The MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet community loyalty programme has launched a new partnership with the GROW with Educare Centres project to establish 21 high-quality early childhood development centres (ECD) in under-resourced communities of Cape Town and Gauteng over the next two years. With funding of almost R5 million, this is one of MySchool’s biggest commitments to a single project to date.
GROW with Educare’s unique model takes a multi-faceted approach to solving the ECD crisis in South Africa in a sustainable and scalable way. The organisation is establishing a successful chain of ECD centres in under-resourced communities; managed by capable independent principals with trained, qualified teachers. GROW with Educare is bringing private school level ECD, as well as sustainable job creation, into communities where quality Educare is currently not accessible or affordable. “Through the use of best practice principles such as social franchising, ongoing mentorship and both business and personal development, GROW with Educare is progressively helping the women who run Educare centres move from a place of dependence to dignity,” says Tracey Chambers, CEO of GROW with Educare.
The first five years of life is the most critical of all child development phases; with nutrition, care and opportunities for cognitive, physical, social and emotional learning laying the foundations for future adult behaviours and abilities. Deficits in ECD result in a lifetime of being disadvantaged. Worldwide, delivering quality ECD has been identified as a key strategy to break entrenched cycles of poverty and inequality. GROW uses a tool developed by the World Bank (the MELQO – Measuring Early Learning Quality Outcomes) to evaluate whether children in GROW schools are achieving internationally benchmarked milestones of development.
“MySchool welcomes the opportunity to partner with GROW and see 21 new high quality GROW Educare Centres get off the ground over 2019 and 2020,” says Pieter Twine, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet General Manager. “This is a project that brings together vital education and child care, as well as entrepreneurship, employment and sustainable community development. Each year, under-resourced pre-school centres in Gauteng and Cape Town will be transformed and brought into the thriving GROW brand community. There will be the upgrading of facilities to meet mandatory ECD standards; leadership, business and education training for the micro-franchisee; educational training for child caregivers; provision of outstanding educational resources through GROW Learning; a healthy, balanced nutrition programme, ongoing monitoring and evaluation, as well as active mentoring, and parent and community outreach. Each school will also start the process of registration with the Department of Social Development. It’s the kind of project that matters to MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet cardholders who can support GROW by simply nominating them as a beneficiary and then using their card every time they shop at our retail partners.
GROW was established in 2013 to counteract the extreme lack of access to quality ECD in marginalised South African communities where there are hosts of working parents and pitifully few safe, quality childcare options available. Many GROW with Educare Centres have stemmed out of grass-roots, home-based care for very young children where the infrastructure is sub-standard, child caregivers are untrained, over-crowded classrooms are the norm and educational resources are severely limited. With its ‘education-in-a-box’ and ‘business-in-a-box’ concepts, GROW delivers a deep, ongoing intervention which results in well-supported inspirational centres of excellence that have positive ripple effects and help turn the tide against poverty and inequality in their communities.
“GROW is delighted to join hands with MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet and become a cause that matters to the loyal cardholders,” says Chambers. “We are in an important phase of building an aspirational brand using the best principles of franchising to boost education in the country. This enables us to manage and maintain the standards in GROW Educare Centres while business owners are empowered to earn a decent salary and also offer others gainful employment. By the end of 2019, our impact will include almost 1900 learners across 77 classrooms in 52 schools in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, and 218 jobs will be created.”
To support GROW, add them as one of your MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet beneficiaries. If you don’t have a card, sign up for free at www.myschool.co.za or download the App and nominate GROW as one of three possible beneficiaries.