Saldanha Bay hosts first West Coast ECD Conference
Saldanha Bay Municipality, in collaboration with the Western Cape Government and West Coast District Municipality, hosted the first West Coast Early Childhood Conference at Protea Hotel in Saldanha from 23 – 24 May 2019.
Early Childhood Development (ECD) is the holistic, integrated development of a child during the first years of life in a socio-cultural (physical, social, emotional, spiritual, moral and intellectual development) context. Saldanha Bay Municipality plays a pivotal role in actively promoting a fair and just society that embodies respect, equity, community and active participation for all, especially children.
Evaluations of ECD have demonstrated that investments both monetary and intellectually, are among the most cost-effective investments a country, provincial government and local municipalities can make. It is also evident that ECD’s return on investment is higher than for any other age group intervention, largely due to it being proactive versus reactive and remedial at later stages in life. Further to these, investments in ECD enhances the child’s survival, growth and development.
The objective of the 2019 West Coast ECD Conference as a Whole of Society Approach (WoSA) initiative, was to improve the standard of service delivery to children, through developing a collaborative approach with local, provincial –
and national government, state-owned institutions, the private sector and civil society.
Delegates discussed the realities of and best practices of ECD, clarifying the municipality’s role in integrated development planning and policy development. The two-day event provided stakeholders with knowledge and practical tools to utilise in their respective organisations and communities to assist with facilitating the development of children between the ages of 0 – 7 years.
Saldanha Bay Municipality has been earmarked through the National Development Plan 2030 as a SIP 5 destination which entails large scale industrialisation, based primarily on the Port of Saldanha and the newly created Saldanha Bay Industrial Development Zone. The consequence of the above-mentioned will continue to result in an influx of people into the municipal area.
The outcomes of the conference through an integrated development planning approach via WoSA was to create an environment where children can grow, thrive and be able to be better prepared for their future roles and responsibilities as functioning, well-adjusted adults within the Saldanha Bay Municipal area.
The following West Coast Early Childhood Development Conference is scheduled to take place in 2021.
From left to right: “Niki Gaika (WC Department of Education), Alderman Eliza Steyn (Mayoral Committee Member: Community Development), Dr Lynette Rossouw (WC Department of Social Development), Alderman Marius Koen (Executive Mayor), Mandu Mallane (South African Local Government Association) and Abé du Plessis (Saldanha Bay Municipality)”.
This was achieved through focussing on:
- Improving stakeholder knowledge on developing a deeper understanding of the current state of ECD at national level, provincial level and more specifically within the Saldanha Bay Municipal area through a WoSA approach;
- Through the involvement of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), develop a better understanding of how municipalities should interpret the legal prescribed framework to support amendments to the Saldanha Bay Municipality ECD draft policy;
- Developing a Whole of Society Approach (WoSA) to the delivery of services targeted at children and families within the municipal area, through the participation of the Departments of Health, Social Development, Education and leading institutions within the field of ECD;
- Expenditure and budgeting reduction through sharing resources in service delivery, with the conference as a mechanism to advance towards an integrated approach to ECD services; and
- Red tape reduction in the land use and building control application process.