Donors Launch New Innovation Fund to Catalyse Change in Early Learning in SA: The Innovation Edge

Several national and international donors have joined forces to inspire and enable bold new initiatives with the potential to transform early learning access and quality in South Africa. Bold ideas for early learning are invited from all sectors and may include anything from new delivery models or smarter financing mechanisms to innovation in the use of technology for training, early learning activities or parent interaction.
 
The Innovation Edge is part of a R90 million programme called Ilifa Labantwana. It was launched through a multi-donor consortium including the Ilifa funding partners - DG Murray Trust, the FirstRand Foundation, ELMA Foundation, UBS Optimus Foundation - and the Omidyar Network.
 
“The Innovation Edge will enable Ilifa to explore new frontiers in early learning that can then be incorporated into bigger programmes” says Sherri Le Mottee, programme leader of Ilifa Labantwana.
 
The focus of the Innovation Edge is on children from birth to six years living in marginalised communities. “Less than a quarter of preschool children in South Africa have the benefit of quality early learning programmes”, says Sonja Giese, founding director of the Innovation Edge. “The prospect of exposing every child to creative learning experiences in their first few years of life is a major opportunity to reshape educational outcomes in South Africa.”
 
The fund builds on growing global interest in early childhood development as scientific findings have converged on its importance for education, economic productivity and social stability.  “The Edge provides a platform to test the feasibility and effectiveness of innovations that will help to realise the enormous potential of South Africa’s young children", says Giese.  “We want to bring new ways of thinking to early learning by creating opportunities for people with diverse skills and experience to join the call to action.”
 
For more information or to submit an idea for consideration, refer to www.innovationedge.org.za. Alternatively, email: sonja@innovationedge.org.za.

 

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