Capricorn hosts ECD networking session

• By Staff Reporter

LAST week, the Capricorn Foundation hosted an Early Childhood Development (ECD) networking session, bringing together key players in the field of ECD from both the public and private sector, to share the need and scope of ECD efforts across Namibia.

The event, titled ‘The Namibian Child’ took place in the form of an insightful breakfast, aimed at sparking conversations around the importance and benefits of ECD and investments into ECD, the plight of the Namibian child, the national landscape of ECD and the role the private sector can play as corporate citizens.

The event was attended by government representatives, development partners, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and corporates, all eager to help network, share ideas and improve ECD in Namibia.

“A safe, healthy and conducive learning environment is critical for children to maximise their early learning and to build a strong foundation for their development. That is why the Capricorn Foundation saw and continues to see the need to invest in quality early childhood development, for the future well-being of the Namibian child,” Marlize Horn, acting head of the Capricorn Foundation said.

Speaking at the event, Daisry Mathias, presidential advisor on Youth Matters and Enterprise Development, highlighted the Social Progression Pillar of the Harambe Prosperity Plan II, sharing on the national landscape of ECD, and opportunities for private sector support.

In the same light, deputy director for ECD, in the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Loide Velishavo said that there are efforts in place to improve ECD programmes and services through the Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) Framework for Action, the assessment and registration ECD centres’ tool, the Child Care and Protection Act, 2015 (Act No. 3 of 2015), and the current review of the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy.

“We have many success stories of our efforts. But at the same time, there is much that must be done regarding access and quality of ECD. With over 2 900 registered (not inclusive of non-registered centres) in Namibia, with approximately 20 percent  of children between the ages of 0 to six years having access to these centres, there needs to be much collaboration with community-run ECDs, NGOs, development partners, and corporates in the CSI space,” said Velishavo.

The Ministry of Gender is therefore encouraging the private sector to collaborate with them to increase impact or also counter check with the ministry when supporting initiatives around ECD to ensure that organisations are in line with the ministry’s framework and guidelines.

The networking session allowed for fruitful discussions on ideas, plans, concerns and collaborative efforts to ensure the Namibian child has a strong educational foundation.

The foundation believes that this is only the beginning of more efforts and results in relation to social development network.

In the last two years, Capricorn Foundation has not only supported numerous programmes in the areas of education, health, economic advancement, and sustainability, but also created opportunities to up skill NGOs, and further connect corporate with different organisations on the ground.

Capricorn Foundation has further supported various projects operating across Namibia with a focus on supporting ECD centres and developing material for teachers and children.