[In this Early Childhood Workforce Initiative blog, R4D Program Officer Kavita Hatipoglu shares four lessons from a new study exploring the role of community health workers in delivering early childhood services in South Africa.]
Time and again, we’ve seen that setting policy is often the easier part of reform, with implementing policy being the real nut to crack. And when challenges loom large, sometimes it’s hard to see the progress you have made and determine the way forward. However, the South African government has taken some key early steps towards supporting young children and their families in a more systematic and comprehensive way, including through the recent National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy (NIECDP; 2015) which laid out goals to be achieved in the coming years. Notably, the NIECDP also set out to strengthen parenting and family support at the community level, identifying Community Health Workers (CHWs) as the key personnel to deliver what are commonly called First 1000 Days Services.
As part of the Early Childhood Workforce Initiative (ECWI), Results for Development, along with Ilifa Labantwana and researchers from the University of Pretoria, recently studied the NIECDP and its early implementation in two provinces, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape, looking particularly at the capacity of CHWs in South Africa to deliver these expanded First 1000 Days services. Reflecting on our work, we’re sharing four key lessons on the implementation process in South Africa.
To read the full blog, click here.
Photo © Reverie Zurba, USAID/South Africa