Social Development Assists Struggling ECDs

Social Development decided to use R496 million to assist the Early Childhood Development sector as part of their relief measures to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on the sector.

 

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On Friday, the Social Development Department released a statement announcing that the budget allocation, known as the Early Childhood Development Stimulus Relief Fund (ECD-ESRF), is part of sustaining and creating employment opportunities in the sector, in light of the high unemployment rate and job losses occasioned by the pandemic.

“In response to the President’s call, the national Department of Social Development developed and submitted a project proposal to National Treasury to access funding from the Presidential Employment Stimulus package for the ECD sector," said the department.

The proposal is focused on employment protection in the sector, employment creation, stopping the spread of the virus, and registration rollout for ECD programmes.

With the help of the relief fund, the ECDs will be able to avoid permanent closure and cover their financial costs, such as employee salaries.

The department and other provincial departments have been developing on a digital application platform and rollout plan.

All types of ECD programmes, including centre and non-centre-based programmes, are eligible for the ECD stimulus package.

“Furthermore, organisations that run, manage or oversee multiple centres and non-centre-based ECD services may also apply,” said the department.

It also noted that while the funding is aimed at subsidising the cost of employment for ECD services and ECD services that are applying, support applications can only be made by the operator of the ECD service and not individual staff members.

“In other words, ECD services will be making the application on behalf of their staff, with qualifying staff, including ECD practitioners, cooks, administrators and all other types of ECD employees. ECD services can only use the funds to subsidise the cost of employment for staff presently employed within the ECD service."

The department explained that “Only one application per ECD service can be made, as multiple applications may result in delays in processing applications. For ECD services that are applying and who are not currently operational (i.e. have not reopened owing to COVID-19), they will need to make a commitment to reopen within 60 days of receipts of funds”.

The value of the support provided through the stimulus package will be a maximum of up to R4 470 per staff member, made as a once-off payment, given that the allocation is R496 million.

There will be a limit of up to four staff members for ECD centres and up to one staff member for non-centre based ECD services that will be eligible for support.

If the number of applications is more or fewer than the budget available, the department said it may review the payment amounts to the ECD services accordingly.

All ECD services who have participated in the DSD-led Vangasali campaign are encouraged to apply for this programme.  

Before making an application, applicants must ensure that they have a banking account under the name of the ECD service.

ECD services that do not currently receive funding from Provincial Social Development will need to be registered on the Central Supplier Database (CSD), which can be done via the link https://secure.csd.gov.za/Account/Register.

The registration number generated from the CSD database will be required for the stimulus application. 

For any enquiries and further information, ECD services may call the contact centre using the toll-free number 08000 89 666, or visit the website: www.dsd.gov.za

The applications opened on 5 February 2021 and will close on 19 February 2021 at 11:59 pm.

The Department of Social Development is supported by Govchat to receive all applications online.

To complete an application, please follow the link https://govchat.app or copy it into your browser.

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