What we do

Ilifa Labantwana is a South African early childhood development programme founded in 2009.  

Our goal over the next 5 years is to enable an additional 1 million children, aged zero to five, to access quality ECD through the Early Learning Subsidy.

Children should be able to access the subsidy if they are attending an ECD centre, or if they are accessing ECD through a non-centre based programme.

In order to increase access to the subsidy, two conditions must be met:

  1. There is sufficient budget allocation towards ECD at a national and provincial level

  2. There are delivery mechanisms to allow the scale up of ECD services

We are working towards meeting these conditions through:

  • Identifying gaps and barriers within existing ECD systems, and partnering with government and civil society to find innovative ways to clear the barriers and fill the gaps
  • Working with government and civil society to demonstrate ECD service delivery through a suite of age-differentiated programmes

Download our organisational profile or read more about why ECD matters for development.

Our track record


Our contribution to ECD in South Africa began with support of the Sobambisana Initiative – a four-year programme implemented by five non-profit organisations to test various models of community-based ECD.

Sobambisana’s evaluation informed the National Integrated Plan for ECD, the Essential Package of ECD services, and later the National ECD Policy for South Africa.

For more on our history, read through our publications:

The Ilifa Labantwana Story 2009 – 2013

Ilifa Labantwana 2012/2013 Strategy

Into the Future Ilifa Labantwana Phase II 2013 – 2016

Ilifa Annual Report 2014/2015