Research and Data

Access to quality ECD begins with quality data 


One of our main goals over the next four years is to improve data on early childhood development in South Africa.

Accurate and easily available data on existing ECD services, children, and their caregivers will mean that the government and private sector can budget for ECD based on what services are missing, as well as the actual number of people who need them.

Once budget allocations have been made, data is crucial for tracking the impact of ECD programmes and justifying further investment. Without quality data, funding for ECD cannot scale.

The KiDS project, which launched in 2016, houses Ilifa’s data work. KiDS currently has two products.


ECD Working Paper Series

The Ilifa-Resep ECD Working Paper Series is a collaboration between Ilifa Labantwana and Research on Socio-Economic Policy (Resep) at the Stellenbosch University. The working paper series aims to promote research that addresses the major systemic issues facing the ECD sector in South Africa. Key themes of the series include: financing and funding, labour, nutrition, ECD governance, regulation, economics of ECD, the household environment, and developmental outcomes of children. The series will contain research papers that address any of the components of the ECD essential package – early learning, parent and caregiver support, nutrition, maternal and child health, and social protection.

South African Early Childhood Review

The South African Early Childhood Review presents information on essential components of the comprehensive package of ECD services.

The review includes data and commentary on over 40 carefully selected indicators on the status of children under six, and service delivery progress across five domains:

  • maternal and child health
  • nutritional support
  • support for primary caregivers
  • social services and grants
  • stimulation for early learning

The South African Early Childhood Review is a collaboration between Ilifa Labantwana, the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation in The Presidency, and the Innovation Edge.

Related resources:

South African Early Childhood Review 2017: status of children under 6 in SA, focus on Eastern Cape
The standout data points from the SA Early Childhood Review 2017, with main focus on overall statistics for Eastern Cape region.

The South African Early Childhood Review 2016

The SA Early Childhood Review 2016 in brief 
The standout data points from the SA Early Childhood Review 2016, accompanied by summarised commentary.