ECD Connect

ECD Connect is a unique digital offering that seeks to empower early childhood development practitioners and community health workers to deliver services to young children in South Africa. It is a license-free, customisable platform designed with the support of behavioural scientists and ECD specialists to enhance the quality of and increase access to crucial early childhood services, including education and health. This platform supports practitioners and organisations operating in low-resourced environments to scale and deliver professional, high-quality services to young children and caregivers in their communities.


Umncedi connects constituents and shares information and resources. By doing this, it helps support a national early childhood development (ECD) community, which catalyses an improvement of young children’s lives and learning.


Embrace is a national movement that advocates for a connected and thriving start to motherhood for every new mother in South Africa. Its vision is based on the understanding that an embraced mother raises a thriving child.
To this end, the movement aims to create a powerful network of mothers who support each other and who feel valued, confident and positive about raising their children. Embrace’s mission is to address some of the structural and social dynamics that shape the experience of early motherhood.


Nal’ibali (isiXhosa for ‘here’s the story’) is a national reading-for-enjoyment campaign designed to spark South African children’s potential through storytelling and reading. It was launched in 2012 by founding partners, PRAESA (the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa) and DGMT.
Through its network of reading clubs, literacy mentors, training programme partnerships and media campaigns – as well as the development of children’s stories and other literacy resources in 11 official languages – Nal’ibali is working to support parents, teachers, caregivers and communities to root reading and writing habits in children’s daily lives.

Grow Great

Grow Great partners with multiple stakeholders, including government departments, civil society and parents, to deliver a package of social and behaviour change interventions aimed at improving maternal and child health, nutrition and early childhood development practices in the first 1000 days of life.

Innovation Edge

Investing in innovative ideas that enable positive early life experiences for South African children under six years old, living in poverty. We support social entrepreneurs and organisations to develop, test and launch innovative solutions to early childhood challenges in South Africa.

Ilifa Labantwana

lifa Labantwana works towards a South Africa where everyone recognises their
contribution to children reaching their full potential. We use our technical expertise and
deep understanding of government alongside evidence, collaboration and advocacy to
strengthen the early childhood development (ECD) ecosystem. We improve this ecosystem to enable all stakeholders to play a role in securing quality ECD services for children.


SmartStart is an early learning social franchise that aims to expand access to quality early childhood development in South Africa, focused mainly on children between the ages of 3–4 years old.
SmartStart is a national social franchise with trained and licensed practitioners who implement high-quality, standardised early learning programmes in low-resource communities. It expands access to quality early learning in communities across South Africa.