Category: Resourceful Young Children | Comprehensive ECD package | 12 January, 2015 - 09:49← BACK
As the only home-based Early Intervention programme for deaf children in South Africa, Hi Hopes fulfils a core role within the field of Early Childhood Development (ECD) by meeting the needs of infants with hearing loss. Based on an international model of best practice, Hi Hopes believes that children with sensory disabilities require specialist intervention as close to birth as possible with concomitant support, empowerment and equipping of the parents and caregivers.
In this learning brief we discuss our scaling-up operations to all nine provinces in the country. We highlight how connecting with key stakeholders in the ECD, government, and medical sectors helped us find new opportunities to build our organisational capacity. In addition, by working with specialists we have laid a solid foundation that allows for programme expansion and adaptability in the diverse South African context.
ABOUT HI HOPES
Hi Hopes is a home-based, early-intervention programme that involves partnering with families that have a deaf child (birth to 3 years old) in order to equip, inform, and empower them about their child’s optimal development. Hi Hopes has an unbiased philosophy of ‘informed choice’ and all support and information is shared with the family in their home language. Hi Hopes Deaf Mentors that visit families, act as cultural and linguistic role models to both the household members and the deaf or hard of hearing child. They provide the family with the necessary knowledge to make choices regarding the amplification and modes of communication for their deaf child. By offering supportive, daily routines and critical care information, the mentors ensure that families are able to incorporate all their newly acquired knowledge and skills into their natural daily lives.
Working collaboratively with families builds individual capital
The Hi Hopes approach emphasises collaboration with the families of a deaf or hearing-impaired child. This is part of an international move away from “silos of speciality” toward teams of collaborative support that are centred on the family and child. As such, our various mentors, interventionists, and therapists try to establish a cooperative multidisciplinary intervention for each family and their child in order to address the child’s unique challenges and disabilities. In this way the individual family members and the child build cultural capital by gaining knowledge, information, and practical skill.
In addition to this focused, intervention-specific collaboration at the family level, organisations like Hi Hopes can also partner with others in the Early Intervention and ECD sector.
Working collaboratively within the ECD sector builds organisational capital
Hi Hopes currently provides support in the Gauteng, Western Cape, and KwaZulu Natal Provinces (54% of South Africa). We are scaling-up our services to serve all nine provinces in the country and thus have concentrated on establishing different forms of partnerships and collaborations in order to multiply our efforts. Partnerships with other entities in the Early Intervention and ECD sector can play a crucial role for organisations like ours that aim to scale up their services nationally. Such partnerships offer organisations access to new information, knowledge, and resources and open up possibilities for expanding activities in new settings. This ultimately builds organisational capital.
Collaborative partnerships between organisations can lead to new possibilities for growth and expansion. We explain how this is possible in the section below.
Connect with key sector stakeholders
In order to scale up a programme nationally it is critical to connect with key stakeholders in the sector of interest, and raise awareness about your programme, and its importance/value.
For example: One of the first steps for us in building collaborative relations with key ECD stakeholders was getting them to value the need for early intervention, and getting them to recognise and accept our Hi Hopes programme. We started this awareness raising process even before launching our programme. Once this was achieved and initial contact with key stakeholders was established we continued to advertise our programme by word of mouth, snowballing through this large network of professionals and organisations. Through this process we found many professionals and organisation members that could offer services to and on behalf of our programme regarding our expansion and scale-up.
Join active communities of practice
Different areas of the country might require that adapting your programme implementation somewhat. To best inform how you operate in the various regions we suggest joining local communities of practice. Becoming part of the various ECD communities of practice throughout SA is essential because they provide you with access to new knowledge and ways of operating, they expose your organisation to new partnership possibilities, and they might offer you ease of access to new work settings. Ilifa Labantwana and the ECD Forum are examples of two communities of practice.
For example: after joining a community of practice we partnered with a member organisation, HIVSA, to launch a new screening programme within specific communities in the Orange Farm area. The aim was to screen 5000 children using community workers who conduct daily home visits, and we helped train them. During the training we also taught the community workers about childhood hearing loss and made them aware of our programme’s offerings. By equipping this large cohort of community-based home visitors we have enhanced both the potential reach and future impact of our programme within these communities.
Reach out to government and medical agencies
Collaboration and association with government departments and medical entities benefits various levels of the programme impact and reach. Getting buy-in from government departments can give your programme legitimacy and can ease access to certain communities. Similarly, engaging closely with a medical organisation can help you find new target communities, can give you better platforms on which to work, and can help you expand your programme’s operations to include new services. Such partnerships can also potentially open up new funding avenues.
Work with specialists
As the programme grows toward a national scale start making contact with national specialists in the related fields of your service area. Specialists help your programme expand because they offer skills and services at a high quality level, and provide the strength in knowledge and experience that can lay a solid foundation upon which to grow.
For example: One of the key strengths of Hi Hopes is that specialists helped us design a flexible national curriculum with a national quality assurance framework as the foundation of our programme. This basis allows us to adapt the programme to any setting in the country and helps us meet our goal of ensuring that no matter where a deaf child is born, they and their family will be served equally. As we expand the programme to the unique setting of each province, a specialist Provincial Coordinator will ensure that the programme reflects the true culture of the province while remaining true to our overall Hi Hopes mission.
In addition, we employ specialist interventionists (parent advisors) who are purposely trained to do this unique and specific form of intervention. Interventionists must have specific degree qualifications, experience, and skills to practice. To date we have trained approximately 200 interventionists. As we continue to grow and expand our operations the new interventionists we train are being handpicked from our collaborative partners.
In this learning brief we have discussed our scaling-up operations including how connecting with key stakeholders in the ECD, government, and medical sectors helped us find new opportunities to build our organisational capacity. In addition, we showed that by working with specialists it’s possible to lay a solid foundation that allows for programme expansion and adaptability in the diverse South African context. Consequently, we have learnt that partnerships lead to new possibilities for growth.
27 St Andrews RoadJohannesburgWitsGautengSouth Africa
This learning brief discusses the value of forming partnerships in order to scale up an organisation’s operations and expand its service reach. Collaborative partnerships lead to growth because they increase organisational social capital and open new avenues of possibility.