Changing the trajectory of young lives
The Western Cape has an estimated 102 000 births each year. Sadly, over half of these children are born into circumstances of poverty, food insecurity and adversity which negatively impact on their development and future success.
At Common Good, we’re passionate about impacting these – the very youngest and most vulnerable members of our society – by equipping and empowering churches to support mothers, fathers, and caregivers to provide the necessary building block of love, nutrition, stimulation, health and safety during this critical phase of life.
The first thousand days - an incredible opportunity
The first thousand days of a child’s life, from conception to two years old, is a critically sensitive period of rapid growth and change. This window of development sets the foundation for a child to reach his or her potential. Optimal development depends on the availability of supportive and nurturing environments in the earliest months and years of a child’s life.
There is overwhelming evidence that the first thousand days provides both a challenge and a powerful and transformational opportunity to improve the well-being and long-term life prospects of the most vulnerable children in society.
The church is uniquely positioned and equipped to make a significant impact in the first thousand days
In 2017, we embarked on a rigorous, year-long research project that sought to determine what contribution the local church could make in support of the first thousand days. We engaged with a wide variety of stakeholders, from church pastors and denominational leaders, to laity, NGO practitioners, and experts in the field of FTD. Nearly 200 participants took part in the research process, which included workshops, interviews, an online survey, and a literature review.
We found that there is enormous and in part untapped potential within the local church to make a positive impact in the first thousand days. By practically showing love, kindness and empathy to mothers, fathers, carers and youngest of children within our communities, we can make a significant contribution towards the flourishing of young lives.
The final report aims to assist local churches in responding to this life phase, and will shape Common Good’s Early Life initiatives in the years to come.
The First Thousand Days offers a unique and invaluable window of opportunity to secure the optimal development of the child, and by extension, the positive developmental trajectory of a country.