Cotlands is a non-profit early childhood development organisation, creating a more equal and prosperous South African society through access to quality play-based early learning opportunities. We provide scalable and cost effective toy libraries and early learning playgroups targeted at vulnerable children from birth to six years, while capacitating adults and parents on play-based learning and best practice principles in early childhood education.

Please list links to your Website and Social Media Platforms here:

Describe in detail what your Organisation does: 

The potential of millions of young children is lost due to our inability to provide families access to quality play-based early childhood education programmes. Cotlands exists to close the access gap by offering innovative programmes that promote play-based learning. Through direct service delivery as well as in partnership with other organisations, these include:

 Toy libraries and playgroups to reach marginalised children.
 Nutritional, health and psychosocial support for children attending Cotlands early learning
 PLAY – Powerful Learning Around You, a free online course teaching play-based learning
fundamentals to ECD practitioners and Grade R – 3 educators.
 Building capacity in NPOs to implement Cotlands non-centre play-based early learning

How long has your Organisation been operational? 

82 years

In your opinion, what has been the most challenging aspect of running your Organisation? 

Balancing income and expenses. Rather than plan our programmes based on community needs, we plan our programmes based on the amount of funding we believe we can secure.

Describe your Nonprofit Journey in three words: 

Exciting, rewarding, impactful.

Do you collaborate with other Causes? If yes, would you like to mention them? 

A few of the organisations we work with include UNICEF, Takalani Sesame, Afrika Tikkun, 180 local ECD centres, Save the Children, and NECDA.

If you had one Organisation wish, what would it be? 

To be financially self-sustainable so that we can plan our programmes more effectively.

In your opinion, which skills do Nonprofits in your Country lack? 

1) The vision to work collaboratively. The only way to effectively deal with the many changes facing communities is to work together to achieve positive change.
2) Making sure programmes meet identified community needs.

Looking back at your Cause Journey, what advice would you give a newbie Organisation? 

1) Take the time to do a detailed community needs analysis to make sure your programme meets clearly identified needs, does not duplicate what is already available, and builds on existing skills, talents and resources.
2) Engage collaboratively with all relevant stakeholders. This is often the make or break of new programmes.

If you could change one thing about the Nonprofit Landscape, what would it be? 

That we work collaboratively towards common goals. This would increase the collective impact of our efforts, reduce unnecessary costs, make sure we don’t duplicate services, close any gaps and optimise existing community resources.

Which Cause achievement are you most proud of? Feel free to elaborate on why and include any links: 

1) Adding a toy library trailer to an existing mobile health clinic to bring play-based learning opportunities to children living in 35 rural villages and farms in Mpumalanga.

2) Building capacity in under-resourced ECD centres to improve the quality of early learning programmes in marginalised communities.

Last question, if your friends had to describe your Organisation in three words, which would they use? 

Reputable, Playful, Leaders

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