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.
‘It takes a village to raise a child’ – it is in the spirit of this saying that Sikunye has been chosen as the name for Common Good’s new Early Life initiative.
Meaning ‘We are together’ in isiXhosa, the word refers to the collective effort required to nurture young life and the importance of supportive relationships in achieving this.
Through Sikunye, we hope to build communities of care, where:
- A network of local churches, each bringing a unique set of skills and resources, can make a significant impact in young lives across the city;
- Congregants come alongside families in the first thousand days, to support and encourage them, and combat feelings of isolation typical to this period.
We will be launching the Sikunye website in the coming months. Please watch this space and connect with us if you would like to know more.
The Bay City Church is one of many missional churches in Cape Town who are seeking to become first-thousand-days friendly. Watch the video above to find out more of their story.
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.
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.