Young children in under-privileged areas are often denied a great start in life. By partnering with local and national government, NGOs and communities through the Kago Ya Bana initiative, Hollard aims to provide these children with love and care, adequate nutrition, a stimulating environment, and access to services that will enable them to grow and thrive.
We believe there is a better way to create a brighter future for vulnerable children.
To Hollard, giving children a great start in life means giving them love and care, proper nutrition, a stimulating environment, and access to early childhood development (ECD) services that will enable them to grow and thrive.
In 2006, Hollard established the Hollard Foundation with an independent Board of Trustees and an initial draw-down endowment of R50 million, to find ways to improve the lives of South Africa’s vulnerable children.
Based on the challenges facing government in delivering services to vulnerable children at the time, the Hollard Foundation adopted a three-pronged strategy: 60% of funding and effort were directed at effecting system change at municipality level to enable government to deliver services to as many children as possible; 30% were earmarked to support existing non-profit organisations to increase the number of children in their programmes (whilst providing the Foundation with insight into service delivery challenges); and 10% on advocacy for policy and programme changes where needed.
Sustainability is key
For the children they supported, the funds and supplies made a meaningful difference, but it soon became apparent that this was not a sustainable way of improving actual ECD delivery, as the bulk of the funds was spent on operational expenses. The strategic focus needed to shift - to that of developing and driving systemic, sustainable and effective initiatives and processes that would endure long beyond any donations made or the people in charge moving on.
After an in-depth stakeholder strategic brainstorming session, which included Hollard shareholder and management representation and representation from Government departments (national provincial and local), the Hollard Foundation confirmed that working within Government’s policy and legislative framework to effect systemic change in Government’s actual ECD delivery structures, would ensure real, sustainable ECD solutions and positive outcomes for children in the most vulnerable communities, and that this was the way to go.
Green light for Kago Ya Bana
And so the Kago Ya Bana Programme was born. The Hollard Foundation was registered formally as ‘The Hollard Foundation Trust’ for governance purposes and the focus narrowed to children in the birth to nine-years-old age group – the ‘foundation years’.
60% of the funds were directed to an active partnership with municipalities to catalyse and implement the necessary processes for effectively enabling and managing ECD planning, provision, compliance, funding and quality assurance, and building participating municipalities’ capacity to deliver on their ECD obligations under the Children’s Act. The key obstacle had been a perception that ECD fell outside the scope of municipal responsibility and their involvement ended with the provision of ‘bricks and mortar’. In consultation with the Gauteng Provincial Departments of Health and Social Development, Midvaal Municipality was one of the two municipalities identified for the intervention.
The Hollard Trust and KYB have now stepped back into an advisory role in Midvaal, having achieved all of their objectives a year ahead of schedule and the municipality is now fully charged, capable and resourced with ECD delivery in its jurisdiction.
The Hollard Trust has hence played a key catalysing role in a number of important allied areas. Through KYB, it has assisted in setting up structures which:
- Build capacity at local government level to plan for, budget and manage the provision of ECD services
- Enable crèches and day mothers to register for sustainable subsidies
- Train ECD practitioners to deliver and monitor care, nutrition and learning
- Upgrade ECD practitioners’ qualifications to NQF Level 4 and beyond
- Educate and mobilise parents to drive service delivery
- Enable Grade R learners to be ready for formal schooling, which in turn enhances their cognitive development and their performance in their later school years.
Hollard has continued to fund the Hollard Trust, with the total investment to date exceeding R112 million.
Official wheels grind slowly but Hollard and the Hollard Trust are now seeing the fruits of their investment.
Scaling out the KYB model – with the tagline, ‘let’s make ECD happen’
New partnerships with the City of Johannesburg and Lesedi municipality are being rolled out. From the audit conducted, it was evident that only 20% of children in the most vulnerable wards had access to ECD services. On the positive side, it was established that many women in the community already opened their homes and their hearts to young children, but did not comply with municipal regulations that ensure that they operate legally and are skilled in stimulating children.
Hollard Trust therefore established an ECD incubator in 2015 – the KYB ECD Enterprise Incubator – which was added to the KYB model, to secure the sustainability of ECD enterprises through infrastructure investment and the fast-tracking of municipal compliance and hence access to subsidies and other income streams.
In the spirit of innovation and collaboration, KYB signed up as a regional SmartStart Franchisor. Smartstart enables KYB to provide access to affordable, quality early-learning stimulation to three- and four-year-olds in their pre-school readiness phase, through the spectrum of KYB’s ECD sites, including day mothers, ECD centres, crèches and playgroups. 900 KYB practitioners have already been trained to deliver SmartStart programmes.
Most exciting of all, the KYB model is attracting strong interest from provincial and national authorities – bringing Hollard one step closer to achieving its vision of enabling South African children to fulfill their potential in life and enjoy a better future.