The trade-off between lives and livelihoods became very apparent in the progression of the lockdown. ECD activists and practitioners became increasingly concerned that children were not sufficiently stimulated at home, which would negatively impact on their development and performance in many respects. The C-19 People’s Coalition initiated a campaign to lobby for the opening of ECD centres which was supported by the Do More Foundation and many other ECD stakeholders. The campaign resulted in a two day national protest that was well supported by ECD practitioners in Worcester and Zwelethemba. The protest made headlines and sparked very lively online debates.
Eventually centres were allowed to re-open on provision of following strict COVID-19 protocols encapsulated in Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) developed through a collaborative process led by DSD and supported by prominent ECD support organizations including the National ECD Alliance (NECDA), the South African Congress for ECD Development (SACECD), Grassroots Educare Trust, Foundation for Community Work and the Do More Foundation.
Considering the resource backlogs of ECD centres at the time, the DMF lobbied for PPE, thermometers and sanitizers which were donated to 84 centres in Worcester, Zwelethemba, De Doorns and Touwsriver. DMF further supported Centre practitioners with SOP training done by a local practitioner and relevant COVID-19 posters that aided protocol awareness.