What does Grassroots do :

Focus
Grassroots took a decision to concentrate on the 0- 5 year old age cohort. This decision was taken in light of :

  • the status of children
  • the focus of government Early Childhood Development policy and delivery on 6 year olds
  • the focus of many sister NGOs on 6 year olds as a result of government tender processes which concentrate on this cohort
  • the difficulty of delivery of government services to 0-5 year olds..
  • the fact that only 16 % of 0-6s are in some form of Early Childhood Development provision.

    Approach
    Grassroots decided to consolidate its holistic approach. To create safe and secure environments for our children we need to:
  • involve all stakeholders/members of a community if such an environment is to be possible. Community may mean a particular community based pre-school, a geographically-based community defined by municipal boundaries, a group of farms, a church community, and so on.
  • work more closely with parents as parents are the primary caregivers of their children and their safety and security directly impacts on that of their children
  • ensure a partnership relationship to enable medium to long-term independence
  • ensure that each approach is flexible and contextually adapted to the particular circumstances of a particular community
  • form partnerships with Small Micro and Medium Enterprise (SMME) training and support organisations in order to introduce income generating projects alongside ECD sites.

    Action
    Pre 1994, non governmental organisations (NGOs), generally, were anti apartheid organisations, worked in relative secrecy and worked as major delivery organisations stepping into the place of non existent government services for the disenfranchised and disadvantaged. Given the new political dispensation in South Africa, NGOs have had to adapt and change their mode of operation. It has to be the responsibility of the government, and not of NGOs, to provide basic services to its poor and marginalised citizens. Many NGOs see their role in relationship to government as a supportive one, particularly with regard to the development and implementation of new policies.

    In the light of the above, Grassroots has decided to orient its work towards
  • Piloting innovative strategies, that can be replicated in other parts of the country, for the inclusion of the poorest of the poor into ECD provision.
  • Concentrate on piloting training strategies and curricula aimed at the improvement of the quality of provision in existing and future sites
  • Advocating for and assisting with the improvement of delivery of existing government services
  • Advocating for the extension of government services to 0-5 year olds in the light of their continued neglect.



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