South Africa

South Africa is a middle-income country, where access to wealth and services is very unequal, with half the population living in poverty. Nearly 4 million (out of 7 million) children under 6 live in the poorest 40% of households and 30% fall below the food poverty line. Public and domestic violence is widespread (e.g. VOCS 2015/16). ECD centres are the most common form of provision for children under 6 but a growing number of other programmes, aiming to increase access for poor and vulnerable children, are provided by the private sector and civil society organisations.

Access to early learning programmes is lowest for the poorest children and ECE programmes in poor communities tend to be of lower quality than those in better off areas, due to poor staff training and lack of resources.

Partner Institution

The Children’s Institute specialises in early years, children’s participation and children’s rights more generally. Their work takes the best interests of the child into account and is aimed at ensuring that children are given primary consideration by society. In particular, the Institute pays special attention to promoting children’s participation in its work, and advocates for their voices to be heard in decisions affecting their lives. Dr Lizette Berry leads the Institute’s theme on early child development, as well as child protection and child poverty, bringing vital connections locally, nationally and internationally to the project.


Children's Institute

South African Case Study

The site for the South African community case study is Vrygrond. Vrygrond community is close to Muizenberg in the Cape Peninsula. This community was one of South Africa’s very first informal settlements and bears the legacy of many decades of inequality.

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