Social impact organisation Learn To Play this month officially doubled in scale to now provide free Early Childhood Development (ECD) in the form of community playgroups to 5 new playgroups in support of 6 new communities across Botswana. The new communities impacted include Pandamatenga, Bere, Kokotsha, Mabele, and Nata.
All but two of the new playgroups are operational, who will start their term in later this year. This brings the total number of play-based learning communities impacted to 11, with existing playgroups in Bontleng, Gopong, Kavimba, Kacgae, and Dukwi also continuing to support young hearts and minds between 2 and 5 years every day.
“We are thrilled to see this tremendous growth, for greater scale means greater impact as we strive to uplift more communities through play. This means more children across Botswana are accessing quality early learning and supported to develop, to learn, to grow and to thrive; in addition, more women – our Mamapreneurs – are equipped with tools, training and mentorship towards personal and financial independence in managing the playgroups. We’ve scaled from 17 to 35 Mamapreneurs now and with nearly 500 children in playgroups every day across Botswana, we’re harnessing the power of play to provide high quality and culturally relevant early childhood education,” said Priyanka Handa Ram, CEO of Learn To Play.
This month, 15 new Mamaprenuers received Learn To Play’s powerful ECD training, which includes learning about child protection, mindful play, creativity, LEGO programmes, playful literacy, early brain development, first-aid training and more. In addition, a full cohort of 35 Mamapreneurs received training on Learn To Play’s custom developed new school readiness tool which helps assess whether children are meeting their age-appropriate milestones. Each playgroup has also been provided with a smart tablet to streamline communication, with real-time monitoring and evaluation and digitised guides to run playgroups efﬁciently. This basic digital literacy training also serves to empower the Mamapreneurs towards a more digital future. Nominated by members of their community to run these playgroups, they will go on to ensure more hearts and minds in these communities are given a stronger chance to thrive, ultimately contributing to stronger social outcomes across the nation.
“The support of the Cash Bazaar Holdings (CBH) Group of companies including Chobe Safari Lodge and Nata Lodge made the training possible, and we are incredibly excited about the opportunities this new alliance brings. We are also so grateful to our wider and indeed long-term partners for making this scale of impact possible: Bere is made possible by Cheetah Conservation Botswana, with whom we also partner for the Kacgae playgroup. We also have tremendous support in Bere from the Bere Village Development Committee (VDC). Pandamatenga was made possible through partnership with the Chobe District Council, the Pandamatenga VDC and Chobe Safari Lodge. Nata has been brought to life courtesy of Nata Community Library and Nata Lodge, Training for Kokotsha has been completed and this playgroup is being established in collaboration with Tsabong District Council and the Kokotsha VDC respectively. It is a true testament to collaborating for progress!” noted Eashwar Ramesh, COO of Learn To Play.
Learn To Play has, in line with its diamond model for progress, also worked closely with Government and District Council officials, dikgosi and other community leaders. “It is because of their warm welcoming of what we can offer that we now see greater impact made possible,” Learn To Play Board Chair, Karen Clune notes. “This helps us all work together with passion, purpose and true botho at heart to create a sustainable cycle of transformation for the next generation of Batswana children, making a life-changing impact on their lives and the lives of families and communities across the country.”
Learn to Play harnesses the power of play to provide high quality and culturally relevant early childhood education. This is delivered at a child, caregiver and community level, working with mamapreneurs as the key change-agents in communities to create a sustainable framework for development. This new growth is testament to the scalable and replicable model for impact, working to build a brighter Botswana by uplifting one vibrant village at a time through a social impact model of paid early learning (through Little Einsteins nursery school) for early learning.