Using CSI Funds To Support Organisations Which Are Doing Wonderful Work To Make Quality Pre-school Learning Available To Everyone

In this post, I will describe one way in which the private sector can really shift the dial by facilitating the delivery of pre-school learning at scale.

An evaluation of five high-functioning ECD programmes in 2018 showed that relatively poor children aged 4 to 5 who participated for a mere 8 months showed considerable learning gains, which were substantially greater than the gains that occur as children grow older. Those ready to enter Grade R increased from less than a third to more than a half.

And yet 66% of South Africa’s 42 420 early learning programmes do not receive the government’s ECD subsidy, 44% do not have age-appropriate books for their learners and 34% do not have access to an outdoor playground with suitable equipment. And more than a quarter of South Africa children under 5 are physically stunted as a result of inadequate nutrition, which is a strong predictor of underperformance at school and beyond.

These are all challenges which can be overcome with a coordinated effort by the private sector to provide targeted financial support to specific organisations which are providing effective solutions to these problems.  I will highlight a few of them; there are many others doing similar wonderful work.

Two initiatives to tackle inadequate nutrition and its effects are Grow Great and Flourish. – zero stunting campaign

Gaining access to the Government’s R17 per child per day ECD grant is a significant bureaucratic challenge and at least partly explains why only 34% of South Africa’s ECD programmes are currently accessing the grant. Ilifa Labantwana and Kago Ya Bana are two of the excellent organisations assisting ECD centres to gain access to the ECD grant.

GROW Educare and SmartStart are social franchises assisting ECD centres to 

All of these excellent initiatives are making a significant impact on the delivery of quality ECD and are capable of being taken to scale.

Trialogue reports that R10,9bn was spent on CSI (total corporate investment) by the private sector in 2022, with R1,3bn directed towards ECD. Imagine the impact if a significant chunk of this CSI funding was used in a coordinated way to support these and similar organisations.

In my next post, I will suggest how the renewable energy sector can make a huge contribution to the delivery of quality ECD to some of the poorest communities in South Africa.