Early Childhood Development (ECD) – Survey and Infrastructure Support

Large numbers of children in underserviced communities lack access to acceptable ECD care and services. They also often face a range of health and safety threats. Many ECD centres in these communities are not yet registered and thus fall outside of the current system of registration and related support. The challenges are both in terms of access (i.e. enabling more children to access centres which are within the system) and quality (i.e. improving programmes, skills of practitioners and infrastructural adequacy).

ECD Video

National Priority:

Improving access to adequate ECD services is recognized as a national priority (e.g. within the National Development Plan and by key Departments such as Social Development). ECD is recognised as being in a state of crisis.

PPT Role:

PPT is involved in the survey of ECD centres in underserviced rural and informal settlement communities, as well as assisting in planning for infrastructural improvements which are often necessary to address health and safety threats and/or ‘unblock’ centre registration (with appropriate flexibility).  The categorisation of centres based on survey data informs appropriate and programmatic response planning. Non-infrastructural forms of support such as training and capacity building, registration and nutrition are undertaken by other support organisations, several of which are already working in close collaboration with PPT. PPT is also involved in ECD research to inform national policy and developing a new and scale-able model of ECD response which can reach all children in South African instead of a select few.


  • Field survey of more than 500 ECD centres in Vulamehlo (now Umdoni), Umzumbe, Umvoti, Msinga Municipalities and two pilot areas within eThekwini Metro (Umlazi and Amaoti) utilising custom-developed Android survey tool.
  • Created a database of 516 centres in six municipalities from field survey (102 in Umzumbe and 52 in Vulamehlo in Ugu DM, 111 in Msinga, 72 in Umvoti and 98 in Nqutu in Umzinyathi DM and 39 in Umlazi and 42 in Amaoti in eThekwini Metro).
  • Developed and tested an ECD survey and infrastructure support model
  • Infrastructure improvement plans with cost estimates for 113 pilot centres benefiting 5,819 children and with a total capital value of R24.4million at an average cost of R4,195 per child (basic services and building improvements at 91 centres at an average of R2,086 per child and 22 new builds at an average of R13,510 per child).
  • Submission of reports on ECD pilots to Municipalities for inclusion in IDPs and related budgets.
  • Increased skills and capacity of the PPT Survey Team
  • Development of an electronic, Android based survey tool.
  • Development and refinement of categorisation framework to assist with centre selection, prioritisation and population-based planning
  • Development of new ECD resources/base documents for norms and standards and infrastructure funding models


PPT wishes to thank the main funders, the European Union (via the Programme to Support Pro-Poor Policy Development PSPPD) and various donor funders (via Ilifa Labantwana), for their generous support as well as Angela Mai for co-funding.


PPT wishes to thank its collaborating partners including: the KZN and National Departments of Social Development; the Municipalities of eThekwini, Vulamehlo, Umzumbe, Umvoti, Msinga, Ugu and Mzinyathi; Network Action Group (NAG); Training and Resources in Early Childhood Development (TREE); Ilifa Labantwana; University of KwaZulu Natal.

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