Early Learning Delivery Models


Ilifa implementing partner ELRU  is focusing on the delivery of the Family Community Motivator (FCM) programme in four North West districts. The programme is targeted at vulnerable households with pre-school aged children. Most recently the programme has been adapted to increase focus on the first 1000 days (i.e pregnant women and children aged below two), a previously neglected area. Evaluation of the FCM programme conducted over 2012/2013 found increased caregiver coping, better health and hygiene practices and an improvement in positive parenting. We are now working in collaboration with NW DSD and ELRU to support the sustainability and scale up of the programme through integration into government systems.


Ilifa has been supporting the evaluation of Philani’s Mentor Mothers maternal and child health home visiting model since Phase I. This builds off the initial arm of the study, a randomized control trial implemented from pregnancy until children reached 18 months. The Ilifa partnership has continued to support Stellenbosch University to keep tracking the children and learning continues to inform the development of Ilifa’s home visiting approach.


Sinovuyo Caring Families Project

Sinovuyo Caring Families Project is a locally developed, evidence-informed parenting programme that aims to reduce the risk of child maltreatment and improve child developmental outcomes for high-risk, low income families with children aged 2 to 9 years. Ilifa is supporting the evaluation of Sinovuyo through the University of Cape Town, and various local NGOs, including Clowns Without Borders South Africa. The Sinovuyo Caring Families Project was conducted as a randomised control trial of 296 households in the Khayelitsha and Nyanga communities in Cape Town. Read Ilifa’s Lessons from the Field on the Sinovuyo Caring Families Project project HERE.

Early Attachment Support Tool

Ilifa is also engaged in the development and testing of an Early Attachment Support Tool aimed at strengthening the role of home visitors in supporting relationships within the home during the first 1000 days of the child’s life. The Early Attachment Support Tool is being developed alongside Ilifa implementing partner Dlalanathi.

Ilifa partners with the Department of Co-operative Governance and Cotlands in implementing and evaluating the playgroup social franchise model which makes use of the Community Work Programme  in the North West province. The programme is aimed at children aged three to four and facilitated through the work of rural development non-governmental organisation Lima. Ilifa’s planned outcomes for the programmes are to develop an implementation manual which will include systems and tools for the integration of playgroups in the Community Work Programme. Community Workers are trained and supported to become early learning playgroup facilitators through mentor-trainers employed by Cotlands.
Ilifa has partnered with Ntataise  in the North West to support ECD centre enrichment and upgrade, including practitioner training and support, the provision of educational resources and improved infrastructure linked to conditional registration of ECD centres.

Ntataise along with architect firm Watermeyer is developing blueprints, guidelines and costing for infrastructure and resourcing options for ECD centres. Ilifa has drawn on this research to input into national Department of Social Development and lottery plans for infrastructure upgrades. Read Watermeyer’s full report HERE.

Ilifa is engaged in the integration of the Nali’Bali storytelling programme into ECD centres as a method of quality enhancement. As part of this initiative, Nalibali aims to have a storytelling approach registered as an ECD programme option for centres.

Ilifa is working with partners in KwaZulu-Natal – Tree and Create to demonstrate the establishment of inclusive ECD hubs to address barriers to access and learning for children with special needs. This work is being undertaken in collaboration with the KZN Department of Social Development to support systems integration.

Implementing Partners