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