KZN

Feeding in Famine and for the Future

It is more than a quarter of a century since Nelson Mandela’s acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo. On that auspicious occasion, he articulated his vision for a nation where the children should be “… no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by the disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance…” Twenty seven years on and that vision is far from being realised in this country. South Africa’s under-five population carries significant marks of malnutrition. As of 2016, more than one in four under-fives showed evidence of stunting and one in eight children in the same age bracket could be categorised as overweight…and the culprit is poor nutrition.

The “hunger, disease and ignorance” Mandela spoke of are often almost inevitable bedfellows in many of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres and schools in South Africa’s less affluent communities and research has shown that there is a direct link between poor nutrition and poor educational outcomes. The University of Cape Town’s 2018 South African Child Gauge reported that six million South African children were living below the poverty line. Children in these circumstances are without reliable access to food, let alone to the right sort of food to ensure healthy development of their ability to learn and to reach their full potential as adults. A guaranteed meal at school is a strong incentive for children from financially-challenged homes to go to school.

The Domino Foundation’s programmes have some 13,566 beneficiaries, the majority of whom are either in pre-primary or primary education. With two of its programmes focusing on Life Skills and Literacy, a third on Early Childhood Development and a fourth on Nutrition, it was inevitable that the teams involved would be keen to develop their interrelationship. Cathy Whittle, leader of the Nutrition programme says: “Our vision is fill the feeding gap and to make ECD Centres so attractive that parents want to send their children to school. We aim to add value to the existing government feeding schemes, allowing children to receive two meals a day. Our dream is of communities where no child is too hungry to concentrate and learn.” Emphasising the Nutrition programme’s specific Christian mandate, she added: “We feed those in our community who are going hungry through a crisis or circumstances beyond their control. In doing so, we enhance learning through meeting children’s physical need for health and balanced nutrition.”

The Nutrition programme’s Crèche Feeding Project provides nutritious meals to children at crèches every week day and encourages their attendance and helps them achieve developmental milestones. The School Sandwich Project has sandwiches delivered to school children who would otherwise have no lunch, providing the learners with ‘food for thought’. This augments the government feeding scheme to ensure that children who may only have a single meal at home get an additional meal designed to promote cognitive development and including carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables.

Monitoring and evaluation have been crucial to ensure that the Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme remains relevant and effective for consistent impact. Before the Covid crisis burst on South Africa’s marginalised communities, the closely linked areas of nutrition and hygiene had been a focus of Cathy’s teams, with extensive crèche owner training on the subject. Each crèche owner and child was weighed and measured. BMIs were calculated with bi-annual follow-ups scheduled. “The highlighting of obesity and stunting issues gives a clear picture on needed interventions. Our one kitchen averages 80,000 meals each month consisting of a highly nutritious porridge, daily-prepared and delivered soup or dried soup ingredients for crèches to prepare themselves. We aim to have more crèches preparing their own soup, creating space for new crèches to join the programme and pass through the three year graduation phase,” explained Cathy.

That was all before the challenge Domino faces on an ongoing basis was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Lockdown. Cathy elaborated: “Since 27 March, most of these children have not been to school at all and so could have missed out on that vital daily meal.” Cathy pointed out that not only had extreme hunger become an even greater threat in those communities but so had the negative educational effects of malnutrition.

The Domino Foundation’s Disaster Relief Unit, also led by Cathy, moved into action at the start of Lockdown to meet the basic needs of these young learners and their families. As part of KZN Response, a partnership of five NPOs (Disaster Relief, the Red Cross, Zoe Life, CityHope and Nation Changers), Cathy’s team set about collecting, packing and distributing “Hope Hampers” in and around Durban and beyond. The hampers included basic hygiene items and crucial non-perishable foodstuffs, enough to sustain a family of four for three weeks. Eventually, the equivalent of one million four hundred thousand meals were distributed. “The making of the thousands of sandwiches had to stop but feeding these vulnerable children could not,” declared Cathy. “Individuals, churches, community groups and corporates came on board and bands of masked volunteers made themselves available every day to see thousands of 20 litre buckets packed and loaded.”

At the end of the initial period of hard lockdown on 30 April, the principals of four schools in the Amaoti community in North Durban were consulted and lists of 1,500 vulnerable families drawn up. These were contacted and came to the relevant schools in small ‘socially distanced” groups at specified times to receive relief food parcels.

The days of Lockdown will eventually come to an end, but Cathy and her teams are fully aware that it will not be a matter of ‘back to business-as-usual’. Nutrition is a dynamic, changing programme and the pandemic and its fallout have dramatically changed the landscape. Cathy noted, “Through collaboration with like-minded NPO’s, corporates and individuals, we will continue to streamline our efforts into the relief space, growing and assisting with education in our resilience and preparedness, particularly in the light of the way this pandemic has challenged our abilities, time, resources and partnerships.”

Shaun Tait, CEO of The Domino Foundation, commented how adaptability and agility has characterised the way in which the teams of the various programmes have responded over the past months: “Contingencies and emergency situations have demanded that we pivot and change direction quickly and efficiently to be an answer in present crises and also to remain true to our long-term vision.”

Cathy is always keen to share more on this vital work and welcomes groups, companies and individuals who would like to be part of this ongoing programme to feed the most vulnerable in their time of need to contact her feeding@domino.org.za  or 031 563 9605)

Read more

Mandela Day – Online Activations

“It always seems impossible until it’s done” Nelson Mandela

We realise and respect that many of you might want to do something for Mandela Day this year but would prefer to do it from the comfort of your own offices or homes. So herewith some simple and super fun options:

  1. Could you zap a R67 gift to us? Thank you Zap away and please challenge 6 – 7 friends to do the same! Can we make it easier? WhatsApp us on 083 777 5633 and we will send you the mobile Zapper link to forward on …
  2. Are you an avid Zwift racing cyclist? Yay then please cycle in the Virtual Aquelle Tour Durban on 25 and 26 July 2020. It is R50 per entry and you can seriously chase that leader board!!
  3. Or are you more of a #WeekendWarrior type cyclist, where it’s about the coffee and the connecting and the great open road? Great, then please get your cycling crew and sign up to participate in the Virtual Aquelle Tour Durban on 25 and 26 July 2020 It is also R50 per entry and you can race your mates along the beach, bush or berg …
  4. Are you artistic and wildly creative? Could you draw a picture, do a painting, create a doodle or take a series of photographs? Anything to do with hope. Then you can auction it off to your friends and family online, tag us in your “online exhibition”, share your story and donate the proceeds to us!
  5. Do you act, create drama, write poetry or sing? Could you add your voice to a video about the importance of education, justice and nutrition? You could share it on your social media channels and tag The Domino Foundation to create greater awareness of the importance of the #DominoEffect – #fromcradletocareer giving #dignity #hope and #justice
  6. How about challenging your friends overseas to any of the above options? We have PayPal especially for those that love Africa, her sunshine, Shwe Shwe, the big 5 and our beloved Madiba!
  7. Could you continue to raise awareness and support of our Hope Vouchers please? R410 is just a click away and brings freedom of choice and dignified relief aid

THANK YOU AND GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Read more

AGM 2020 Notice

Dear Domino Foundation Members, Partners and Donors,
 
I trust that you are holding up during these unusual days of the COVID-19 virus and the resultant lockdown. I am pleased to report that The Domino Foundation has been able to add considerable weight to the eThekwini Disaster Management efforts over the past 10 weeks and it is a privilege to be a fellow member of this great organisation.
 
It is our responsibility as the Board of Members of The Domino Foundation to hold an Annual General Meeting within six months of our financial year-end, which is 31 December each year. As a Board, we have explored multiple scenarios as to the possibility of holding an AGM during the ‘national lockdown’ we all currently face, and after presenting our options to legal counsel, it is our opinion that it would be best to defer our AGM for the 2019 year to a date (to be set) when all Members, Partners and Donors, have the possibility of attending in person.
 
This will mean that we have not fulfilled the technical responsibility for holding an AGM within six months of our year-end, however, we believe the unusual circumstances we find ourselves in force us to defer beyond the six months allowed. We will, however, be sending our Annual Report in due course.
 
The reason we have opted to defer the date for the AGM is due to the fact that we value all of The Domino Foundation Members and our desire is that everyone of us should have the opportunity to attend the meeting, which may not be possible should we hold it via electronic/digital medium. Should it be foreseeable, by October, that it will not be possible to meet in person in 2020, we will revert to holding a virtual AGM in the last quarter of the year.
 
We trust that you will support the Board in this matter and we look forward to seeing you all at the AGM when we are able to meet in person. 
 
Kind regards,
Richard Mun-Gavin on behalf of The Domino Foundation Board

Should you require further information please kindly contact us on admin@domino.org.za

Read more

The BIG picture

We thought it would be super helpful to put all our programmes into a one page “big picture format” for you, to make it easy to identify with our common values and purpose and how each programme interconnects with the other.

The aim is to reduce vulnerability step by step in a beneficiary’s life creating a positive #DominoEffect from Cradle to Career, an beyond!

There are three additional safety net interventions for added support of Human Rights, Disaster Management and protecting the Environment.

We hope this inspires you, as your impact plays it part in this story!

The Domino Programme Infograph

The interconnected #DominoEffect reducing vulnerability from Cradle to Career with additional Safety Net interventions in support!

Read more

It’s a full baby home

Precious Thabete our Crisis Parent shared these insights and updates on what has been taking place in the transition home over the first few months of 2020.

“We are so happy to share the news that there were two separate adoptions in December 2019, which made way for us to take in two more special little people who both came to the baby home on the same day Monday 23 December 2019 and we really thank God for adding them to our Domino family”

Our home is alive with the sound of children healing and being cared for in a safe and loving environment. Precious, her team of caregivers, volunteers and community service learners (Pre COVID-19 lockdown!) continue to love these gorgeous kiddies who have been abandoned, given up for adoption or removed from their families for their own safety.

It has also been amazing to have the Domino Early Childhood Development Team come and empower the caregivers on how to run their mini morning teaching sessions for the two older boys so that active learning can take place!

“And whilst there have been no other adoptions this year, we were so excited to have a family from London pop in and visit us in February with their little girl and she seems to be so happy and doing so well!”

We continue to pray for our partners at Durban Child Welfare and Department of Social Development who assist us to place and care for vulnerable children in distress.

Read more

Active learning in Foundation Phase

Zanele Nzimakwe is the Team Leader for this Enterprise and Educational programme. Our partnership is with ECD Owners who are our beneficiaries, to enable them to stimulate and enhance child learning holistically, by equipping them with essential business skills that will assist them to run their school as a small business that is effective.

Progress in the first quarter of 2020 was follows:

  • The ECD Field Workers started with site visits in Blackburn and the Domino Babies Home
  • Field workers are busy working on developing a Practitioner Guide (how to improve their teaching and awareness skills of the needs of their pupils)
  • Provided age appropriate learning materials to our partnering ECD centres who are:
  1. iThemba
  2. Siyavuka
  3. Smanethemba
  4. Khulanathi
  5. Sifundokhule

Other activities included:

  • Quarterly Assessments were started but not completed prior to COVID-19 Lockdown
  • Staff did a reflection session to assess the impact of those ECD’s who have partnered with Domino vs those who have not. This was a great encouragement to the team
  • Team continue to implement the ECD 150 Tool

Victory!

“Ithuba is running their ECD centre effectively and their DSD funding proposal is in progress” said Zanele.  This it is anticipated will have a greater impact on their long term independence and business sustainability.

Have a sneak peak of Zanele taking learning online

 

Read more

Food for good thoughts

Goal – To feed the hungry children in our peri-urban schools, churches and crèches and supplement nutritional well being of learners where the government are not feeding vulnerable children.

This update is from Cath Whittle who heads up Nutrition in North Durban.

“We really want to send a massive thank you out to all our business partners who make this programme so effective and nutritious. Our morning meal is a high protein porridge from Jam SA, on the sandwich front we partner with Cheval Eggs, RCL Foods (Peanut Butter and Mayonnaise), Isiqalo Food (Margarine) and Premier Bread, and are so grateful to the Unilever office team and our many amazing volunteers for making 5,810 delicious, healthy ‘samies’ for school learners. In addition many of our partnering Early Childhood Development Centres also make soups, and we get a power packed soup mix powder from Unilever, high protein legume mix from Container Ministries and beef bones from Ellis Park Butchery. This is incredible community collaboration for the benefit of healthy children” says Cath Whittle who heads up Nutrition in North Durban.

And Cheryl Dann shared her news from Nutrition in South Durban (Amanzimtoti)

“School nutrition continues to take place, although two schools have dropped off the programme, making space for two new ones. Collection of updated registers, ID documents and paper work continues to be a very slow administration process but does not dampen our spirits as we have a team of amazing volunteers who love to make sandwiches in support of the work we do and they earnestly pray for every child too!

In Quarter One we made and delivered 6,984 sandwiches and are absolutely delighted to have Amanzimtoti High School come back on the programme with 4 children who we are grateful to send food for. We also distributed monthly Relief Hampers to partnering churches, schools and community centres i.e. Cedar Hill Church, KCI Church, Holy Sabbath Church of God, Young Stars Development and Qinselani Primary School.

Read more

Red Light on abuse. STOP!

Our Anti Human Trafficking goal is to help those that are abused to see themselves with new eyes, God’s redemptive eyes, restored and released in wholeness!

From January – March 2020

Our four beneficiaries attended group work and individual case counseling every Tuesday and Thursday. The mornings start with small healthy breakfast and then a devotion where we read the scriptures from the Bible and then discuss spiritual matters and crippling beliefs.

This year is quite different as we are also using the Project Exodus Recovery material which is translated in IsiZulu though our Restore Co-ordinator and Counsellor, Gugu Mazwele.

In addition, Gugu says each lady has had to appoint their own accountability partner (within the programme or external) with whom they report to and account for their actions, decisions and finances.

The Red Light Release Co-ordinator Esther Madikane is away on maternity at the moment.

Other helpful independent interventions include financial literacy lessons from our volunteer Financial Planner to help the beneficiaries to create a budget and to teach them how to start saving their money so they are equipped and empowered once they exit the programme.

During COVID-19 lockdown, Gugu has been in contact with the ladies via Whatsapp video calls, #StayingConnected by sending them motivational messages to keep them to help them stay focused and accountable.

Gugu chatting to one of the beneficiaries via Whatsapp call

 

Read more

COVID-19 In response to our Staff

STAFF/TEAM:

As a large proportion of our staff live within the communities that we serve, a number of our staff are at risk of infections as well. While we as a civil society role player exist to serve our beneficiaries, we as an organisation also exist for the benefit of our teams. The team’s health and wellbeing is of the utmost importance and as such we have implemented a Work from Home (WFH) Policy up until 14 April 2020, when schools and programmes are scheduled to resume.

Field-based teams – As per our usual protocol during school holidays, field-based teams will break for the extended holidays (18 March – 14 April 2020)

Office-based teams – The team will have remote access, utilise Zoom technologies for Virtual Meetings and schedule regular Telecommunications Meetings as needed while working from home.

Our team will continue to support our Stakeholders and Partners effectively and efficiently during this period. We have instructed all staff to practise essential social distancing techniques, increased hygienic practices, strict immune support programmes as well as self-isolation should any symptoms materialise over the next few weeks.

MEMBERS:

Finally to our Members, we are responsible to you for ensuring that The Domino Foundation continues to serve our Stakeholders, support our communities, influence our city and achieve our objectives for 2020. We have conducted a Risk Assessment, combined with an Environmental Analysis of our macroeconomic impacts and are developing a strategy to ensure our continued success throughout this period. Our focus during this period, is to continue with our core programme objectives and ensure the well-being of our Beneficiaries, Partners and Staff/Team.

Kind regards,

Shaun Tait

Chief Executive Officer

Read more

COVID-19 Response to our Partners

PARTNERS: Donors | Volunteers

Financial and Non-Financial Donors:

We will increase our communication with donors and continue to serve their needs for documentation, paperwork, reports and feedback, remotely. To reduce unnecessary exposure we have decided to implement the following:

  1. Staff impact days – Both off-site and on-site Staff Impact Days/Team Builds have been postponed for the foreseeable future to minimise risk of infections.
  2. Connect Tours – Scheduled Connect Tours for Management to view programmes in action have been postponed got the foreseeable future
  3. We-Share gatherings (Corporate presentations) – scheduled We-Share gatherings with Donor Staff Teams have been postponed for the foreseeable future.

Although our programmes have been adapted to ensure that we meet our beneficiary’s needs during this period of uncertainty, our Donor Relations Team is confident that we will still support our partners CSI, B‑BBEE, National Development Plan (NDP), Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Funding Objectives for 2020.

Volunteers:

  1. Community Service Work Weeks: We have taken the decision to postpone our 1st Community Work Week for 2020, with plans to add an additional week during the second half of the year.
  2. Regular Volunteers: As programmes go on a break during the extended school holidays, volunteer’s shifts will be postponed for the break. We will review this policy once we have a clearer picture of how long this pandemic will last.
  3. International Volunteer Programmme: Based on the travel ban and quarantine period, we have taken the decision to cancel/postpone our International Volunteer Programmes that were scheduled before 30 June. We will liaise with each group accordingly.

In essence, we are placing a moratorium on all Programme-Orientated Volunteer Opportunities for the foreseeable future.

Kind regards,

Shaun Tait

Chief Executive Officer

Read more