The Absa and Sowetan Early Childhood Development Awards will again reward the remarkable people and organisations making a difference in the lives of young South Africans.
Held in partnership with the South African Congress for Early Childhood Development (SACECD), The Office on the Rights of the Child and the Education Department, this nation-building project creates awareness about the importance of early childhood development (ECD).
Riah Phiyega, Absa's group executive for public affairs, says: "The value of ECD practitioners and sector is being enhanced by providing a platform that will ultimately become a support system for people and centres working as early childhood developers."
We are looking for registered or unregistered practitioners and organisations to compete for best ECD practitioner, best home-based care centre, best community-based care centre and best resource and training centre.
The Absa Early Childhood Development Awards were founded in 2003 and operated on a provincial basis for three years. The bank and SACECD approached Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation to help them create greater awareness of the awards and make it a truly nation-building event for all South Africans. So the awards went national and the first national ceremony was held in Johannesburg last April.
ECD educators and caregivers are special people who mould pre-schoolers into well-rounded children who are ready for school. To prepare the little ones, ECD teachers and caregivers must be equipped with a wide range of skills.
SABC Education supports the project through its wide audience base, extensive language coverage and marketing and advocacy.
For Sowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation, ECD forms the backbone of any society. South Africa needs a healthy ECD sector because neglecting little children socially, spiritually, culturally and even artistically is a sin and truly unforgivable.
The 2007-08 National Awards Ceremony will be held in Johannesburg in June. - Victor RW Mecoamere, Sowetan Special and Social Projects Editor.