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The Ukhanyiso Fund


[isi-Xhosa for ‘guiding light']

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The mechanism through which the Isisekelo team works to attain their objective.

The fundamental principle of this mechanism is to engender ownership, strategic planning, innovation and ultimately independence.

The fund is both a fund and a process surrounded by technical support.

a fund

Parent body members and ECD practitioners are able to apply for funds from Ubunye specifically to address the ECD centre’s needs as they work towards their self- sustainable ideal and reaching (DSD) standards of safety, education and operations needed for Partial Care registration, the pre-requisite for a Conditional grant.

a process

The grant provision consists of 3 grants of gradually increasing amounts of money over the period of 1 year. This obligates parent body members to identify what is needed at the centre, to prioritise those needs and work through how to address them. To assist with this process, they begin with applications for a small amount of funding which they need to successfully manage and account for before moving on to an application for the larger amount.

the technical support

The Isisekelo team provides tailored support for each ECD centre at every stage of the process:

1. Prior to applying for the first grant, the Isisekelo team works with parent body members and ECD practitioners to develop their strategic plan: What do they have? What do they need? How are they going to proceed to get what they need?

2. The team helps them to apply for the first tranche of funding which requires not only assisting them to write the application but also achieving a pre-requisite set of administrative tasks such as, NGO registration, getting a bank account, allocation of tasks to members and arranging regular review meetings.

3. On-going support is given to the parent body members to address management tasks within the centre, together with initiating environmentally appropriate operations such as sustainable food supplies, off grid energy and water management. Training is also provided to ECD practitioners to develop play-based, interactive learning skills and integration into under-5s IT learning with the iPad learning project (funded by Ubunye Challenge), plus training in child protection screening, management of neglected and abused children and referral to professional care.

4. Finally, the Isisekelo team provides support to parent body members in financial management and accountability around each of the Ukhanyiso Fund tranches, fund-raising and applying for Partial Care Registration and attaining conditional grants.

Throughout the year, parent body members and ECD practitioners have access to a range of ECD networks and other programme resources through Ubunye.

Like many NGOs, Ubunye Foundation’s funding situation was profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Despite several key donors continuing to support Ubunye’s Isisekelo programme, from the end of April 2021, Ubunye will face a significant challenge in keeping the Isisekelo programme team and the Ukhanyiso Fund operational.

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It is likely that all 45 centres would have to shut down with the loss of access to education, food and protection for around 900 children in 2021 and for children in the area for the foreseeable future.


Ubunye is, therefore, urgently looking for partners to share in this successful Isisekelo vision, to join the TOGETHER INITIATIVE and to enable Ubunye to continue to support ECD in communities at this crucial time.



Learn more about our fundraising initiative to prevent a halt to this essential programme.

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