Monday, June 17, 2019

Implementing quality and holistic early learning programs in Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Project Title:

Development and systemisation of effective models of early childhood care  and education in underserved rural communities of Zimbabwe and Mozambique

Project Objective:

The project contributes to quality, holistic and lifelong Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for children between 0 and 8 years of age in underserved rural areas in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Project Outcomes

The physical, socio-emotional and cognitive development of 6,995 children between 0 and 8 years of age in 5 rural communities (2 in Zimbabwe, 3 in Mozambique) is secured and innovative, holistic and scalable models of rural ECCE are applied in the project communities

Project Duration: 3 Years

By Project End:

§  4,730 children aged 0-7 years would have received regular health screenings, a varied meal per day and access to clean drinking water throughout the school year.

§  1,080 parents/caregivers and community volunteers would have improved their parenting skills
§  Access to child-friendly, inclusive ECCE care, which takes current standards and curricula into account, would have been established in the 5 project communities

§  Two local implementing organizations Nhaka Foundation (Zimbabwe) and Wona Sanana (Mozambique) and staff  would have improved their knowledge and skills in managing complex projects as well as their technical knowledge and skills in child protection, child rights, nutrition, working with disabled children, advocacy and assessment tools.

Team Nhaka 2019 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Increasing Access to ECD: Nhaka-TDH-BMZ Project

Nhaka Foundation and TDH-Germany Partner to Increase Access to Early Childhood Development for young children in rural Zimbabwe.

We are truly excited to be entering into this great partnership with TDH-Germany and the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Germany. The project is designed to develop and systematize effective models of early childhood care and education in rural Zimbabwe. To make this even more exciting, Nhaka Foundation will be collaborating with Wona Sanana a non profit organization based in Maputo, Mozambique who will be implementing a similar project.

Founded in 2008, Nhaka Foundation is a key player in the field of early childhood development in Zimbabwe. In this context, Nhaka Foundation pursues a community-based approach that includes projects in education, health, food security and psychosocial support for children. The work of Nhaka Foundation focuses on children between 0 and 8 years of age and promotes safe and clean ECCE institutions, child-friendly pedagogical models and teacher training, linking this with nutrition programmes and nutrition and hygiene education, access to health care and psychosocial support. Buoyed by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education in October 2016, Nhaka Foundation works in rural communities on projects designed to increase access to early childhood development for the nation’s littlest and most vulnerable.

The communities of Chitakatira Ward located in the Mutare South District in Manicaland and Budiriro Ward in Seke District in Mashonaland East will be beneficiaries of the projects to be implemented. In Chitakatira Ward, Nhaka Foundation will work directly at the Chitakatira Primary School (310 children between 4 and 5 years and 540 children between 6 and 8 years, a total of 850 children) and with a further 438 children between 0 and 3 years in the immediate neighbourhood who are not yet attending school. In Budiriro Ward, the project will be implemented at Logan Lee School, which does not have its own school building. So far, the children have been taught in a former tobacco barn. The school has 132 children between the ages of 2 and 8 (a total of 238 pupils).

The early childhood period is a critical foundational moment in human development and Nhaka Foundation recognizes that vulnerable children require early childhood development (ECD) services to help them achieve their potential. This early foundation in life, sets them up for a life full of possibilities.

Follow this work on our Facebook Page, follow conversations on Twitter, read all about the progress on our Nhaka Blog and view some pictures on our Nhaka Instagram.

Team Nhaka Foundation 2019

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

They want to laugh, dance and play!

About Nhaka Foundation

The Nhaka Foundation is a Zimbabwe-based non-governmental organization which has developed and implemented a series of interventions designed to bridge the gap between the governments capabilities and policies mandating the requirement for early childhood development (ECD) programming in primary schools and its ability to fully realize the implementation of such programs.

Nhaka Foundation has created among its programs one which seeks to promote children’s play. As a part of the classroom and outdoor playground renovations program Nhaka works with the families and members of the community to plan and build, expand or repair the playgrounds and equipment using readily available and safe materials. Once restored to a like-new condition, the Centers are officially incorporated into the primary school system and sustained by the community through elected Pre-School Management Committees. This contract requirement thus ensures that the children will continue to have clean and safe spaces in which to work and play.

Learning through play
Nhaka Foundation holds community appreciative inquiry meetings that help shape its programming. When parents and guardians are asked, “What are the things that kids want to do?” the team almost always gets the same answer, irrespective of the community they are visiting. Children want to “laugh, dance and play.”  Play is the means through which children learn and develop socially, physically, cognitively and emotionally. During play, be it solitary play or in a group, children learn a variety of skills including the development of positive attitudes and the ability to draw relationships between objects and concepts. When children play, they learn to form ideas about their environment and expand language abilities through social interactions with their own age groups. In turn, they develop values and qualities that help them to establish relationships with family members and people outside their family.

Mrs Madzinga, head teacher of one of the schools that fall under the Nhaka program areas recognises that many parents have different beliefs about the relationship between play activities and learning. While parents view learning from the lens of structured play activities, as a teacher she encourages the parents to identify non structured activities as having equal- if not more value -because when children are allowed to be themselves they get in touch with their inner beings. All types of play contribute to healthy physical growth and the overall development of a child.

While the Zimbabwean ECD syllabus is based on sound, proven early childhood pedagogy and practice principles, its proper implementation is subject to a number of things such as availability of resources including ECD trained teachers, classroom blocks, and outdoor and indoor play equipment. Despite the shortage of these resources, a challenge faced  most rural schools in Zimbabwe, teachers such as Mrs Madzinga have learned to improvise in her class. For example she encourages her pupils to engage in play activities such as the local entertainment called “mahumbwe” (role playing), a game where kids can pretend to be anyone. When her pupils are role playing about what happens in a hospital one child can be a nurse, another a doctor and yet another, a patient. This type of play promotes creative imagination in children. Social dramatic play can develop the child’s creativeness and language skills simultaneously.

Role of parents in play
Through its parenting program the Nhaka Foundation promotes the involvement of guardians and caregivers in the lives of young children, something not too common in these areas. Parental involvement is not just limited to the role the caregivers have at home, but also relates to activities that happen at the early childhood development centres. Parents are encouraged to supply empty food cartons for play activities, as well as any old equipment that can be used by the kids in various play activities.  A child-centred approach to early childhood development recognises that children’s rights and needs are the primary focus for development and parents have to be involved every step of the way.

Play is in an integral part of learning for young children. Albert Einstein once said ‘play is the highest form of research. Early childhood development programs should provide as much  growing space as possible for children; a space that allows them to just be themselves as they laugh, dance and play!.

Early Childhood Development Teacher Training at Nhaka Foundation

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Using Cross-Border Leadership and Networks to Influence National Policy and Implementation

Dear Friends,

Reproducing an article courtesy of the Association of Childhood Education International (ACEI)

Diplomatic Virtues to Build Consensus
“In shaping policies at various levels, there is a need for utilizing multi-sectoral synergies, collaborations and alliances in influencing policy changes and to be respected by government and partners.”

— Patrick Makokoro, Founder of the Nhaka Foundation

Education Diplomacy uses the skills of diplomacy to bridge divides between sectors, diverse actors, and borders to address education challenges and move transformative education agendas forward. The practice of Education Diplomacy includes interactions that cultivate partnerships, create shared value, and shape consensus about mutually beneficial solutions that position education as a force for positive change in the world. Patrick Makokoro, founder of the Nhaka Foundation in Zimbabwe, offers this sage advice for practicing Education Diplomacy to lead and cultivate the partnerships that can bring about transformative change: “Patience and perseverance are virtues; [we can build on] small gains to achieve bigger successes. Confrontation with governing systems results in polarization, and thus relations have to be cordial and professional.” In this way, interactions can create the shared value and consensus necessary for broad-based change.
Collaboration to shape ECD policy
“In shaping policies at various levels,”  Mr. Makokoro says, “there is a need for utilizing multi-sectoral synergies, collaborations and alliances in influencing policy changes and to be respected by government and partners.” 
To advance early childhood education in Zimbabwe, Mr. Makokoro did just that, using Education Diplomacy to build national, regional, and international networks and leverage them to advance national early childhood development (ECD) policy.
Mr. Makokoro founded the Nhaka Foundation in 2007. The Foundation works across all 10 provinces in Zimbabwe and “provides access to education, ECD basic health care, and daily sustenance for the orphaned and vulnerable children in the communities it serves. It provides support to ensure the creation of a physical environment conducive to learning, growth, and the optimal development of all children.” 
Developing Networks for Education Strategy Planning
After several years of direct service, Mr. Makokoro saw the need to coordinate and network with other child service providers. He, therefore, created the Zimbabwe Network of Early Childhood Development (ZINECDA), a national umbrella organization for ECD in 2012. In addition, the Nhaka Foundation is also a member of the Education Coalition of Zimbabwe (ECOZI). Through its leadership and engagement in these two important networks, the Nhaka Foundation was able to participate “fully in the shaping of the education planning through participating in the planning process of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MoPSE).” These two networks formed part of the civil society coalition informing Zimbabwe’s Education Sector Strategy Plan 2016-2020, developed with the Global Partnership for Education (
Stakeholder Engagement for Implementing Policy
In addition to influencing Zimbabwe’s national education strategy, the Nhaka Foundation also helps provide oversight for implementation of the strategic plan at various levels, which includes increasing direct access to education in over 30 schools in two provinces of Zimbabwe. In Mr. Makokoro’s words, “Issues of access and quality need to be addressed by harnessing all major stakeholders from the public and private sectors, civil society, academia, professional associations, foundations, donor agencies, and local communities.”
Harnessing stakeholders involves engagement in regional and international networks as well. Mr. Makokoro became a founding member of the African Early Childhood Network, and the Nhaka Foundation also actively participates in the Association for Childhood Education International’s meetings and activities. Mr. Makokoro stresses, “Nations need to begin looking at these cross-country peer collaborations and learning as the gateway to promoting diversity as well as learning from one another.” He sees technology as one of the tools that can facilitate these cross-border collaborations, even at the teacher and classroom level. 

Friday, February 2, 2018

Celebrating growth and transitions

Dear Friends,

New Year, new season here at Nhaka Foundation. This is a season of significant change at Nhaka Foundation, and we’re reminded of God’s awesomeness by Isaiah 43:19- “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

Having founded and established an organization that is truly responsive to the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe and creating partnerships that have served over 20 000 children in the past 10 years, Patrick Makokoro announced his departure from the day to day role at Nhaka Foundation as of 31 December 2017. Prior to this departure, Patrick supported the mentorship and support of the incoming Director and remains available to support the growth of the organization as it positions itself for the next 10 years of service.

Patrick will continue to support the ongoing work of Nhaka Foundation and its team by joining the board of directors as Board President. Outside pursuing other career opportunities, Patrick will support Nhaka Foundation through partnership development and strategy. While we are saddened by the decision to transition from the day to day role, we are excited by the faithfulness of God throughout his 10 year journey at Nhaka Foundation and we are even more excited for his transition.

Along with the other members of the Nhaka Foundation Board of Directors, we are committed to the mission, vision and values that Patrick and Team Nhaka have created over thze years. To support this transition, Patrick has committed time to work with the new Director and staff to ensure that there is stability, growth and excellent delivery of service through out.

If you have questions about our transition process, please email us at On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff, we are truly grateful as you journey with us supporting the orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe.


Ndaba Nkala

Nhaka Foundation, Deputy Board Chair