Director’s Quarterly Report

All that we are able to achieve at FLP is as a result of the phenomenal Team that I am privileged to be surrounded by, as well as the funders that passionately support Family Literacy in Southern Africa. I would like to begin by congratulating the FLP Team for their resilience, focus, commitment to developing their communities and selfless way that they make themselves available to all. Many of our staff have been with us from early 2000 and thus bring with them a wealth of experiential knowledge, ensuring that we remain relevant in the communities that we serve.

Below is a list of the highlights:

1. Community Work Programme – Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting: After a protracted set of negotiations and intensive planning, we are very happy to announce that FLP and our CWP partners, the Dhladhla Foundation, will revive the Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Programme in the Ubhuhlubezwe and Ingwe Municipalities. We are confident that this valuable programme, which came to a very untimely end when our previous partners were not reappointed, will continue to provide families in isolated rural communities with opportunities to learn through play, develop a love for reading and develop the confidence to engage their children as their first teachers. Dhladhla is very committed and has appointed a phenomenal team to work with FLP. Thank you must be extended to the Dhladhla Team, LIMA and our Programme Coordinators, Zimbili Dlamini and Florence Molefe, for patiently attending multiple meetings and motivating the value that this programme represents to families. The 75 appointed Home Visitors will, after being trained by FLP, visit 4 homes each, once a week – that represents 300 homes! Many of these homes have 4 -5 children that attend these sessions.

2. Evaluation of the Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Programme: Linda Biersteker recently completed a very intensive evaluation of the FLP Khulisa Abantwana, Home Visiting Programme. Her insightful and experienced research has inspired us to focus more of our attention on some key themes: conducting more home visits – her recommendation is that we visit each family once per week (for this we need to raise additional funds), more reading with adults and children, undertaking research into traditional and local ECD practices and providing more opportunities for families to regularly engage in reading and play activities with children. The full evaluation is available online on the Family Literacy Project website.

3. Uthando Doll Makers Workshop: From 6 to 9 June, a group of Unthando Doll Makers, from Australia, visited FLP in order to visit our Libraries, accompany Home Visitors to homes as well as run a 2 day, doll making workshop for Facilitators, Coordinators, Interns and Community members. Much fun was had by all attendees, with many having returned since, to show us the dolls that they have since made. Phumy and Zimbili, FLP Coordinators, have since conducted workshops at our libraries, where they taught teens how to make dolls for siblings and themselves. As most of the homes we visit have very few toys or none at all, these dolls are a wonderful resource. It is so endearing to watch boys and girls play with the culturally appropriate dolls with such affection and concentration. The dolls never fail to bring a smile to the saddest of faces when they are removed from the Home Visitor’s bags.

4. Underberg Himeville Arts Festival – (30 September to 2 October): During the Festival period, we will use 2 of the FLP Libraries as venues for local poets, authors and artists to run workshops and intimate readings and talks, “Conversations that matter…” where we hope to inspire and develop poets and authors in the rural areas where we work. The hub of the festival will be the Himeville Museum, where workshops and discussions will be taking place on Saturday. The Saturday night will see 2 theatre productions, Thola Antamu’s “Saartjie Baartman” and a work by Menzi Mkhwane. Thus far we have confirmations from Uthando Books – they plan to send 2 Authors to go out to the FLP Libraries, Zuki Vutela ( Zookey Zarling), Niq Mhlongo- novelist and short story writer, Malaika wa Azania- writer,Advocate Mkhasibe, Allan Kolski Horwitz, Ike Mboneni Muila, Frank Meintjies, Kwazi Ngklangisa, Nati Ferreira- writer ( English / Afrikaans ), Gary Cummiskey- poet and independent publisher, Thola Antamu- drama. To be confirmed- Nakanjani Sibiya- isiZulu writer; Menzi Mkhwane- drama; Sazi Dlamini, 2 Lesotho poets and Local Authors from Underberg. FLP is excited to be a key part of the inaugural “Arts Festival” as it will bring published authors to our libraries to meet directly with their readers and encourage them in their literary endeavours. We are aspiring to make this an annual event where we will afford FLP members a platform to showcase their skills

5. International visit from Zoe Sylvester, Head of York House UK: Zoe Sylvester, visited FLP in July and August in order to provide training and explore avenues for future partnering. Zoe brought suitcases of the most beautiful books for our Home Visitors and has indicated that she will continue to collect educational toys and books for FLP. We are excited about twinning with York House and the opportunities that this will present for the Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Programme as well as Toy Libraries that we are developing in all of our sites.

6. FLP Training DVD Series: Donovan Fletcher and a group of aspirant Film Makers from Clifton Film School, Clifton College, were commissioned to develop a series of training DVD’s for FLP. Filming and editing has already begun for the first episode in the series, where the Family Literacy Project’s work is introduced. Women’s Day saw FLP working on translations for the subtitles as well as editing the footage. I am amazed at the beautiful images that these young men have captured for us. We are confident that this project will produce footage that will benefit us and our partners greatly. (The FLP Home Visiting DVD’s we currently have, are used regularly by other NGO’s in order to train Home Visitors.)

7. Family Literacy Project Community Library’s Holiday Programme: Many children attended our library’s special programme during the holidays in order to join in the many fun reading and craft activities.

Lotheni Library:  Many children attended the holiday programme at the library and even some parents came along with their children. There was a doll making workshop which was done with the teenagers in the community. Parents were very happy about that as they said their children can`t use a needle so they are happy that they began to learn sewing skills. 96 children attended the holiday programme and 92 books were borrowed in that week.

Stepmore library:  There were 131 children visited the library during the holiday Programme. Teenagers came for doll making which they all said was a good skill for them to learn. They enjoyed what they did and continue to come to finish their dolls. 101 books have been borrowed during this month.

Ndodeni library:  This is a centre for children as they don’t have another place to visit in the area, so children spend most of their time in the library. It was so wonderful to see 102 children in the library during the holiday programme, they did different activities with the library assistants and Coordinators. The teenagers making dolls was inspirational to see. Many of them wanted to remain even after the light had faded. (There is no electrification in the areas of Ndodeni and Mpumlwane.)

Mpumlwane Library: Having newspapers and magazines in the library encourages adults to visit the library more often. Some community members come twice a week to read the newspapers and they always bring their children with them to the library. While they read the newspapers, children play with educational toys, get read to, and read themselves. During the Holiday Programme, we had 126 children in the library and 64 books were borrowed.

8. The new FLP Kwabhidla Community Library: The Ingonyama have assured us that they will extend the lease on the property that they have so kindly given to FLP. We are extremely grateful to the Daitz Foundation and Project Build for their continued support in this initiative. We remain optimistic that the construction of FLP’s newest Community Library will begin in 2016.

Director’s Quarterly Report

The FLP Team started the year with renewed vigour and focus.  At our planning and reflection session, Facilitators emphasised how they would like to deepen the impact and “grow” the work FLP does in their respective communities.  I am so encouraged to see how the Facilitators wish to develop their communities through their Adult Groups, Reading and Home Work Clubs, Toddler Groups and the Home Visiting Programme.

Below are some of the highlights:

  1. Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting: FLP Adult Group Members continue to provide much needed ECD, Health and Psychosocial support for homes within their neighbourhoods that have children from 0-6 Years old.  All of the groups have received new books, educational toys and beautiful Uthando Dolls to be used in the Home Visiting Programme.  Almost all of the homes visited have no toys and thus we find that the toys brought by the Home Visitor are very well used, some getting completely worn out in the space of a couple of months.  Uthando Doll Makers from Australia and Tasmania as well as Generation Joy Foundation in the USA have provided beautiful dolls and toys for our groups.

Linda Biersteker is set to begin her evaluation of this programme in May.  We are excited about having her scrutinise this valuable programme and assist FLP to ensure that we are meeting Community expectations and at the same time providing vital educational support to the 0-6 year old children we reach.

  1. Book Sharing:  After an enquiry from Reading University in the UK, I was very privileged to meet the development Psychologist, Professor Lynne Murray – Author of “The Psychology of Babies” and Professor of Psychopathology Peter Cooper, about a Book Sharing Project that they are running in conjunction with Stellenbosch University.  They are extremely enthusiastic about reading to and with children.  They have developed sound, evidence based training material, which they have shared with FLP.  They have expressed interest in our Home Visiting Programme and the model that FLP uses.  We have exchanged material and I am confident that the partnership that we have established will extend our reach and thereby benefit even greater numbers of 0-6 Year Old children.  They are visiting SA again in 2017 and are coming to FLP to visit sites and spend time with the FLP Team.
  1. Underberg Himeville Arts Festival: Kyle Allan, a Drama Teacher and Poet, is hosting an Arts Festival in Underberg from 30 September to 2 October.  He has run various workshops for the FLP Youth in Underberg and Himeville and has offered to assist FLP Drama Groups by running workshops for them.  He wishes to partner with FLP in this Festival endeavour and assist the Drama Groups and Teens with Poetry and performances for the Festival.  What we have proposed is that, over the Festival period, we use the FLP Libraries as venues for local poets, authors and artists to run workshops and intimate readings and talks, “Conversations that matter…” where we hope to inspire and develop the poets and authors in the areas that the FLP Groups and Libraries serve.

Thus far we have confirmations from Uthando Books – they plan to send 2 Authors to go out to the FLP Libraries, Zuki Vutela ( Zookey Zarling), Niq Mhlongo- novelist and short story writer, Malaika wa Azania- writer, Nati Ferreira- writer ( English / Afrikaans ), Gary Cummiskey- poet and independent publisher, Thola Antamu- drama.

To be confirmed-

Nakanjani Sibiya- isiZulu writer; Menzi Mkhwane- drama; 2 Lesotho poets and Local Authors from Underberg.

 It is very exciting that we have been afforded the opportunity to be part of this endeavour as it will bring published authors to our libraries to meet directly with their readers and encourage them in their literacy endeavours.

  1. iThemba Projects: We are excited about a partnership that we have established with iThemba Projects in Hilton. They are a community based ECD NGO that work in the Sweetwaters Community.  They wish to develop a Teacher’s Training Centre, modelled on the Asifunde Sonke Centre.  In addition they have requested to use our Khulisa Abantwana materials in their Home Visiting Programme.  We know that the knowledge exchange programme that we have set up will be mutually beneficial.  
  1. Valley Trust Family Literacy Training: Phumy Zikode and Nomvula Phoswa continue to provide training and support for our partners, Valley Trust in Botha’s Hill just outside Durban.  Phumy and Nomvula continue to travel to meet and train the Valley Trust Facilitators and monitor and evaluate their progress.  The Family Literacy Groups being run by Valley Trust are vibrant and well managed according to the M&E visits that Phumy and Nomvula have made.    
  1. FLP Community Libraries and the Holiday Programme: It has been an exciting month at our FLP libraries during the school holidays. The activities have focused on reading as fun and art and craft.  Children attending the holiday programme engaged in various activities such as the colourful light ray cross, Easter egg paper plate basket, Egg balloons, Easter bunnies, Easter pom-pom, cutting out mini books from the Nal’ibali supplement to take home with them, dramatizations and role play performed from stories that they had read or made up and of course, the read aloud aspect where children listen to stories every day.

In our five community libraries, every term, we run a full day training workshop with library assistants and coordinators. After each holiday we run another workshop to find out what worked well and what problems they encounter during the holiday programme. Many children have been attending the holiday programmes. This term, for the holiday programme, we managed to reach 514 children in all FLP libraries.

  1. The new FLP Kwabhidla Community Library: Unfortunately, this project continues to be delayed.  The Trust has been very accommodating and is awaiting a letter from the funder, the Daitz Foundation, committing to the project, should the 99 year lease be granted by Ingonyama.  Ingonyama have assured us that they will extend the lease upon receipt of this correspondence.  We are extremely grateful to the Daitz Foundation and Project Build for their continued support in this initiative.  We are optimistic that construction of FLP’s newest Community Library will begin in 2016.

 

FLP Arts festival 2016 – Time of the Writer

TIME EVENT TYPE EVENT Participants VENUE
FRIDAY 30 Aug
15h00 onwards Arrival  Guests arriving and shown accom
17h00 – 19h00 Readings, performances   Night of the storytellers  5 min by each guest  Underberg Primary School
19h30 – 21h00  Social meet and greet  FLP
SATURDAY 1 September
08h00 Breakfast for participants Breakfast for participants.
09h00 – 15h30 Market and performances  Fab Fair Market and performances
09h00 – 15h30 Exhibit  Himeville museum heritage exhibition
09h00-09h45 Panel discussion Building a culture of reading and literature in South Africa- challenges, experiences and the way forward. Allan Kolski Horwitz, Niq Mhlongo, Nakanjani Sibiya Himeville Arms Hotel Conference
10h00 – 10h45 Panel discussion The stories we tell- multilingualism, mother tongue and the ownership of words. Himeville Arms Hotel Conference
11h30 – 13h30 Workshop  Workshop and open mic  Allan Kolski Horwitz, Frank Meintjies, Ike Mboneni Muila  Himeville Museum
11h30 – 13 h30 Outreach  Outreach at  FLP library Ndodeni and Gerard Bhengu gallery  Zookey and Niq Mhlongo
11h30 – 13 h30 Outreach  Outreach at FLP Library Lotheni Malaika wa Azania and Kwazi Ndlangisa
14h15 – 15h00 Panel discussion “The Fire We Make”-young writers speak. Malaika wa Azania, Thola Antamu, Kwazi Ndlangisa Himeville Arms Hotel Conference
15h15 – 16h00 Panel discussion Media- who is it, whose is it, and to what extent are we the media or impact on the media- perspectives, experiences and reenvisionings Zuki Vutela ( Zookey), Malaika wa Azania Himeville Arms Hotel Conference
16h15 – 16h45 Book launch Book launches Kyle Allan, others TBC
17h00 – 17h45 Theatre Exhibit B, an ode to Saartjie Baartman Thola Antamu Himeville Arms Hotel Conference
18h00 – 1845 Theatre Menzi Mkhwane
19h00 – 20h00 Performances and readings In conversation with authors and performances Malaika wa Azania and Kwazi Ndlangisa and few readings Himeville Arms Hotel Conference
Interval
20h30 – 21 h30 Performances and readings In conversation with authors and performances Zookey and Niq Mhlongo and a few readings Himeville Arms Hotel Conference
SUNDAY 2 September
Breakfast for participants  Breakfast followed by final get together of participants.
Departures

Director’s Annual Update December 2015

It is hard to believe that another year has passed. 2015 has been a year where FLP have worked to further improve our practice and deepen the impact that we are having within our communities. The Facilitators and Coordinators have worked more closely within local Government structures, such a Reference Committees, liaising closely with other NGO’s, municipalities, SAPS, Department of Social Welfare and traditional leaders. Our work has expanded to include 1 new library at Kwa-Pitela, new Nal’ibali Reading Clubs and additional bereavement counselling groups, Homework Clubs in 10 Crèches and Schools as well as the Asifunde Sonke ECD Teacher’s Training Centre’s first group of graduates.

Below is a list of the other highlights:

  1. Homework Clubs: The Department of Arts and Culture continues to provide invaluable support to FLP for the 5 FLP Libraries that we established and run in the rural areas of KZN. Their support expanded in 2015 to include Homework Clubs where FLP Facilitators, Coordinators and Library Assistants now include these Homework Clubs in their daily programme in addition to the other groups that they run. These Clubs are based around fun reading activities, with reading aloud, dramatization and art activities forming the basis of each of the sessions. In addition, children that do not have parents, caregivers or siblings to assist them with their homework, for various reasons, have an opportunity to sit in a group with a trained FLP staff member who assists them with this, after the reading activities. Mrs Cheryl Taylor, a special needs Educator, provides academic support and training for the Facilitators to meet the needs of the children in these groups. We have seen that this intervention has increased the number of children and adults from the community that visit the libraries. In addition, the feedback that we have received from the Schools has been encouraging and has definitely developed stronger ties with the schools and communities.
  2.  Dlalanathi Bereavement Groups: The continued Support of the Solon Foundation and Children’s Chance for Life allow, Xolani Mofokeng, Nompumelelo Mbokazi, Sanele Ngubo and Zinhle Mbanjwa to continue to work with numerous traumatised groups. We work with groups of 8 children at a time, identified by the schools and communities, over an 8 week period. We still find, unfortunately, that we are unable to meet all of the needs simultaneously due to the sheer volume of children requiring intervention. We continue to receive positive feedback from families, schools and communities where we work. We have also noticed that many of the behavioural challenges experienced with these children, along with the resultant academic issues, are often seen to be overcome by the children after the intervention. This has resulted in Schools requesting permanent FLP Bereavement Groups being run at their schools in order to assist with the troubled children. Unfortunately the demands are so great, and the trained FLP staff so limited, that this cannot currently be implemented. It does, however, give us as FLP something to strive towards.
  3. Children’s Chance for Life: Congratulations to Phumla Ngcobo, a CCFL bursary beneficiary that has completed her Journalism Degree at Rhodes last year and has been working as an intern at Plexus Films in Cape Town and Dumisani Kheswa who completed his N6 and continues to excel in his studies towards his Diesel Engineering Diploma. The Graduates at Asifunde Sonke that are supported by CCFL, have all passed and graduated with the National Diploma in Early Childhood Development (ECD). The various students at schools and colleges also progressed well.
  • Valley Trust Family Literacy Training: Phumy Zikode and Nomvula Phoswa continue to provide training and support for our partners, Valley Trust in Botha’s Hill just outside Durban. Valley Trust approached FLP to assist them to develop Family Literacy Groups, using the model we use, in various sites in the rural sites that they serve outside Durban. Phumy and Nomvula have travelled regularly to meet and train the Valley Trust Facilitators and monitor and evaluate their progress.  

 

    1.  Nal’ibali: The Reading Clubs continue to be vibrant and interactive groups of children that meet with the FLP Facilitators. The groups are encouraged to develop a love of reading and to share their experiences with each other and community members – many younger and often much older than themselves. This enthusiasm to share is nurtured by the FLP Facilitators using a variety of methods to bring to life the various stories that they tell as primers to the sessions.
    2.  The new FLP Kwabhidla Community Library: We have run into a delay with this project as the Ingonyama Trust that oversee the property on which the new FLP Library is to be built, traditionally awards short term lases and then will extend these once building has been completed. This is a cause for concern with our funders as they question the security of a 3 year lease. I recently met with a delegation of Kwabhidla community members, the Headmaster of the Vusindaba School and the Ingonyama Trust in order to attempt to secure a longer lease. The Trust has been very accommodating and awaits a letter from the funder committing to the project should the 99 year lease be granted by Ingonyama. As this whole project has been so delayed, we will have to re-budget due to building costs having soared. We are extremely grateful to the Daitz Foundation and Project Build for their continued support in this initiative. We are optimistic that construction of FLP’s newest Community Library will begin in 2016.
  • School Support Programme: Nompies Mbokazi, Sanele Ngubo and Zinhle Mbanjwa provide much support to the children in the respective Schools where they are working. Nompies, a Grade 1 Educator at Goxhill farm School runs Nal’ibali Clubs, a huge Box Library, a Homework Club all emphasising the development of sound reading skills. The children that progress from her Grade 1 class are, in the words of the receiving Educators and Headmaster, “so very strong, are working much quicker….and they love reading” 

 

    1. Zinhle and Sanele work in the Underberg School Mastery Unit, where they support reading and writing for additional language learners. In addition, they provides Psycho Social Support for students in the Hostel where they now both reside. This ensures that the children receive support that assists them to be healthy and happy.
  • Staff Positon Charters and Individual Appraisals: In 2013, in order to continuously reflect upon our own practice, FLP embarked upon a journey where we hoped to shift staff beyond mere “Job Descriptions” that define what we expect of them, to a more intrinsically motivated “Position Charter” where they define excellence and expectations for their own personal growth within FLP, and in so doing encourage and foster growth in their FLP group members, adults and children alike. This Charter was personally crafted, under guidance over a 4 day period, emphasising the Key Performance Areas, Key objectives and Standards of Excellence they expected of themselves in order to meet the expectations that they have, that their co-workers have, that the organisation has and that their group members have of them in order to achieve relative “success” in their field. The follow up to this process has taken place monthly with Jill Frow, where she will meet with each staff member, chart their progress and coach them toward their aspirations that they have set for themselves in this “Position Charter”. In addition, the will meet with me and the other Coordinators, in order to keep on track and brainstorm changes necessary. In December, Jill, myself and the Coordinators, met with each staff member, in order to assess their year according to their Position Charter. It was an extremely rewarding, informative and remediative process. We are now beginning to see staff members proudly taking ownership of their “work” and constantly striving to improve through reflective practices. They are also gradually becoming much less threatened by this level of scrutiny and welcome suggestions and ask for help rather than feeling threatened due to shortcomings.

 

  1. UNESCO Windhoek “Inclusive and equitable Quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all”: FLP was invited to present at the 2015 UNESCO, all Africa Quality Education Platform – Southern Africa Regional Workshop on Literacy in Windhoek on 5 and 6 October, 2015. The work that FLP does was recognised as valuable and FLP were asked to share our approach and programme with delegates from all over Africa and the rest of the world. It was encouraging to see the level of interest in our work. The plenary session was insightful and provided many ideas for other delegates and FLP. We were the only Family Literacy Project to share at the conference.
  • Department of Arts and Culture – Library, Language, Archives and Museum Services Conference, 25 November: FLP was invited to present at the DAC Conference in Durban. We shared about our libraries, Box as well as Buildings. The emphasis of the presentation was on building a culture of reading and making it a shared and valuable pleasure. Emphasis was placed upon intergenerational reading and storytelling using various groups and reading campaigns that FLP runs continuously. It was a great honour for us to receive such positive feedback from delegates.

 

 

In closing, I would like to thank all of the supporters and friends that have taken an interest in our unique and extraordinary project. The year that I have spent at the helm of FLP, has been made so rewarding for myself and my fellow workers. May you have a blessed Festive Season.

Regards,

Pierre Horn

 

 

 

Director’s Quarterly Update

We have had a very full calendar at FLP over the past 3 months.

Save Act Partnership:

The FLP Adult Network Groups continue to benefit from the support and training provided by Save Act. The saving’s clubs within the FLP Adult groups have, since their inception, grown in financial strength and have managed to do things that would not have been possible, were it not for their access to capital. Many more FLP children are proudly wearing newer uniforms to school, with more children being able to register for FET Colleges and Universities and families starting small income generating enterprises.

Save Act continue to share an office at the FLP Resource Centre and use the venue regularly for training and meetings with their field workers.

Generation Joy Partnership:

FLP hosted the Generation Joy Board for 7 days in July. It was a valuable time to embark, with our partners, in work in the FLP groups that we were able to visit. Much insight was provided to Gen Joy about the FLP way of operating and the impact that we are having. The resources that they have provided to FLP will assist us greatly.

We have distributed 3500 Preschool books to the FLP sites and Library. These books that will form part of the Home Visitors Bags that they carry to the families that they visit. In addition, stationery, art supplies and educational aids were provided that will equip all of the FLP adult groups, the schools that we work in as well as all of the reading groups.

Nal’ibali Groups:

The Nal’ibali Team visited FLP in June, in order to conduct training for the FLP Facilitators and Coordinators. The training, held at the FLP Resource Centre, was very interactive and provided the FLP Team with an array of skills that will continue to foster the importance of making Reading a shared pleasure within homes and communities. The growth seen in the Nal’ibali Reading Clubs, and the academic improvement evident to the Educators in the Schools that the kids attend, has reinforced the value of the FLP intervention and as a result, our partnership with the Education Department and their appointed officials in Schools. Our Library Coordinator, Phumy Zikode, continues to write units for Facilitators that incorporate the Nal’ibali materials, FLP Box Library books as well as drama, role play, storytelling and read aloud techniques that inspire children to develop a love of reading.

Solon Training:

The entire FLP were trained by the Solon Foundation in the Aunty Stella Teen material. This training, for some of the group it was refresher training, was invaluable. We had our team leave the FLP Resource Centre energised and far better equipped to engage their Teen Groups on matters pertinent to them. The feedback that we have received in our team meetings has been positive, with the Teen Groups developing a confidence to engage issues that would otherwise have remained unexplored.

Community Works Programme (CWP):

We continue to meet with our CWP partners at Local Reference Committee level. The local Community Reference Committees, that include Tribal Leaders, Government stakeholders and other community leaders, have facilitated budget approval for the CWP work FLP has been working towards for the past 19 months. We aim to begin the Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Programme in January 2017, and will run it for a full calendar year.

We are very excited about this work starting up again as we know the benefit it has for children from 0-5 years old. We have commissioned Linda Biersteker to conduct an assessment of the Khulisa Abantwana Programme. The baseline assessment tools are ready for piloting, which we will begin in the FLP Khulisa Abantwana groups in October. We are of the opinion that an assessment will highlight the great value that the programme has for the ECD sector of our rural population.

African Storybook Project:

The pilot project that FLP was working on with the African Storybook Project, where existing stories were translated and versioned, traditional tales captured and recorded and new stories written, has come to an end. The stories written by 2 of the FLP groups, and the other pilot partners in Lesotho, Pretoria, Kenya and Uganda, all appear on the website, to be used by any person or organization to encourage a love of reading.

FLP has met with SAIDE’s Sheila Drew, in order to discuss ways in which the stories can be used in our existing groups as well as how new writers can be encouraged to contribute to the ASP collection online. Sheila recently visited the FLP Groups and worked with Zimbili and the Library Assistants, providing training in ASP materials and their use. We are excited to watch this aspect of recording, developing and capturing the wealth of traditional tales in the rural areas become part of our Library Programme and Reading Groups.

I would encourage you to login to the ASP website in order to learn more about this valuable project, you may even wish to contribute to the collection. (www.africanstorybookproject.org)

Dlalanathi Counselling Groups:

In order to assist the Facilitators and Coordinators with the New Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Material and its implementation in the FLP adult groups, Dlalanathi conducted a 5 day training at the Resource Centre. The material in the Family Support Training assisted the FLP Team to provide their Adult Group Members with an array of skills that assist caregivers and parents to provide the age appropriate psychosocial support necessary to assist children become emotionally intelligent adults.

Xolani, Zinhle and Sanele attending a training course by Hilary McLea. Managing Loss, Grief and Continuous Trauma training was conducted in Durban, from 8-10 June. The Counselling Team conducted training in this aspect of Counselling upon their return, in order for the other FLP Facilitators and Coordinators to better equip their Adult Group Members to deal with

issues related to loss and grief, which is unfortunately a very big part of each of their lives within their respective communities.

We continue to run groups at 4 Schools in the areas within which the FLP Groups operate. The Reports from Schools, Community Members and Parents highlight the positive effect that this intervention is having in the children’s lives.

“I have noticed a big improvement since the last counselling session. He is not aggressive to his peers and is not as demanding of my attention anymore.”

“She is getting along better with children her age and is much happier overall.”

“Most of the Learners in the school wish that they could attend this intervention. As it was firstly the most seriously affected children, not all could attend. Fortunately participants used to tell them what they have learnt and so they can also benefit earlier……”

FLP’s new Library at Kwapitela Community:

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We are very proud of the brand new FLP Library in the Kwapitela community. The Library assistant at the Library, Malibongwe, continues to draw children in large numbers to the Library, for his reading clubs and holiday programmes. Malibongwe was selected by the Kwapitela Community as the most qualified and enthusiastic candidate to take up the position of FLP Library Assistant. He is the first male Library Assistant at FLP and is a sound role model for the children at the School and Community at large.

The Kwapitela Community are very enthusiastic and excited about the presence on FLP in their Community as they have heard so much about FLP’s work in rural communities and how this work benefits them. They have approached FLP to begin Nal’ibali Reading Clubs, Drama Groups and would like an Adult Group too. It is so encouraging to have a community this enthusiastic about Literacy. We would like to extend our thanks to Sani Lodge and Backpackers as well as the Donor Stepp from St Anne’s School. Without their generosity, the Community Library would not be a reality.

Vusindaba Library:

We are still in the process of finalizing the Vusindaba Community Library and Resource Centre. All approvals and plans are approved and we are ready to start breaking ground. The funders, the Daitz Foundation and Project Build, are committed to the project and are wishing to start as soon as the Ingonyama Trust has provided an extension on the lease that we have negotiated on the site. The Trust has generously leased a sizeable piece of land to FLP on which we will construct the building. They are, however, having to make an amendment to their standard lease documents as they usually only award a 3 year temporary lease until building commences and then they extend this period. We would, however, require a minimum of a 50 year lease in order to proceed with this valuable rural initiative. We are confident that the Trust will consider the amendments and will forward the lease to us so that we can start building

Family Literacy Groups:

The Coordinators, Jill Frow and I continue to meet with staff members, Jill meeting with each staff member individually, in order to go through their Job descriptions and Position Charters with them. This is ensuring that regular feedback is encouraged and that standards of delivery remain high and constantly improving. The Position Charter, that aligns one’s job description with Key Performance areas, key objectives and standards of excellence that define individual and collective excellence, continues to impart a motivation towards improving and producing work of a high standard amongst staff members.

Jill Frow and the Coordinators monitor and evaluate the staff according to these criteria when they conduct their monthly Site Support Visits. This is assist us in our ongoing Staff Appraisal.

Noah’s Ark and Asifunde ECD Teacher’s Training Centre news:

We are busy with the extensions to the Noah’s Ark and the Asifunde Training Centre. The Saville Foundation and Nedbank have donated the funding to construct and equip the Centre. We are at foundation stage and look forward to reporting on the building progress in the next report.

Uthando Project Dolls and Dance Costumes:

Underberg Dance Studio, including ballet and modern dancing, recently put on their junior dance extravaganza. Family Literacy Project assists a number of students to attend dance classes as part of our intervention programme.

It was really encouraging to watch the dancers turn out in the most magnificent costumes ever. The wonderful costumes were kindly donated by the Uthando Project, who collected and shipped the costumes over to us for our programme. The level of pride and professionalism that has resulted has been very encouraging.

 

Library News

Family Literacy Project Library report

January to June 2015

It has been a busy time with lots of fun and reading in our four building libraries, and six box libraries. Children are enjoying themselves doing different activities like playing puzzles, toys, ball, bicycles, listening to stories every day. In addition to our four libraries, we were asked to take over the administration and provide ongoing support to Kwapitela library, which has become so popular. During the last holiday programme, it was unbelievable when +- 80 children came to attend holiday programmes. We make it a rule to read stories to children every day in the library and encourage them to borrow books to read with their families at homes.

Holiday programmes

In our five building libraries, every term, we run a day workshop with library assistants and coordinators. After each holiday we run another workshop to find out what worked well, what problems they encounter during holidays. Many children have been attending holiday programmes.

So far these are the following activities they made in their libraries:

Bunny mask Paper plate weaving
Elephant Owl hand warmer
Doll Crochet Flower Bracelet
Bottle fish Brooch
Egg flower Eco Green Tea Light Holder
Pompom Tangrams

During the holidays, coordinators visit all libraries to support library assistants during holiday programmes. Children of different ages attend the holiday programmes. It is difficult to handle the vast numbers of children attending the programmes, that is why coordinators are helping in the libraries.

Library displays

Library assistants are responsible for changing displays at least monthly. They visit the local school to find out what themes they are using so that they can build a display in the library on the theme.

Newspapers

Every week people from the community come to read newspapers in the library. Coordinators and library assistants make sure that they get new newspaper every week. The popular newspaper are Isolezwe, Ilanga and Nal’ibali supplements. Adults really enjoy reading newspaper and before they leave library they are encouraged to look for the books to read to their children at home.

Road to reading maps

We run the road to reading map for foundation phase children. After they finish a certain number of books, they receive a prize. Children in grade 1 and 2 read 5 books and start to get prizes, grade 3 and 4 have to read 10 book and then start to get a prize for every additional book read. The number of books read is increasing every month as a result of this.

New books

We are so lucky to get donations of books from different people. UKZN donated adult books which made a big change in our libraries as we didn’t have enough isiZulu books. Adults are so happy with these books. We also get donations from Generation Joy. These are wonderful children’s books although they are in English those who find it difficult to read English enjoy to look at the pictures and most of books have sounds. Fundza also donated books for teenagers and they enjoy them so much.

Phumy Zikode

(FLP Library Coordinator)

 

Director’s Mid Year Report 2015

Many exciting things have happened at FLP in the past 3 months. Two staff members have graduated. Nompies Mbokazi, Graduated with a Bachelor of Education, Foundation Phase degree and Zinhle Mabanjwa has graduated with a Diploma in Early Childhood Development. Zimbili Dlamini continues to study and is currently writing her UNISA examinations.

Community Works Programme (CWP):

We have held very productive meetings with our partners in the CWP. The Dhladhla Foundation and Insika have both committed to facilitate the revival of the Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Programme in the areas in which they have been awarded their respective contracts. The FLP Team, Community Members and previous CWP Home visitors are very excited that this valuable work will be revived shortly. We are excited to be able to continue meeting the needs of existing Families and ECD children and also to reach more families that were not previously part of the programme. The local Community Reference Committees, that include Tribal Leaders, Government stakeholders and other community leaders, have been putting pressure on our implementing partners to implement Home Visiting again.

Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Programme:

The FLP Adult Group members are steadily working through the Khulisa Abantwana 2, Home Visiting Programme. The new material, developed by Snoeks Desmond and Jacqueline Horn, incorporates Health and Psychosocial messages for Families and their children 0-5 years old. The Personal Journey, a vital part of this material, has been, at times, a very emotional experience for our FLP Group Members. It has, however, created a bonding and mutual support that has made our group stronger and more committed to reaching out. I think that Zimbili, one of our Coordinators, gave the most fitting description of Khulisa two:

We have been doing Family Journey in the adult groups and it is really helping me to understand each member better. I realize why they are, like they are. It helps me too, because I realize that I can share things with some of them.”

The Family Literacy Centre:

We are very happy to be able to provide facilities for other NGO’s in the area to hold meetings and conduct training. Our Resource Centre continues to be used by Save Act, Peace Club Foundation and Nal’ibali as a training and meeting venue. The training that the FLP team members benefit from, as a result of this, assists us to continually develop and hone our staff’s skill set. It is a real draw card being able to offer accommodation to trainers at our facility as this just makes for much easier training sessions.

The homework group is growing, with 6-10 children coming to the Centre daily to do homework at a desk, in a well-lit room and have assistance, should they require this. FLP Facilitators continue to be approached by caregivers to start similar clubs in their

communities. There is a great need for this, as many of the caregivers and family members are illiterate and are thus unable to assist children with homework. There is an increasing number of the elderly caregivers or grandparents left looking after small children as the parents are working away from home. Our Facilitators continue to be approached by parents in their communities to please assist. FLP is starting two Pilot Homework Clubs, One in our Library and the other in a School where we currently run a Nal’ibali Reading Club.

Counselling Groups:

Xolani Mofokeng, Sanele Ngubo and Zinhle Mbanjwa were privileged to attend the UNISA Annual Child Trauma Conference in Durban in May. Much useful knowledge was gained, and shared. A very motivated team returned, better equipped to continue working on this very valuable part of the Family Literacy Project. The networking and knowledge sharing has inspired and equipped the group to deepen the valuable work that they are doing with Preschoolers, young children and teens.

In order to continue building upon our Counselling Team’s skill set, our partners, Dlalanathi conducted a visit to the FLP Resource Centre and met with Jacqueline, Zinhle, Xolani and Sanele in order to discuss the Trauma Counselling and Khulisa Home Visiting Programme. Linda Smallbones recommended training offered by Hilary McLea of the Warehouse. Hilary is an experienced Loss and Grief Counselor and Educator, based in Cape Town. We were thrilled to be able to register Xolani, Zinhle and Sanele for Hilary’s Course, Managing Loss, Grief and Continuous Trauma, from 8-10 June. The Counselling Team will be offering a day of training for the other FLP Facilitators and Coordinators in order to better equip them to deal with issues related to loss and grief, which is unfortunately a very big part of each of their lives within their respective communities.

Training for Coordinators: Curriculum Development: Project Arts & Culture, Education & Training.

The FLP Coordinators were invited to attend training on Gender: Early Socialization through the arts programme. This valuable training, facilitated by TREE, has provided material for our Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Groups, Child to Child Groups and the Library Holiday Programme. The Peace Clubs will also have some of the ideas incorporated into the curriculum Phumy develops for them. The FLP Coordinators, Phumy, Zimbili and Florence will be offering training for the other FLP Facilitators at our Team Week.

Phumy and Zimbili have begun supporting 8 Community Crèches in the KwaSani and Ingwe areas using Monitoring and Evaluation tools developed by FLP and Noah’s Ark. Their wealth of ECD experience is assisting the Educators greatly and we are already seeing the Crèches evolving from “baby sitting” centres to bright, safe, fun and engaging places for the 0-5 year old children. This valuable support is part of the Asifunde Teacher’s Training that we offer.

Family Literacy Groups:

FLP embarked on a new approach to staff contracts this year. The Coordinators, Jill Frow and I met with each staff member individually in order to go through their Job descriptions with them. In 2013, every staff member employed at FLP, including the Director, was guided through the process of producing a Position Charter that aligns one’s job description with Key Performance areas, key objectives and standards of excellence that define individual and collective excellence according to each of our job descriptions. We are confident that the two days spent doing this, has assisted all of us to strive to deepen the impact we are having in our community work, by striving, collectively to excellence.

Jill Frow and the Coordinators will monitor and evaluate the staff according to these criteria when they conduct their monthly Site Support Visits. This will assist us in our ongoing Staff Appraisal.

Network Groups – Savings Groups:

Save Act, our Community Savings Group partners, continue to meet at the FLP Resource Centre regularly. This initiative has been remarkable in assisting to improve the standard of living and particularly access to cash, for many of our FLP Group Members. Now, not only are many of the Savings Club Members able to purchase items such as School Uniforms, but they are able to engage in various income generation projects in their communities as well.

New Community Library:

We are very excited to have finalized the arrangements for this initiative. The lease for the land, upon which we will be building our latest Community Library, has been concluded and signed by all parties. The Ingonyama Trust has kindly leased FLP land, upon which we will construct and manage our fifth Community Library. The Vusindaba Community is ecstatic about the news. We hope to begin the construction of the Library in the second part of 2015.

Noah’s Ark and Asifunde ECD Teacher’s Training Centre news:

We are going to be extending Noah’s Ark and the Asifunde Training Centre. We plan to build, and equip, a new classroom, an ECD Resource Library and construct new outdoor play equipment. Nedbank has funded this initiative. This will, we believe, broaden our ECD training base, as we will be able to accommodate new students and offer an ECD Resource Centre/Library from which our Rural Crèches can draw Educational Toys and Supplies, on loan.

Pierre Horn

 

Director’s Annual Update 2014

2014 has been a very busy and extremely rewarding year for all at FLP. Our work has expanded to include 5 new schools in our Nal’ibali Reading Clubs, additional bereavement counselling groups in Stepmore and Lotheni, new drama groups in Bomvini and Mkhohlwa, Peace Clubs in all of our child to child groups, new Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting material developed and piloted in the FLP adult groups, new Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting groups trained in the Underberg and Himeville low-income housing developments, and the very exciting development and writing of traditional African Stories and re-versioning of existing stories, in the Mpumlwane and Ndodeni groups, as part of the African Storybook Project pilot programme. We were happy to receive a wonderful donation of 3244 Zulu books from New Readers Publishers in response to a proposal mailed to them. Rotary SA has made a wonderful contribution of Wonderbags to all of the staff and group members of FLP. These are already being put to good use, with some of the group members recording a 40% drop in their fuel usage when they cook.

Below is a list of the other highlights:

1. Dlalanathi Bereavement Groups: Through the Support of the Solon Foundation and Children’s Chance for Life, Xolani Mofokeng, Nompumelelo Mbokazi and Zinhle Mbanjwa continue to work with numerous groups of 8 children at a time, over an 8 week period. The children, all identified by the schools and communities, are taken through a counselling programme that helps them process their loss. Use is made of various techniques such as role play, puppets, narratives, drama, writing activities such as the “Book of Loss” and the collection of mementos for a memory box. Often additional counselling is required and then Xolani and his crew counsel individuals, for as long as necessary, in order to assist them to overcome their emotional difficulties. What is astounding is that the number of children affected by loss, through death of loved ones, family members, siblings and parents, rape and abuse, continue to overwhelm us. We work according to a triage system where the neediest, according to school and community, are counselled first. We are, unfortunately, unable to meet all of the needs simultaneously due to the sheer volume of children requiring intervention. The families, schools and communities continue to provide us with favourable feedback regarding the intervention with comments such as, “the teachers told me that she has changed in school work and she is much better than before” the children generally start off by not “wanting to talk about their loss and we try by all means to gain their trust because it was like they don’t trust anyone” and by the end of the programme, “they become strong enough to talk freely about their problems.”

2. African Storybook Project: Zimbili Dlamini, as coordinator for this pilot programme, has worked tirelessly to collect traditional folk tales and traditional stories from her group members. She has, along with Sheila Drew and Jill Frow, conducted various storytelling and story writing workshops for the 2 FLP Adult Groups she facilitates. We are happy to announce that Zimbili and her groups have met all programme deadlines and produced stories of a high standard. We are excited about the possibilities that this programme has for getting traditional stories into print poor environments.

3. Children’s Chance for Life: In addition to the other projects CCFL supports, they continue to provide invaluable support to rural farm schools. Their “Whole School Programme” has, in addition to upgrading School facilities in Farm Schools, seen qualifying candidates receive support to attend schools and colleges. There are currently FET College students and University students on the programme. One student, Phumla Ngcobo, is in her third year at Rhodes, studying Journalism. Lungisani Zondi, one of the Senior School students that has been on bursary since Grade R, has recently been selected to attend the Maritime Academy in Cape Town, on a full scholarship.

4. Generation Joy Foundation USA: We continue to work very closely with Generation Joy in their drives to collect educational supplies for the schools we work in, the students we support and the Adult Groups. After their visit to FLP in July 2014, they are working tirelessly to acquire sets of ECD Educational items for all of the Home Visitors at FLP and in the Community Work Programme, Government Partnership we provide support for. Generation Joy has engaged a preschool and is encouraging their children and parents to collect all of the items required for the Home Visitors bags which will ensure an enriched educational experience for all homes visited. They are also collecting Educational toys for our libraries, which may be borrowed by the Home Visitors to assist them when they visit homes with 0-6 year olds residing in them. In addition, they have provided bursaries to vulnerable orphans, in order for them to be able to attend school. I have been invited to visit them next year in order to speak at various schools and colleges about the Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting Programme and the partnership that we are currently engaged in with Government and the Community Work Programme.

5. Nal’ibali: The Nal’ibali Reading Clubs are vibrant groups of children that have such a hunger for reading. I love visiting the groups in the schools that we partner with, in order to watch the FLP Facilitators enthral the youngsters with their storytelling expertise. The Facilitators use a variety of methods to bring to life the various stories that they tell. I have seen puppet shows, dramatizations and role play where groups of children in the audience sit, enthralled to the point where one could hear a pin drop! The new groups that FLP has started continue to develop and grow more and more enthusiastic about reading, with each weekly Nal’ibali Reading Club meeting.

6. The new FLP Kwabhidla Community Library: The members of the Ingonyama Trust that oversee the property on which the new FLP Library is to be built have given us full approval to go ahead. I recently met with a delegation of Kwabhidla community members and the Ingonyama Trust Surveyors in order peg out the boundaries for the Library grounds. We are extremely grateful to the Daitz Foundation and Project Build for their support in this initiative. We are optimistic that construction of FLP’s newest Community Library will begin in 2015.

7. Khulisa Abantwana Home Visiting: The programme continues to run very successfully in all of the FLP groups, with 2 additional areas being included in 2014. Zimbili Dlamini and Florence Molefe have, in 2014, trained a group of new Home Visitors from the Underberg and Himeville area in the KwaSani Municipality. The group has been actively involved in the 2 “townships” visiting families of neighbours and others that have children of 0-6 years old residing in them. The programme has been a success and new insights have been learned about how “urban”, township groups differ from the deep rural groups where FLP has conducted Home Visits since the Project’s inception.

Xolani Mofokeng and Jacqueline Horn continue to conduct training for all of the FLP Facilitators in the new Khulisa Manual that Snoeks and Jacqueline co-wrote. It has been very encouraging to see the Home Visitors embracing this new emotional intelligence and psycho-social material that we have developed.

A recent evaluation of the Programme, conducted by Jill Frow, highlighted the success of the initiative. Altogether 53 adults and 81 children participated. The adults comprised both grandmothers and young mothers – the primary carers in each household. The programme took the form of activities, games and refreshments, all of which promoted interaction and facilitated evaluative feedback from the participants. The Purpose of the evaluation was both research for the FLP team and learning through play, for the participants:

  •  To assess what the carers had learned from the Khulisa Abantwana programme which had brought about change in their caring behaviour;
  • To find out what else the householders would like to learn about;
  • To find out if carers could think about taking initiative by arranging events for their toddlers without FLP.

What emerged is that the Khulisa Abantwana programme is bringing about change at many levels. This study showed that the carers have understood and are practising parenting concepts, ranging from healthy diet and immunization to the importance of spending quality time with their toddlers, using every opportunity to communicate words and skills. The study also paints a picture for us, of young children who were vulnerable, but whose ‘buckets are now being filled’.

8. Libraries: The libraries and their resources continue to be well cared for, the facilities are open and welcoming to the communities they serve. Now that Repairs and upgrades have been done at Stepmore and Lotheni Libraries, everyone feels even more proud of this communal facility. Children continue to visit the library where our Library Assistants and Facilitators encourage them to divide their time outdoors on the jungle gyms and indoors listening engaging in the planned activities such as reading and listening to stories, playing games and building puzzles.

9. School Support Programme: Nompies Mbokazi and Zinhle Mbanjwa provide much support to the children in the respective Schools where they are working. Nompies, a Grade 1 Educator at Goxhill farm School bases all of her “curricular CAPS work” upon the emphasis of developing sound reading skills. The new playground equipment we built is complete. The Generation Joy Foundation kindly supported the construction of the playground.

Zinhle continues to work in the Underberg School Mastery Unit, where she supports reading and writing with additional language learners. In addition, she provides Psycho Social Support for students in the Hostel where she resides and ensures that they receive all of the support necessary to keep them healthy and happy.

10. Drama: Xolani Mofokeng currently runs 2 drama groups in Underberg and Himeville Low Income housing developments, and 2 drama groups in Bomvini and Mkhohlwa and . The 70+ preteen and teens in these groups meet twice weekly and develop and perform skits and dramas written and produced by themselves, reflecting the issues that they face in the community, school and home. The groups have performed at community events as well as at local schools when invited to do so. The group from Bomvini raised money and travelled to Underberg to meet their FLP Drama fellow groups and put on a full Saturday of Dramas. It was a wonderful event with much being learnt in the process. The same group is competing in an Umzimkulu Municipal community Drama competition this month.

11. Soccer Clubs: Our boys and girls teen soccer clubs have, once again, had a successful year with many of them competing in finals in the local community, as well as at inter-municipality tournaments. The 79 boys and girls train twice weekly and play matches on weekends.

12. Asifunde Sonke Teacher’s Training Centre: We have come to the end of a very busy but productive year for both Saturday and Wednesday groups. For the Saturday group the finish line is in sight. These 16 students have now completed 10 of 12 Unit Standards. As stated in previous Reports, these Unit Standards include 8 Care Components, 4 Elective Components and, for students without a Matric Certificate, 3 fundamental Unit Standards are added. Out of the class of 16 Saturday students, only five will have to complete these fundamental Unit Standards: Mathematical Literacy and Communication 1 and 2.

We plan to complete the Programme within the 2-year period as stated at registration.

The Wednesday Group of 21 will complete the fourth Care Unit Standard by the close of the year.

We enjoyed a Verification Visit by the Directors of the Teachers’ Training Centre (our service providers), Dr. Jennifer Calvert and Sandy Bauermeister, in August, who proclaimed themselves ‘bowled over’ by what they saw during their visit, being impressed with the standard of both Groups. The Portfolios of Evidence (POEs) have been assessed by the Service Provider in the work completed thus far and all students have been declared competent in the completed Unit Standards’ Assignments. The POEs are beautifully presented, evidence of the students’ hard work and motivation.

Our 37 students represent 35 schools in an area embracing Mqatsheni, Broteni, Stepmore, Himeville, Goxhill, Underberg and Creighton crèches. Once, these were merely “drop-off” points for toddlers and Grade R learners. Asifunde Sonke is making a difference in their Early Childhood Education and Development.

An independent on-site Workplace Assessment was conducted by Felicity in all schools represented on our Programme. Each student was assessed against criteria set by the TLC on their performance in the classroom, during a lesson presentation. The criteria included:

  • Lesson plan preparation
  • Achievement of outcomes;
  • Presentation of the lesson;
  • Resources used in the presentation;
  • Interaction with the class;
  • Strategies used in managing the learners during the lesson.

The students all achieved well during the assessment and were declared competent in their Workshop Assessment. This evidence is included in their POEs for final verification by SAQA, SETA and E.T.Diploma.

The School in a Box concept continues to make a difference in the standards of teaching in the crèches which qualified for this resource.

LEVEL 5

A Level 5 Course will commence in 2015, after all 16 Saturday students have completed and graduated with their Level 4 qualification. We also plan to offer another Level 4 Class next year, as the need arises. This will depend on funding.

REFLECTION

I continue to enjoy being a part of this wonderful opportunity of making a difference in Early Childhood Development

“A good head and a good heart are a formidable combination, but add to that a literate tongue and you have something very special.” Nelson Mandela

13. Key-Hole Gardens: The FLP group’s 15 Demonstration Gardens are all greened up again. The gardens were very successful last year. Florence Molefe, one of our coordinators, oversees this project and procures the array of seedlings the gardens require in order to deliver a variety of nutrients necessary for healthy growth of children. The groups do all of the preparation of their gardens and collect manure and compost that is dug in, in anticipation of the seedlings. The vegetables that are grown are then shared equally amongst all that contribute to the garden in some way.

14. Transactional Analysis Coordinators Training: Karen Pratt, an international Trainer, with vast experience in NGO’s, conducted a certified training course for all of the FLP Coordinators. Transactional Analysis is a set of concepts that systematically facilitate personal growth and change. It develops improved communication in organisations, where staff are encouraged and trained, to communicate more freely across all levels of management. This type of communication fosters a move away from a hierarchical type of management to more of a collaborative style. Transactional Analysis uses an easily accessible language to describe and understand experience and behaviour.

The responses from the coordinators is that they felt extremely liberated as a result of their personal growth in the process. A synopsis of some of their summations at the conclusion of the training:

 “I have grown so much and know myself better”

 “I now know how to communicate with the Facilitators better”

 “My egogram helps me to understand myself”

 “I will complete an egogram with all of the staff so that they can     understand themselves better”

 “This has helped me grow so much”

 “I will be able to solve problems much better now, with the tools we have been provided.”

In closing, I would like to thank all of the supporters and friends that have taken an interest in our unique and extraordinary project. The year that I have spent at the helm of FLP, has been made so rewarding for myself and my fellow workers. May you have a blessed Festive season.

Regards,

Pierre Horn

 

Director’s Mid Year Update June 2014

The first half of the year has been a very busy time with lots of visitors and training, in addition to constantly meeting in order to engage the coordinators and facilitators in assisting us to explore ways to seamlessly merge the two projects and the work that they do, without compromising the identity and value of the work that was previously done by the two separate projects. In addition to this, which I must add is progressing very productively, I am adapting to an office bound approach, while I grapple with funding proposals and the unique reporting requirements each funder requires. It has been a steep learning curve that continues to engage me, yet I relish the wonderful opportunities that this merger has provided for us to meet more needs and share the valuable learnings each project can put bring to the table.

Partnerships and Pilots:

FLP constantly looks at ways in which we can forge partnerships with other NGO’s as well as development organisations in order to develop more variation and at the same time, extend the expertise and reach of FLP. Our current partnerships are with the following organisations:

The African Storybook Project: (ASP) – The reading literacy levels of most of the continent’s children, after the foundation phase of schooling are far from adequate, both in providing the basic ability to read as well as the literacy necessary to proceed to the next level of schooling. There are many reasons for this.

One of the fundamental lessons learned from the FLP Rural Libraries, whether they be box libraries, or the actual library buildings that we have built, is that one of the key obstacles to learning to read is the paucity of appropriate stories for early reading in languages familiar to young African children. Since the majority of young Africans have very little to read in familiar languages, they often do not learn to read well, or enjoy reading as much as they could. This in turn means that there is not a market for African language books and publishers cannot afford to produce many such books. So young learners end up with very little to read and the cycle often continues.

FLP is constantly engaged in sourcing the most appropriate books in order to nurture the love of reading, amongst children as well as adults. The success we have experienced in developing a love for reading, individually and as a shared pleasure, has required a constant “search and source” for good material, that will provide the necessary stimulation to keep this love of reading sustained.

The FLP provision and administration of Rural Libraries, along with the story telling and writing workshops that we run, allowed for the African Storybook

Project and FLP to develop a partnership and agree that FLP will pilot the use and development of the stories used for the open source Project. FLP and ASP encourage the development and nurture, within the FLP Groups, of collecting and translating local stories. This extremely exciting venture is well underway and we are very excited about the inclusion of stories that FLP has translated and versioned, as well as stories that are currently being collected in our groups.

Nal’ibali reading for pleasure initiative – FLP has 27 children’s reading clubs and 1 teen club for research purposes – 637 children in total. Children love making their own books from the Avusa supplements, and Phumy Zikode, our literacy coordinator, produces learning units that our facilitators use in their Reading Club sessions. The Nal’ibali website and the supplements are full of ideas on how to get children reading, writing and telling stories. We are very proud to announce that a total of 1150 Children from our various FLP groups participated in the National Read Aloud Day, on 5 March. In addition, Nal’ibali runs workshops for our Facilitators in order to “spark” them into running the most interactive reading clubs for children that one can imagine. We have children absolutely enthralled at these sessions!

The Community Work Programme – We are training 175 women as home visitors in Sisonke District in the Community Works Programme. We have been shocked to see that there are still so many children who are living in extremely difficult circumstances within our district. We train small groups of 15 women once a month, so we have opportunity to work closely with them over time to ensure they are learning, developing, and constantly improving the quality of their work with families. Jill Frow, Zimbili Dlamini and Florence Molefe continue to do a wonderful job working with these women who have no ECD background.

The Valley Trust – we are still currently training coordinators and facilitators to run adult groups in their catchment. The groups are trained in family literacy and the Reflect approach, to equip them to work with adults. Chris Gibson continues to cover the IMCI materials.

Save Act – Our partnership with Save Act is flourishing. They have started training further FLP groups as well as other community groups in the area. Save Act recently appointed a field worker that is dedicated to the Sisonke Municipal region. They make use of our Resource Centre for all of their local training and meetings. This has allowed them to use the central venue for training. It assists them to work very productively and they have access to our resources. Five FLP network groups have been successfully running their savings club for the past three years.

Africa!Ignite Story Tents – This innovative project is travelling around KZN visiting provincial libraries, erecting a story tent for a week at a time, in order to encourage people to visit the libraries and participate in a variety of literacy related activities. Phumy Zikode, the FLP Library Coordinator, will train their staff to read to children.

Uthando Doll Makers – Uthando Dolls, has continued their support for FLP by donating dolls for the Khulisa CWP groups. Georgia Efford, the founder of Uthando Doll Project, is also currently working on dolls, with Australian doll makers, for our Dlalanathi Bereavement groups. We continue to be deeply touched by these volunteer doll makers, who give so freely of their time and resources to make beautiful, soft black dolls for our children.

Peace Club Initiative – We are running very successful Peace Clubs with our children. We are finding that they are being challenged to resolve conflicts peacefully by providing them with the requisite skills necessary to enable this. Phumy Zikode writes the units for the Peace Clubs, and these are then used in conjunction with the Peace Club Manuals to learn and practice the necessary skills that provide the necessary platform for them to learn new skills, exchange experiences, teach others and apply the knowledge of peace in their everyday life. Sharon Kotze, who heads up the Peace Club initiative in SA, will be continuing the FLP training, in order to ensure that our Facilitators remain Peace Ambassadors.

Khulisa Underberg – The Grindrod Family Centenary Trust has supported an ambitious programme where they have co-funded the development of new material for the home visiting programme, where there is new material included on health and nutrition as well as psychosocial skills for parents. Snoeks Desmond has co developed this material and we are very excited to begin piloting this in the existing FLP groups in the second half of 2014.

In addition to this, a pilot home visiting programme is being conducted in the Underberg and Himeville RDP housing developments. The programme is progressing well, with a lot of “new learning” emerging from the pilot. We are striving to have lots of homes in the township benefiting from the ECD skills that the home visitors bring.

Generation Joy Foundation – We are very happy to be hosting the Gen Joy Foundation during July. The partnership that we have forged over the past 10 years has seen us extend our programmes to include many schools and areas we would not have been in a position to assist were it not for their selflessness. We will supply Sports Uniforms to our teen sport’s groups, conduct training with the FLP facilitators and Coordinators, local educators as well as community members, in counselling skills. Two Psychologists will conduct these workshops in order to build upon our psychosocial programme that we already offer.

The stationery, art supplies and school resources that they provide and ship to SA through the generosity of Children’s Chance for Life, assists all of our partner schools to ensure that no child lacks the material resources to participate completely in the school programme.

Plans for the second half of the year:

– ASP African storytelling and gathering workshops in Ndodeni, Mpumlwane and Underberg;

– Nal’ibali Storytelling workshop Underberg;

– Implementation of Psychosocial Groups in Stepmore and Lotheni;

– Drama skills, role playing workshops in Lotheni,

– Generation Joy Psychosocial skills workshop – ‘Counselling skills for 0-16 year olds’;

– Generation Joy School’s Intervention visit;

– Host Peace Club and Save Act training;

– Underberg School Mastery Unit training.

Pierre Horn

Director

 

 

Jacqueline Horn completes two years at UniZul

jacquelineJacqueline Horn, who conducts research and training for FLP, has completed two years study at the University of Zululand.  It is great to have her back in Underberg full time.  Jacqueline will finalise her Masters in Education (Educational Psychology) – for which she evaluated a Grief Intervention Programme in the KwaSani Municipal Area KZN) – in a couple of months.