Ilifa Labantwana Sobambisana Initiative

The Sobambisana Initiative supported the development and testing of innovative early childhood development (ECD) projects in under-served rural communities. Ilifa Labantwana uses findings from this initiative to build an evidence base for effective, scalable ECD projects and improve access and quality of ECD across South Africa.
2009South Africa

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

Location Data

Northwest province, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, Western CapePeri-Urban, Rural

Ilifa Labantwana is a national early childhood development (ECD) program that aims to contribute to the evidence base supporting integrated quality ECD services in South Africa, and explore ways to bring the most effective models to scale in under-serviced rural communities.

Under the Sobambisana Initiative, Ilifa partnered with four Research and Training Organizations (RTOs) to support and analyze successful, scalable ECD models that can be applied at the provincial and national levels. The RTOs explored effective methods of child stimulation, parenting skills, preparing children for the transition to formal education, and strengthening relationships between community, government, and educational agencies in under-served areas to support ECD efforts. Each RTO partnership focused on a specific underserved area and employed a different approach, with the ultimate goal of testing ideas and informing a broader strategy for scale-up.

Since the Sobambisana Initiative ended in 2011, Ilifa Labantwana has remained connected with the founding RTOs and is working to apply the initiative’s findings to different levels of government. It is currently collaborating with the North West Provincial Government to extend ECD services to 60 to 70 percent of children in the region. Similar projects are planned with the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape provincial governments. Ilifa will also use findings from the Sobambisana initiative to inform its continuing support for research and testing of interventions in order to build an evidence base for expanding ECD in South Africa.

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