Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and partners transforming early education in Mpumalanga

17th April 2024


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The DBSA, in partnership with Mama’s Alliance and TREE (Teaching Resources for Early Education), was in Mpumalanga for a CSI Handover ceremony of 10 DBSA-funded sites from 8 to 10 April 2024. These sites were constructed, refurbished, and improved to ensure that 490 children in the community benefit from enhanced facilities and resources, setting a strong foundation for their future education and development.

The DBSA donated R10 million to TREE that will go towards supporting the 10 rural Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres. Through the Banks funding, the ECDs received critical upgrades and new infrastructure for them to comply with the norms and standards for ECDs. This set them on a path to receiving support and ECD subsidies paid by the Provincial Department of Basic Education (DBE). 

“At DBSA, we believe that investing in early education lays the foundation for a brighter tomorrow. Through our partnership with Mama’s Alliance and TREE, we are proud to empower communities in Mpumalanga, ensuring every child has access to quality facilities and resources essential for their development,” stated Lunga Schoeman: CSI Programmes Manager: DBSA.

Poor infrastructure in under-resourced areas has hindered the provision and access to early care for children, with many facilities remaining unregistered with the DBE due to failure to meet its standards, which are largely infrastructure and compliance related. Through the support of the Bank, the ECDs were presented with new and refurbished child-friendly classrooms, sick-bays, and ablution facilities. Furthermore, administrative offices and fully fitted kitchens were constructed at each centre in line with DBE standards. To support the child safety measures of each ECD, fire extinguisher packs were donated, and 55 teachers were trained on fire safety and drilling and thus each ECD received compliance certificates. In addition, all ECD centres received indoor play toys and outdoor play equipment.  

The project, with its engagement of 20 practitioners, 10 cooks, 10 gardeners, and the participation of 490 children, not only fosters community involvement but also generated positive impact by creating 110 skilled jobs, recruiting 10 contractors, and supporting 20 black-owned and small businesses from the local community.

In Phase 2 of this project, the Bank will be sponsoring the provision of daily meals through the Lunchbox Fund, establishment of food gardens in the local areas, and mobile health programmes in line with the needs of the communities where these ECDs are located.

In collaboration with TREE, Mama’s Alliance and Mpumalanga Department of Education, the handover ceremony promised to be an inspiring occasion celebrating collaboration, innovation, and progress in early education. Through this effort, the Bank pursues an integrated approach to infrastructure development and shape the development landscape in a way that can alleviate poverty as well as encourage sustainable socio-economic growth in South Africa and the continent at large.

The DBSA's CSI programme focuses on education and health projects benefiting previously disadvantaged communities and beneficiaries in South Africa's townships and rural areas.

This event marks a significant milestone in the Bank’s commitment to advancing early education and community development. The DBSA’s CSI Programme is aimed at improving the quality life of the children and the community by making a meaningful, and long-lasting impact on the communities in which they developed the infrastructure.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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