Strengthening Primary Caregivers

The early years of a child’s development are critical to building a solid foundation for their future. A whole host of factors need to be present to ensure that children develop optimally. They need good nutrition, as well as stable and nurturing relationships with adults who care for them, among others. The reality is that many children do not have the benefit of these vital ingredients crucial for enabling them to have a better future.

Standard Bank SA is prioritising a focus on investing in nurturing children to be “Future-Fit”. In response, Seriti designed an initiative aimed at strengthening Primary Care Givers. The programme seeks to capacitate primary caregivers with the content, skills, tools and resources that will ensure their understanding and appreciation of the critical role that they play in shaping the life of the children in their care.

Communities We Reach

The townships include, Soshanguve, Temba, Stinkwater and Hammanskraal. The aRe Babaleng programme aims to strengthen primary caregivers who have children in an Early Childhood Development (ECD) environment. The word aRe Bapaleng is a Sotho word for “Let’s Play”. Learning through play forms a big part of the way children develop and this is the core of what we are trying to communicate to primary caregivers through this project. The programme is specifically targeted at supporting under-served communities in the Tshwane metropolitan municipality.

The project has expanded into the Midvaal Municipality in the Sedibeng District Municipality in the Gauteng province. The intervention focuses on the importance of strengthening responsive caregiving. We want to create awareness in understanding the importance of stimulating children at an early age, and to increase the capacity of primary caregivers and Early Childhood Development practitioners in marginalised communities that lack the capacity and training to provide a better quality ECD support.

Harnessing The Power of Digital

Since the inception of the national lockdown period, Seriti has embarked on a proactive approach to continue to support primary caregivers that would previously have benefited from our ECD programme, are Bapaleng. Despite the obvious limitations we are faced with due to the lockdown restrictions, it remains our imperative to continue the most important aspects of our children’s basic education.

Therefore our main focus has been to explore alternative and innovative opportunities that can make learning material accessible to children through their primary caregivers. Looking towards harnessing readily available online technology that can be accessed from anywhere and is readily available to the majority of households, we have identified two digital application platforms ideally suited to the uploading of user friendly learning material that can be viewed or downloaded directly onto the cell phones of primary caregivers.

Digital Platform

The first application platform that we are currently engaging with is called ‘Grow’ and it enables us to load all the learning material on to the app and make it available to anyone who has installed the application. The application also has the ability to upload videos and images to ensure a varied form of interactive material is readily available to learners. As a second alternative to this application, we are currently also looking into enabling a zero rating application – which means that the end user (in this case the primary caregiver) will not incur any data cost for downloading or viewing material from the app.

We have already shared the installation link with the ECD practitioners in Soshanguve, which in turn have shared it with the parents of children enrolled at their ECD centres.

We are very excited about the potential of this initiative: Since we’re going online, the benefits of this programme can have an instant nationwide impact by means of word of mouth sharing amongst primary caregivers, rather than being limited to a single community.

There is also the inherent potential for Standard Bank to harness the benefits of direct advertising to a very specific target market on the app.


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