Lively Minds ECD, Advocacy & Systems Change Manager Jobs in South Africa

Lively Minds ECD, Advocacy & Systems Change Manager Jobs in South Africa

About us

Our mission is to get preschool children in rural Africa to thrive. At present over 250 million children worldwide fail to receive the education and care they need in their early years which means they are less likely to do well in school, find gainful employment, and are at greater risk of early marriage, early parenthood and even criminality. Current approaches to solving this crisis are not proving effective or scalable in low & middle income countries.

That’s where Lively Minds comes in. We have developed an award-winning Early Childhood Development programme that has been proven through randomised control trial to improve cognitive and socio-emotional skills and reduce malnutrition for pre-schoolers in hard-to-reach communities, so they have a greater chance of succeeding in school and in life.

The programme provides marginalised Mothers with a parenting course that empowers them to run educational Play Schemes for pre-schoolers and to provide better home-based care, using cheap local resources. In addition, we started a radio programme for parents during COVID and this has now become a permanent fixture.

The programme is delivered through government partners, is cheap and highly scalable. It genuinely has the potential to play a transformative role in ending the global ECD crisis.

We are extremely proud that the Government of Ghana have now adopted the programme and we have a ground-breaking partnership with them to support them to institutionalise it, fund it and to scale it to 60 education districts, reaching over 4000 communities and 1million children.

In addition, an award-winning international research team are conducting a further randomised control trial to help us understand its impacts at scale.

Up till now our focus has been to maximise our impact by delivering our programme at scale. But we are now turning our attention to how we can bring about impact indirectly, through advocacy, dissemination, and systems-change work.

About the role

There's an urgent global need to improve early childhood care and education for preschoolers in hard-to-reach rural communities. The dominant ECD approach for the pre-primary years is to invest in a professional workforce & formal pre-primary provision.

However, whilst important, this approach does not offer a complete solution. It tends to prioritise “schooling” over learning, does not always cater for holistic child development and wellbeing and overlooks
the home-setting, which is a where a child spends the majority of their time. This approach also requires significant infrastructure, personnel, training, is unaffordable and is slow to scale particularly to rural settings.

We believe that marginalised rural parents are the untapped solution. We can showcase how to tap the enormous potential of rural parents as ECD providers. 92% of parents in our programme have less than 2 years of primary education. They are not paid for their work on the programme, nor are they provided with materials or infrastructure.

We prove that with light-touch support parents and communities are willing and able to bring about significant improvements in their children’s development. And this approach has many other benefits for the parents and communities.

We are seeking to bring about a paradigm shift in the sector by influencing global ECD policy-makers, funders and practitioners, so that they adopt, fund and replicate more parent-focussed pre-primary solutions.

We are recruiting an ECD, Advocacy & System Change manager to lead this exciting work. We are looking for a postholder who already has a deep understanding of the ECD crisis in lower & middle income countries and is passionate about finding effective parent-led solutions.

You will be expected to disseminate our learnings, approaches and advocacy positions widely and influence global ECD system, practices and policies, generating benefit for millions of children and parents.

You must come with strong grasp of the existing ECD academic research and assessment tools. You must be able to interpret new policies, results/data (generated by us and by others) and identify opportunities and lessons that we can apply in our programme and in our strategic communications. And you must be willing to learn, adapt and innovate.

How to Apply

For more information and job application details, see; Lively Minds ECD, Advocacy & Systems Change Manager Jobs in South Africa

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