We have presented our work at various conferences and events in 2011:
- The BALID/British Council/PRAESA Common goals, shared purpose conference 24-25 January
- REading campaign meeting hosted by the DG Murray Trust 12 May
- The 7th Pan-African Reading-for-All Conference, University of Botswana 11 – 14 July
- Education and Development third year students, University of KwaZulu-Natal, 22 August
- Reading ASsociation of South Africa KwaZulu-Natal meeting, 24 August
In November 14 members from Golang Kulani (GK) in Limpopo visited our FLP sites around Underberg and Centocow to learn about our home visiting programme. Zimbili Dlamini and Florence Molefe then returned to Limpopo with our visitors to run a week-long Introduction to Family Literacy workshop with GK staff. By all accounts this was a very successful cross visit between our two organisations – learning about each other’s approaches and work – and the seeds have been planted for further collaboration between us. Our thanks to CDRA for supporting this initiative and to the Bernard van Leer Foundation for funding.
The end-of-year event held on 10 December from 10h00 to 13h30 was a wonderful celebration of FLP’s work amongst the communities whom it serves. The Bulwer Community Hall was packed with around 250 group and network members, the director, coordinators, facilitators, speakers and guests. Joyce Ndolovu welcomed everyone and opened the event with prayer and Zimbili Dlamini directed the ceremonies with great skill and humour.
Highlights of the event were the presentations of song and dance by all the groups. These were not only entertaining but educational, carrying important messages for all South Africans and in addition, expressing gratitude to the project and to the communities in which the members live and work. A feature of the presentations was the traditional high kicking for which there was a lot of audience encouragement as well as some impromptu participation.
Guest speakers were Beatrice Mbhele of Operation Upgrade and Didi Makhanya from Save Act who has been working with groups in the network. After the presentations, certificates were presented to group members who had passed exams, there was an exchange of gifts and a substantial lunch followed the closing prayer of a fulfilling day.
As a result of the generosity of East Coast Radio and its listeners, every group member was presented with a bag of toys to take home to the children.
This week we received 900 gifts for children who participate in our programmes – our thanks to Rotary and East Coast Radio’s Toy Story campaign which involves the public in donating toys at Christmastime to orphans and vulnerable children in KwaZulu-Natal. We are really thrilled to be in a position to distribute these gifts in ten villages close to Underberg, Bulwer, Creighton and Mzimkulu. We’ll post photos on the website soon.
On 18 and 19 Ocotober, Zimbili Dlamini, Snoeks Desmond and Lynn Stefano will attend the ELRU ECD Heritage event to be held in Cape Town. We’ll join Bernard van Leer Foundation partners from South Africa, who are participating in a research project into traditional and local knowledge and practices of child care and development, to present our findings.
Phumy Zikode, our adult literacy coordinator, is attending a Reflect Monitoring and Evaluation workshop in Zimbabwe from 14 to 23 October. The workshop is sponsored by dvv international, and brings together experienced Reflect trainers from the SADC region. Phumy will bring back valuable learnings about how to use Reflect PRA tools for monitoring purposes.
FLP’s facilitators are reporting that children are arriving at the community libraries and facilitators’ homes daily to play, read and learn while schools are closed during the public service strike. We are very pleased that they have this option, as we believe that children should never be disadvantaged while adults sort out their differences.
In July we started working in four new villages in the Sisonke District: LuPhongolo and Bovini in Mzimkulu and Nkumba and Sun City near Bulwer in Ingwe. The facilitators, chosen by their communities, attended an introductory REFLECT training week with FLP’s Phumy Zikode and Tholakele Mkhize, and are now setting up their groups and gathering baseline data to help us monitor the impact of their work over time.
All our old information will be available on our new website within the next few weeks. We have added pages to acknowledge our donors and to provide details for you to support our work. Soon we will include information on our new initiative - the Family Literacy Network – and our partnership with Save Act. You can post comments and link to the RSS feeds which alert you to new postings. We look forward to hearing from you. Lynn Stefano