Nhaka Foundation

Nhaka Foundation leads holistic interventions designed to support early childhood development (ECD) programming in primary schools. With its partners, Nhaka Foundation provides access to education, basic health care and daily sustenance for orphaned and vulnerable children, and supports the creation of physical environments conducive to learning.
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Year launched: 
2007
Launch country: 

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting
Primary Approach: 
Education level (ISCED): 

Location Data

State/Province: 
Mashonaland East Province
City: 
Goromonzi District
Geography type: 
Program Description: 

The Nhaka Foundation is a non-profit organization that works in primary schools to develop effective, innovative and holistic Early Childhood Development programs. The  program targets orphans and vulnerable children aged 0-8 years from low-income, rural communities by facilitating access to quality  ECD. Through the program old and run down classrooms are renovated and equipped with appropriate child size furniture in order to create a clean and safe environment for the children to play and learn. The program also supports playground construction, school feeding, health assessment, teacher and parenting training and a psycho-social support initiatives. Training programs are carried out for teachers, caregivers, parents and the general community to manage and run the ECD centers and care for their children. 

The program model is based on the challenges that have confronted the uptake and acceptance of ECD by parents across the country, which include:

  • Distances from the ECD centers - Many ECD children have to walk several kilometers to get to school and this places a high caloric burden on children who do not have access to enough food already adding to the nutritional deficit many children face. Parents thterefore often elect to keep younger children at home.
  • Negative parental perceptions about ECD, including a lack of safety in terms of poor or non-existent classrooms; untrained teachers (daycare vs. learning); no need for / unfamiliarity with the benefits of ECD; and a lack of involvement of the community   

The entry point of all intervention is through the classroom renovations and outdoor playgrounds where a clean and safe learning environment is created, conducive to learn and play in. The follow-up programs are designed specifically to facilitate retention of children in ECD classes as well as to ensure their transition from ECD to infant education right through to completion in grade 7.

The Teacher Training program ensures that teachers know what and how to teach and treat children at ECD level. The feeding program is ensure that children have all the nutrients they require in order to concentrate and have the energy to play. In the communities targeted, most children survive on less than two meals a day meaning a large number have to go to school and walk long distances on an empty stomach. The health program was introduced as a tool to establish a baseline for the children undergoing the feeding program and to monitor their growth and development on an ongoing basis. All these programs can only continue to work and be sustainable with the support of the communities. Parents are engaged on a continuous basis in parenting meetings and workshops while close relationships are established with community leaders who have a direct interest in their wellbeing of the inhabitants of their areas. This open communication with parents and the community allows for buy-in in the ECD program and they then become avid supporters of any programs the organization seeks to implement.

Highlighting Innovation: 
The program takes a holistic approach to a child's development at ECD level, focusing on learning environments, teacher competency, parent engagement, and more.
Key Challenges: 
Schools face the challenge of having untrained teachers in the ECD classes. Secondly, there's a shortage of resources to allow the children to learn and play in a safe and clean environments.