Involvement of the Roger Federer Foundation

Since 2010, the Roger Federer Foundation is partnering with the South African organisation READ. At the end of 2015, the third phase of the successful programme “Growing to READ” started in the Giyani District of Limpopo Province. This will increase the overall investment of the Roger Federer Foundation in ECD to a total of CHF 1,370,000. The aim is to provide children in rural areas of South Africa with access to quality early childhood care and education as this level of education is not yet compulsory in the country. Since its beginning, the programme has improved the quality of early services in 40 preschools, so called crèches.

The approach and initiative have been evaluated externally; the results can be summarised as follows:

  • The evaluators confirmed that the design is highly relevant to the needs of ECD centres.
  • The impact study report, evaluation observations, and interviews showed that children from our ECD centers performed much better in terms of child development impact indicators than children who attended other ECDCs.
  • In terms of having a systemic approach to addressing ECD, the strength of the Growing to READ model is that it intervenes at the level of the ECD centre and caregivers.
  • ECD caregivers show higher knowledge and skills and are implementing aspects of the READ methodology, although to varying degrees. The shifts, particularly concerning the use of daily programmes, themes, lesson plans, and assessments is highly commendable given that the majority of ECD caregivers report not having done these before.
  • ECD center staff has learnt to work together as a team. ECD staff/management in the majority of sites has improved their facilities, independently of READ; this suggests that there is more value for ECD and commitment to provide good quality ECD support.
  • There have been significant positive outcomes for parents, including an improved sense of responsibility for their children’s early development. Parents have improved the level of stimulation at home as well as the way that they engage with their children.
  • Despite the positive points mentioned above, there is room for improvement on the level of collaboration with the community and government. Other challenges related to training are the transport costs and the availability of training materials in English.

Due to encouraging results, the Board of the Roger Federer Foundation has approved another phase for two years of the programme, which will reach out to 45 new crèches. An additional component will be the establishment of an activity center in the catchment area of the crèches. The impact goals and intended outcomes in the 45 crèches are:

  • 10% improvement in students' performance (READ learner assessment tool)
  • 40% improvement in practitioner knowledge and skills to enhance early literacy in young pre-school learners
  • At least 80% of the trained content implemented by all trained practitioners
  • 80% of the practitioners effectively using the toys and materials provided
  • New activities as a result of regular meetings between crèche owners and primary schools
  • New contacts with at least two new stakeholders resulting in two formal meetings a year

The impact goals and outcomes for the activity center are:

  • 10% increase in learners’ language skills (reading and language assessment)
  • 50% of parents will have increased their knowledge on enriching home environment to support children’s language and literacy development (self-assessment questionnaire)
  • 80% of participating practitioners implementing new curriculum and other aspects presented (self-assessment questionnaire)
  • 10% of practitioners being lead practitioners (of higher quality so that they can assist others) and presenting to peers at the end of the programme
  • 90% of participating practitioners building a professional development group at the end of the programme

Our implementing partner READ

Read Educational Trust is a non-governmental organisation active in rural and town schools in South Africa. Read enables the further training of teachers, and provides the schools with material. The teachers are trained how to use resources for teaching children to read and write, and are taught the options of effectively integrating these into lessons. Furthermore, Read trains carers as part of the programme for the benefit of children’s early development, and provides them with educational material and toys. Read was established in 1979 and, since then, has continued to develop. Read’s first project was providing schools in Soweto with libraries. Today, Read works in close cooperation with the education ministry, private donors and schools in order to stem the crisis in the field of education in South Africa.


South Africa Facts

47.2 Mio
Compulsory education
7-16 years
Enrolment ratio
primary 89%, secondary 62%
Illiteracy rate
12% of children under 5 are undernourished

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