Green Chics.

Impact Area:

Daily Brain-Building Interactions

Year of Investment and Stage:

2021 | Early Proof of Concept

Current Stage

Early Proof of Concept

Investment Amount:

<R500 000

Financial Instrument:

Grant

Have we reinvested:

No

Status:

Open, Active

Green Chics (Community Interface Care and Support) leverages the momentum around environmental sustainability to bring a sustainable improvement in the quality of life of young children. The venture embeds an environmental education programme supplement into ECD services, aiming to support caregivers to adopt environmentally-conscious brain-building interactions and caregiver action, that would lead to healthier and greener practices in daily living.

The Problem

In 2021, UNICEF launched their Children’s Climate Risk Index, advocating for the acknowledgement that the climate crisis is a child rights crisis. The effects of climate change will be hardest felt by children, especially those in the poorest communities/ the most vulnerable. They are the least protected against threats such as droughts and floods, lack of food security, low water quality, and a dirty environment due to waste, bad sanitation and air pollution. 

Related to this is the issue of environmental conservation. Failures in environmental conservation efforts will have devastating effects on the most vulnerable communities who are more reliant on the environment/natural resources for their livelihoods (UNICEF, 2021). Despite this, these communities (often due to a lack of alternatives) are often involved in practices with negative environmental consequences e.g. unsustainable chopping of trees, and waste disposal that pollutes water sources. Despite this, these communities have not been effectively engaged with on these issues. 

Similarly, while environmental education is increasingly popular, it has either not reached or has not been packaged in ways that encourage behaviour change in low-income communities.

The Innovation

Green Chics is an environmental education programme that offers an early learning supplement to existing programmes accompanied by a complimentary parent engagement programme. The parent programme empowers parents as key shapers of their home and communities to bring about sustainable improvement in their quality of life.

ECD practitioners will be capacitated to roll out a two-pronged environmentally informed education programme at their early learning centres: 

  1. With children: Once a week, Green Chics will introduce young children to topics that aim to establish the foundation for climate change resilience and the skills needed to be successful in the green economy. Corresponding worksheets with activities for families to do together in the home will be provided.
  2. With caregivers:
    1. The parent engagement programme takes place at least once a month. It enables caregivers to reinforce environmental education in the home through stimulating a consciousness of and appreciation for the natural environment
    2. Green Chics will open up access to resources that enable parents to make choices and decisions in the best interests of their children.
    3. Green Chics offers an environmentally sustainable ‘basket of measures’ to address sustainable quality of life issues, such as new products (e.g. alternative cooking solutions) or an approach to advocacy (e.g. in the case of poor service delivery).
Why we Invested

The highly effective and focused Green Chics team and venture provides IE with the opportunity to:

Test an environmentally focused solution that can unlock capital from new funding sources and/or paying customers. The venture will leverage the opportunities stemming from environmental initiatives and targets to ensure sustainability and by acting as a catalytic connector between unlikely partners.

Gain insights around parental engagement from an empowering parent programme that gives caregivers the opportunity to implement and create their own solutions for their homes and communities. Addressing the immediate concerns that caregivers are facing.

Connects a child’s learning environment to their home environment. With the environmental education approach, caregiver engagement leads to tangible improvements to their quality of life. This is an attractive entry point to caregiver engagement as it addresses existing demand for service delivery and the real-life challenges faced by households e.g. air pollution, water, waste removal.

The Project Team

The Nova Institute aims to activate and empower households as the catalysts for improving the health and development outcomes of low-income communities. Nova has close to 30 years of experience working in communities to develop and implement scalable products and services. The team has developed strong research and impact measurement competencies related to the quality of life of low-income households and environmental outcomes (e.g. carbon credits).
Catherine Senyolo is the Chics Programme Manager at Nova. Her core experience is related to the development and testing of ECD related quality of life initiatives.
Dr Montagu Murray is the Nova CEO. He has over 20 years experience in developing quality of life solutions for low-income households in the Southern African contexts.