The Early Childhood Development Association of South Africa (ECDA SA) is a non-profit organization that assists early childhood development centres (ECD) meet the necessary safety, health and environmental (SHE) compliance. Founded by professionals in the town planning, architecture, finance and social development space, ECDA SA aims to provide ECD centre managers and owners with the necessary guidelines and accreditation to provide a safe teaching environment. This includes assessments for fire safety, hygiene standards and environmental impact assessment plans in order to improve the safety record of their facilities and make them compliant with municipal standards.
Thapelo Kotela, a member of the ECDA SA board says, “As professionals we advise big companies and municipalities on how to build safe spaces used by the community and for business operations, but we realized that as parents some of the facilities that we send our children to are not compliant. With our varied expertise we created this organisation in order to help ECD centres in mainly rural and township settings to start investing in their compliance. As professionals we are aware of the factors that building owners should consider when rendering their businesses in certain areas, and as parents we understand the need to provide a safe space for the care and teaching of children.”
ECD owners or managers are welcome to become members of ECDA SA for free and are also encouraged to participate in the startups mentorship programme. The programme will help ECD centres become SHE complaint and have an opportunity to learn how to position themselves for future funding projects. This programme is particularly important for centres that have small budgets obtained from school fees but would like to upgrade their facilities and offerings by attracting investment. The ECDA SA is recognized by the department of social development and has a network including various municipal service providers including water, sanitation and urban planning.