Description: The Integrated Serviced Land Project (ISLP) - An Early Childhood Development (ECD) Project was started in March 2001 as a group of six Enrichment Centres (all NGOs) under the leadership of the Centre for Early Childhood Development (which is an NPO: reg no: 006-173-NPO). The aim of the ISLP was to provide much needed ECD to the communities of Brown's Farm, Crossroads, Delft, Philippi, and Weltevreden Valley. The ISLD was aimed at these disadvantaged communities, where there was a shortage of ECD because of the lack of infrastructure and a lack of parents able to afford ECD. The ISLP only charges between R50 and R100 per month. The ISLP involved the community in almost every sphere of the project: by training community members to become teachers; training parents in school governance, leadership, and financial management in order for them to function successfully on the school governing board; and providing a range of services through the Family Outreach Programme (in order to help particularly in obtaining Child Support Grants). The Governing Bodies of each of the six Enrichment Centres are responsible for the overall management of those centres. Partnerships exist with the Western Cape Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation (95% funding), the City of Cape Town (5% funding) and Caleb consulting.
Innovation: The provision of ECD has become an ever more important cornerstone of education and this project addresses that need effectively. The innovative involvement of the community in this project has made it unique in serving many community needs, in providing not only the ECD but also invaluable training to the community members and family services through the Family Outreach programme.
Effectiveness: 480 children have access to the ECD programme; 76 jobs have been created in through the project in 5 disadvantaged communities being served; 85 women are being trained in level 1 in ECD; 39 women are being trained in level 2 in ECD; 158 community members have received training in school governance, leadership and financial management; and 3,600 families received a range of services through the Family Outreach Programme, 1324 of which were helped in obtaining child support grants.
These figures speak for themselves and there is no doubt that this project has been effective in uplifting the community and achieving its goals.
Poverty Impact: The benefits to the learners in this project are not yet tangible, but many studies and reports have shown that ECD benefits include: improved acceptance into primary school education; improved health; improved social and emotional behaviour; and a reduction in social and economic disparities and gender inequalities that divide society. The training and employment provided to adults in the community has provided them with skills, which make them more employable and salaries that help them support their families.
Sustainability: The institutional sustainability of this project has been entrenched by involving the local community and providing them with the skills to continue with this service. Funding has, to date, been readily forthcoming from the Provincial Department of Social Services and Poverty Alleviation and the City of Cape Town, but at an expense of R14million. In order for this project to successfully continue, it will have to continue to lobby government and also look for private sector funding.
Replication: This project is a best practice model. It has incorporated ECD into a community development initiative and this model has great potential to be replicated elsewhere in South Africa. Substantial funding and community support must be in place for this to replicated.