The DO MORE FOUNDATION launches ‘Everyone Gets to PLAY’

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The DO MORE FOUNDATION (DMF), founded by RCL FOODS, is leading an innovative collective impact approach to tackling a range of South Africa’s (SA) toughest challenges in some of its poorest areas, placing the needs of young citizens firmly at its centre.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” There have been many variations of this African proverb, all extending an invitation to work in collaboration rather than in isolation to make the greatest impact. “When we see the whole of society as being stronger than its individual parts, one can tap into the mindset that more is possible when we work together,” states Dr Jessica Ronaasen, National Programmes Lead at DMF. Through the “Everyone Gets to PLAY (EGTP)” model, DMF has begun its journey to embrace this principle as it seeks to create better tomorrows for the young children of South Africa through collective impact.

The EGTP model was officially launched on 25th January 2023. Speaking at the launch were some of DMF’s key partners from the public, private and non-profit sectors, including RCL FOODS CEO – Paul Cruickshank, Care for Education CEO – Brent Hutcheson, and UNICEF SA Education Manager for Early Childhood Development (ECD) – André Viviers. Other key stakeholders present included representatives from Investec, CHEP and DGMT. “Improving the lives of our young children requires creative, courageous solutions. It takes collaboration and resources. EGTP is an innovative approach which brings all parties to the table; from government to business, to civil society and the non-profit sector and invites them to co-create a vision for young children while mobilising resources for maximum impact,” explains Dr Ronaasen.

EGTP uses the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy (NIECDP) as a guideline to formulate the basket of services stated in the policy as necessary for the well-being, growth, and health of young children. These collaborative services include programmes and partnerships supporting early learning through play, parent and caregiver support, maternal and child health, food security, child safety and protection, capacity building and leadership development for ECD centres, infrastructure, and services, as well as enterprise development.

The “Leave No Young Child Behind” (LNYCB) initiative, has been operational for six years in Nkomazi, Mpumalanga, and has served as a “proof of concept” model. In this community development initiative, partners from all sectors have rallied to mobilise resources, funding, skills, and expertise to pour into services tailored to meet the needs of children in the area. “In the time that the initiative has been operational, numerous partners have come on board to support it. This includes the establishment of a technical and steering committee with key government stakeholders. This is proof that when people come together as partners, more is achieved. There is no competition among them, rather it is a collective effort to improve the lives of young children in the Nkomazi community,” states Community Programmes Lead at DMF, Jabu Mthembu-Dlamini.

Due to the success of this collaborative approach in Nkomazi and the impact it has had on young children in wards 16 and 19, DMF, local stakeholders have scaled this model to reach six additional wards and 45 more ECD programmes in that area, bringing the total footprint to 19 villages and 70 ECD programmes. The initiative is also being scaled to seven new communities across the country.

As South African citizens, it is our duty to contribute towards co-creating a brighter future for our young children. It is for this reason that DMF invites businesses to the playground to partner with them and implement real change, bringing together purpose and profits. With the right investment in the right places, we can give ALL children in South Africa the chance to thrive.