Eswatini is a landlocked kingdom, bordered in the North, West and South by the Republic of South Africa and by Mozambique in the East. Eswatini has four separate geographical regions. These run from North to South and are determined by altitude. Eswatini has a wide variety of landscapes, from the mountains along the Mozambican border to savannas in the east and rain forest in the northwest. Several rivers flow through the country, such as the Great Usutu River. (Source: Wikipedia)
Starting in 2020, Nhaka Foundation is proud to be working in Eswatini (Swaziland) to provide support to the country as it rolls out strategies in the education and early childhood development sectors. Our experience and team expertise in community development, education, early childhood development and teacher training amongst others provides an excellent foundation for the work we are rolling out in Eswatini. As we began working in Eswatini, we asked ourselves, how do we begin our programming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that had forced schools to close and early childhood development programs to stop operating in Eswatini?
The result: Virtual Conference on Early Childhood Care and Development in Eswatini 2021 Theme: “Re-imagining ECCD in Eswatini - Past, Present and Future”
The Nhaka Eswatini team thought it was time to convene a virtual early childhood development (ECD) conference to discuss how to move the sector forward post the COVID-19 pandemic. We then partnered with the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office, the Eswatini Early Childhood Development Network, the Southern Africa Nazarene University and other stakeholders to organize the conference. This virtual conference then focused on bringing together country ECD stakeholders and development partners to re-imagine early childhood care and development in Eswatini. One of the objectives of the conference was to learn about the challenges confronted by government, academia, civil society and the communities in providing integrated ECD services to young children.
For Nhaka Foundation, the conference also assisted us to have an enhanced understanding of the historical journey of the Education and ECD sector in Eswatini. Meetings and strengthen collaborations between various actors for improving access, quality, and inclusivity of ECD and special needs education in Eswatini.In compliance with COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the conference was held through a hybrid model with some participants joining in virtually whilst others were socially distanced in the conference venue.
Lessons learned and relationships developed are assisting us as we shape our Eswatini Country strategy.
At Nhaka Foundation we believe every child deserves an education, yet for many it’s more of a privilege than a right. The barriers are great and the resources are few.