PRESS RELEASE: DO MORE FOUNDATION and RCL FOODS Empower Molteno Community Through Transformative Initiatives for Children and Parents in Eastern Cape
05 Dec 2023
Earlier this year, the DO MORE FOUNDATION, founded by RCL FOODS, joined forces with their local implementing partner, Khululeka, to launch the ground-breaking ‘Everyone Gets to PLAY’ (EGTP) collective impact model in Molteno. This initiative aims to boldly address the pressing issues of malnutrition, stunted growth, and poor development outcomes affecting our most precious demographic – children aged 0 to 5.
An initial kick-off meeting of #DoMore4Molteno was held in March 2023 with 40 stakeholders. The meeting called upon all collaborators to unite in mobilising resources, funding, skills, and expertise, pouring them into a dynamic 'basket of services' to promote the holistic development of young children. This responsive basket reflects insights gained from a recent situational analysis conducted in Molteno. As expressed by Jabu Mthembu-Dlamini, DO MORE FOUNDATION’s Community Development Lead, this analysis has provided invaluable information about the developmental needs of children in the community, helping DoMore and Khulukeka to prioritise and tailor their efforts effectively. This initiative is more than just a programme – it's a call to action for a brighter, more empowered future in Molteno.
By the end of November, DoMore and its partners have reached over 841 young children through the ongoing provision of DoMore porridge to young children whilst they attend their local Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres. Chairperson of the Inkwanca ECD forum, Sindiswa Mcunukelwa, says DoMore has made a big difference in the lives of the Molteno this year. Beyond the provision of nutrition to young children, DoMore, RCL FOODS and Khululeka have implemented a range of impactful initiatives focusing on parent/caregiver support and capacity building of the local ECD workforce.
Family Home-Visiting Programme
The Family Home-Visiting Programme recruits home visitors to conduct visits to households where children are not enrolled in ECD centres. The primary objective is to enhance child development by refining parenting skills at the household level. They explain the necessity of parents to enrol their children in early learning programmes, such as those provided in ECD centres. According to Sipho Mtakati, Community Development Facilitator at Khululeka, “Getting buy-in from parents/caregivers in the community is integral to the success of EGTP in Molteno. In order for us to reach the child, we have to get through to the parent/caregiver. They need to own the programme and take an active role in its implementation.”
Mtakati adds, “One parent said that since the beginning of the FHVP her child has become more vocal, singing songs, counting, and playing with the toys received from the programme. This is exactly what we want to see happening - children starting to play more and parents/carers supporting them. It is through play that children learn, grow, and develop.”
EAT LOVE PLAY TALK (ELPT)
ELPT is a seven month community-based parent education programme developed by DoMore, which packages public health messaging in an interactive, dialogue-focused way to empower ECD practitioners’ and parents/caregivers with practical knowledge about food- and nutrition literacy, health and hygiene practices, responsive caregiving, and early learning through play.
So far, 16 ECD practitioners have been trained on this programme resulting in over 200 parents/caregivers benefiting from the learnings and teaching delivered during the sessions.
According to Mcunukelwa, “this programme has helped quite a lot because it has opened the minds of the parents to carefully consider what they put on the plate for the children. Our centres have also been renovated to make sure that they all look presentable as children centres with bright looking colours, we have also been receiving replenishment of toys in our centres.”
ECD Young Child Forum
Capacity building and leadership development for local ECD centres has being rolled out through the Young Child Forum. This forum provides a platform for personal and professional development of community members in the ECD sector. Sindiswa Mcunukelwa says, “One of the biggest things we are celebrating now is the launch of the Molteno ECD Forum. DoMore has been very helpful in ensuring that this structure is formed as it will be a unifying body of the ECD sector in Molteno. DoMore has also committed into the development and growth of this forum and will be sending us professionals to speak about critical topics on ECD but more so professionalize our forum and improve the ECD sector in our community”.
Eastern Cape is South Africa’s poorest province, lacking much of the basic infrastructure, resources and institutional support required for its people to thrive. By supporting the people of Molteno – with the intention to expand its footprint – through this responsive basket of services, DoMore and RCL FOODS are actively promoting the well-being, development, and health of the broader community.