"If we do this God will smile"


ECD Challenge

South Africa’s ECD sector faces the dual challenges of access and quality.

    • It is estimated that 1.1 million children aged 3-4 years are not in any early learning programme,
    • A further two million attend unregistered early learning programmes
    While government and other stakeholders recognize the importance of accessible, high-quality early childhood education, there are still significant challenges facing the sector in South Africa. The predominant challenges that ECDs face are:

    • Infrastructure: Limited suitable facilities which in turn limits access.
    • Practitioner Training & Curriculum resources
    • Financial & Regulatory hurdles

    Goals and Objectives

    To identify and convert under-utilized church buildings to house ECD centres

    To leverage partnerships with implementation, infrastructure and financing specialists
    To unlock access to quality and affordable  early learning on a huge scale
    To create direct employment opportunities & and professional development pathways – especially for women
    To establish support systems for communities of practice, quality assurance and regulatory and accreditation compliance

    Our Partners

    smarstart logo<br />

    |Diocese of Mthatha St Cuthbert’s Hall, Tsolo

    Piloting the Project

    The pilot stage of this project has been implemented in the Diocese of Pretoria, with a scoping of 115 church sites. Of these sites 30  have  been  earmarked  as  potentially suitable for the establishment of new ECDs, or to  house  existing  ECDs  needing  more suitable premises. The pilot phase has also identified  40  existing  ECDs  on  Anglican church sites In the Diocese of Mthatha, or related  to  the  church  in  some  way,  all needing support in terms of practitioner training and mentoring, school registration as well as infrastructure improvements. The first half of 2024 will see us take these learnings  into  an  engagement  with  7 additional Dioceses across the country, in the scoping of under-utilized infrastructure on about 1500 church sites. This could yield upwards  of  250  sites  with  potential  for housing  new  ECD  initiatives  in  those communities.

    Getting Involved

    Jesus’ way with children, the “Five Marks of Mission” of the global Anglican Communion, the Anglican Church’s presence in the Southern African education landscape since the 1840s, the Sustainable Development Goals in respect of education (SDG4), as well as our Schools Act (SASA1996 & related legislation), all form a strong theological, socio-cultural and legal framework to guide the essential nature of this work.


    Pray for Educators, ABESA and your Diocesan response to educational challenges


    Pray for the children of Southern Africa and their educational needs

    Support ABESA’s work financially and/or with your expertise and experience by contacting us on: admin@abesa.co.za