Preschools of the Future Teacher Training (POF-TT) programme aims to improve the quality of ECE in vulnerable communities by providing training that enables support of unemployed young people with a preschool teacher qualification.

In Namibia and South Africa rural preschool teachers are recruited locally and trained by our members, DAPP Namibia and HPP South Africa, through POF Teacher Training schools. In the past five years, 482 POF teachers have graduated from these schools.

Child Aid

Preschools are an integral part of the community development that Humana People to People strives for through its members projects. For this reason, the Child Aid programme supports children, parents and the entire community in collaborating to enhance living conditions for children and address the challenges in the whole preschool development process.

DAPP Zimbabwe’s Child Aid Bindura/Shamva project works with 2,000 families organized in 80 Village Action Groups (VAGs). These come together to identify challenges and mobilise themselves to find solutions to ensure that no child is left behind. Additionally, parents form the School Development Committee oversee the preschool and provide valuable support and resources to ensure its sustainability. The project also aids children without parents to enrol in preschools and support them in remaining enrolled.

At HUMANA, we believe that education is every child in Africa, regardless of their location, race, parental status, disability, gender, or any other status. By improving access to quality Early Childhood Education, we are not only addressing current educational disparities but also laying the foundation for a prosperous and equitable future for the continent. We will continue to invest in education and community development programmes to instil communities with hope, promote cohesion and create equal ECE opportunities for all.

The Launch of Farmers’ Clubs Chivi Film: Building Community Resilience Against Climate Change Impact

The Launch of Farmers’ Clubs Chivi Film: Building Community Resilience Against Climate Change Impact

As we mark the World Environment Day, we are excited and proud to announce the release of our film: Building Community Resilience Against Climate Change Impact. The film is based on one of our members, DAPP Zimbabwe’s Farmers’ Clubs Chivi project showing our commitment to tackle challenges and threats resulting from climate change in communities Farmers’ Clubs Chivi project works together with that are hardest hit in the semi-arid region of Zimbabwe.

Fight off climate change to conserve nature is at the top of our agenda as Humana People to People together with our 29 members. Our Farmers’ Clubs programmes in three continents (Africa, Asia and Latin America) reaches out to more than 354,000 farmers annually, targeting communities where the impact of climate change is felt the most, threatening to reverse adaptative progress and to weaken community resilience. We bring people together to identify challenges induced by climate change and support the people to build adaptive capacity using locally led climate actions, a key part of our Humana People to People response.

Since 1996, our member DAPP Zimbabwe has carried out the Farmers’ Clubs programme and has trained more than 60 000 farmers a numerous force to be reckoned with. Zimbabwe like any other places in the world has not been spared from the impact of climate change which has seen more farmers losing yields and livestock as result of depending on rainfed agriculture.

In 2021, DAPP Zimbabwe started Farmers’ Clubs Chivi project in Masvingo Province to accelerate the development of climate resilient livelihoods and ecosystems for 1500 small holder farmers through adopting climate smart conservation agriculture, biodiversity conservation and sustainable environmental management. The project is supports smallholder farmers to create income, food and nutrition security while reducing environmental and ecosystems degradation including biodiversity loss.

The Building Community Resilience Against Climate Change Impact film reflects on the realities smallholders farmers are facing and the climate actions they carryout out to better adapt to climate change impact. Community cohesion shown in the film demonstrates the power of our people-to-people way of bringing people together to forge transformative paths towards building strengthened community climate change resilience.

We invite you to watch the Farmers’ Club Chivi Film on this link: https://bit.ly/3X5imny

ADDRESSING PERIOD POVERTY CHALLENGES

ADDRESSING PERIOD POVERTY CHALLENGES

As the world commemorates Menstrual Hygiene Day DAPP believes that promoting menstrual health and hygiene safeguards women’s dignity, privacy, bodily integrity and self-efficacy.  However, in Zimbabwe more than 3 million women and girls menstruate and the majority of them do not have proper and sufficient menstrual protection. According to the study by SNV Zimbabwe, 72% of menstruating schoolgirls do not use sanitary products simply because they cannot afford them. The study also showed that 62% of schoolgirls in Zimbabwe miss school every month due to lack of sanitary pads and 70% of these girls are not even aware of any sanitary pads brand on the market.

Period poverty is real and currently in Zimbabwe the biggest obstacle to using sanitary pads is affordability as one pack of pads costing for USD 1.00 or more, meaning that someone who has a heavy flow will need more than $3 which is difficult for some girls given the current economic conditions. Living in marginalized communities further complicates things as parents are fighting to put food on the table let alone find money for sanitary pads. Many women resort to using worn-out garments, newspapers and leaves, rags, cardboard, newspapers, tissues, socks, leaves, cow dung and other unsanitary means to try and manage their flows resulting in infections, leakages and discomfort.

An interview with adolescent girls highlighted that due to period poverty, the girls always fail to concentrate in class and sometimes miss school altogether because of the shame associated with soiling their clothes.   As DAPP, part of our work is to empower the community especially adolescents about menstrual hygiene and combating period poverty. We also initiate programs where we train adolescent girls and young women to make period-friendly sanitation reusable sanitary pads.

“In my community, girls and women have limited economic opportunities which exposes them to gender-based violence, early marriages, period poverty and HIV and AIDS. Faced with these realities, I decided to use my spare time to volunteer at Hope Bindura where I offer basic sewing training of reusable sanitary pads to local young girls” says Paidamoyo

“Through the support of HOPE Bindura, we trained 25 girls from Wayerera Secondary School and 6 girls at Ponesai Vanhu Children’s Home to make sanitary pads. I am enjoying the experience and improvement of period poverty by adolescent girls. I am looking forward to seeing all the trained girls and young women cascading and having their period with comfort.” says Paidamoyo.

Due to such training from Paida, most girls now feel relieved to have reusable sanitary pads for both personal use and income generation as well.

DAPP ZIMBABWE JOINS THE NATIONAL ANTI-VELD FIRE CAMPAIGN

DAPP ZIMBABWE JOINS THE NATIONAL ANTI-VELD FIRE CAMPAIGN

Recognizing how veld-fires take a toll on communities and the environment, destroying trees, animals, infrastructure and in some cases killing people, DAPP Zimbabwe has initiated intensive actions within its programs to fight this deadly scourge.

DAPP Zimbabwe participated in the National Fire Week campaign on May 15th at Masimbe Farm in Shamva, Mashonaland Central. The Minister of Environment, Climate, and Wildlife, Sithembiso Nyoni, the Minister of State and Devolution for Mashonaland Central, Captain (Rtd) Christopher Magomo, and officials from the Environment Management Agency (EMA) all graced the event and our tent.

During their tour of our exhibition tent, these top government officials had the opportunity to speak with DAPP Frontline Institute teacher Tawanda Nyandoro, who informed them about DAPP’s community-based veld fire reduction initiatives, which include the campaign for installation of fire guards in communities, as well as education and awareness actions starting at the family level.

The fire season campaign runs from the end of July to the end of October, and this year’s campaign launch was themed “Prevent veld fires- protect the environment and livelihoods.”

Fears in communities are likely to be heightened amidst the El Nino induced drought the country is currently battling which necessitates veld fire management efforts.
DAPP Zimbabwe 2023 Annual Progress Report, detailed version

DAPP Zimbabwe 2023 Annual Progress Report, detailed version

We are pleased to present our 2023 Annual Progress Report, detailed versionhttps://dapp-zimbabwe.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/312/2024/05/Annual-Report-2023-web-version-compressed.pdf. This report highlights our combined efforts in improving people’s lives in Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, and Masvingo provinces within our thematic areas of education, agriculture, health, community development, and disaster response.

Throughout the year, we made significant strides, particularly on pressing concerns such as global warming, climate change, and cholera epidemics. Our people-centered approach has not only produced excellent results, but it has also generated long-term collaboration with local partners, government officials, and other key stakeholders.

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