The COVID-19 pandemic paralysed South Africa’s ECD sector, forcing sites to close and threatening livelihoods and child wellbeing. Unregistered programmes serving the poorest children were most at risk. In a time when households’ food security would be severely constrained, Ilifa Labantwana saw the particular risk that increased acute malnutrition among young children posed, and the negative impacts for millions of children losing out on essential ECD services. Ilifa urgently mobilised resources and partnerships, raising R36m in funds and launching the ECD COVID-19 Response Project in September 2020. The Project’s objectives were to provide a humanitarian response to the crisis – ensuring unregistered ECD sites were in a position to reopen as soon as possible and providing nutrition support to vulnerable children – but also to test various hypotheses for longer term systems change in the ECD sector.
Click the links below to access project reports, learning briefs and policy briefs developed through this work.