Overview > The ELMA Foundation > Early Childhood Development > Scaling ECD in South Africa

Special Initiative: 
Scaling Early Childhood Development in South Africa

Over the past 10 years, The ELMA Foundation has been investing in strengthening and growing the Early Childhood Development (ECD) eco-system in South Africa to enable it to provide universal access to ECD.

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To do this, ELMA’s strategy has been:

  • To support core ECD training and support institutions, like TREE-ECD, Khululeka, ASHA Trust, and the Early Learning Resources Unit, who form the scaffolding around ECD services and were the building blocks of ECD service provision in South Africa

  • To support the creation of two platforms for providing ECD services at scale

    • SmartStart, an early learning social franchise aiming to create a platform that can provide quality early learning to 1 million three and four-year-olds each year

    • The Grow Great Initiative, which is driving a national commitment to a stunting-free generation by 2030 by creating a platform to provide universal access to antenatal and postnatal classes that support and celebrate mothers in the critical first 1,000 days and creating network of 10,000 Community Health Workers that are ‘Champions for Children’ by 2030

  • To support the development of government systems required for ECD services to be delivered at scale through the creation of Ilifa Labatwana, a non-profit, ECD technical support organization focused on improving ECD financing, data, workforce, programs, and systems

  • To support innovative solutions and approaches to ECD challenges, which can be absorbed into and scaled through the ECD eco-system, by supporting the establishment of the Innovation Edge, an innovation catalyst and investment platform

  • To create impactful partnerships with peer funding institutions, such as the DG Murray Trust, the FirstRand Foundation, Yellowwoods Social Investments, the Standard Bank Tutuwa Community Foundation, Omdiyar Network, Assupol Community Trust, the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment, and the Lego Foundation.


Current Investments