RE. SUBMISSION ON THE CHILDREN’S BILL [B70 OF 2003]
Please find attached a submission from the Valley Development Project. Our submission focuses on the following practical aspects of the Bill:
The Valley Development Project is a non governmental organization which is located in Ocean View and Masiphumelele in the Southern Cape Peninsula. VDP works in partnership with a number of organizations and manages a number of programmes which includes:
VDP contributes to research and data collection via the relationship with organizations such as the Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU), Child Welfare Society and so on and brings forward the challenges and issues that are facing children as a result of poverty and HIV AIDS.
We would like to request an opportunity to present our submission to the Portfolio Committee at the public hearings on the 11th –13 th August. If allocated a slot, the presenter would be the VDP’s Manager of Early Childhood Development Services.
EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT FAMILY AND COMMUNITY MOTIVATOR PROGRAMME BASED IN MASIPHUMELELE.
Masiphumele is an informal urban settlement located near to Ocean View in the Southern Cape Peninsula. The community of about 20,000 people is characterised by a large number of informal and RDP housing units. This is a young community and there are large numbers of preschool aged children. There are ten preschool centres which serve the needs of the children of working parents but the critical issue is to reach the majority of children in the age group 0 – 9 years who do not attend the preschool centres or primary schools in the area and to provide early childhood information, nutrition and support directly to the primary caregivers. The children outside of the preschool centres are those living in poverty situations where the parents or caregivers are conducting subsistence activities eg wood cutting, are unemployed or are sick and disabled.
The VDP Family and Community Motivator programme is about forming partnerships and networking in order to meet the needs of all the children in the area and particularly the most vulnerable children and their families.
The partnership at Masiphumelele consists of the local community consultative structure and processes (Masiphumele Development Forum), training and support from the Early Learning Resource Unit(ELRU), a nutrition programme funded by a local businessman (JCI Ltd), and a food for work programme run by the Ocean View Development Trust. These partners working together are enhancing the quality of life for all children in this community.
We wish to support the submission on Early Childhood development which has been developed by the SA Congress, the Early Learning Resource Unit (ELRU) and the Children’s Insitute. Our presentation to Parliament will highlight the need for a range of programmes in early childhood development and will focus on the need for family outreach services in order to support the developmental needs of children.
VDP Family and Community Motivator Programme consists of 14 Family and Community Motivators who are together reaching out to 180 primary caregivers and their children in the age category 0 – 9 years. The FCM’s are resident in the communities in which they work and they are selected by the community process. They are trained to conduct a simple baseline study in order to identify the needs in each household and then they visit the homes on a regular basis. The FCM’s provide information about how to access the child support grants and pensions and they provide information about how children grow and develop using learning opportunities inside and outside the home environment. FCM’s are trained in facilitation and counselling skills and respect for local child raising beliefs and practices. HIV and AIDS is also a key focus. The FCM’s also run regular workshops which provide opportunities for the caregivers to meet one another and set up support groups around sustainability.
There is a great need in other informal urban settlements in the greater South Peninsular area and VDP would like to extend this programme in line with the intention in the Children’s Bill to provide support, protection and development for young children whatever the need. To achieve this support from the Department of Social Services is urgently required in the form of :