Impact Area:

Quality Early Learning Programmes

Year of Investment and Stage:

2022 | Developing and testing to validate problem solution fit

Current Stage

Early Proof of Concept

Investment Amount:

R790 000

Financial Instrument:



Open, not active

Zibuza is an online interactive community platform that offers a variety of quality teaching and learning resources for South African teachers, early learning practitioners, learners and caregivers. Through the platform, users can also connect, collaborate and share knowledge amongst each other, and with a multitude of stakeholders in the basic education ecosystem. The end-goal is to improve knowledge and the quality of programmes delivered in schools and early learning centres.

The Problem

One of the barriers to children receiving a quality education at early learning centres such as preschools, day care, and play groups is the inadequate motivation among practitioners due to the lack of available training and educational opportunities. Evidence shows that less than half of practitioners teaching in early learning centres have the minimum Early Childhood Development (ECD) qualification (NQF Level4 or matric). This presents a need for additional training and support, especially in low-income areas, in order to improve the quality of early learning programmes. Children who regularly attend high-quality preschool programme perform better at school compared to their peers.

The Innovation

Zibuza is specifically designed to promote professional development and support for South African educators and practitioners, learners and their caregivers. The online platform gives the users access to content such as lesson plans, classroom activities, textbooks, posters and more, across all grades, in multiple subjects and languages.

Zibuza also serves as a platform for knowledge transfer and support where users can network and access professional development opportunities like coaching and mentorship driven and organised by users themselves. The ultimate goal is to improve learner performance. The opportunity to network and learn is more beneficial for users in low-income areas where access to training and resources is limited, especially for early learning practitioners.

How It Works

To join the community, one has to create an account on the Zibuza website and gain access to resources, support and opportunities for development. Typical activities on the platform include searching and sharing resources, rating content, discussing, mentoring and collaborating.

Why We Invested

Access to training, teaching and learning resources, and support is hugely valuable for early learning practitioners and caregivers. It will ultimately improve the quality of early learning programmes, which in turn, will benefit young children receiving the programmes.

We invested in Zibuza because we wanted to prove that if we use data and community management skills to curate activities and resources, we may be able to empower early learning stakeholders to enrich and unlock opportunities in the ECD sector.

We believe that our support will enable Zibuza to acquire and retain enough ECD users to catalyse the sharing and creation of quality early learning knowledge and resources by building an online Community of Practice.

The Project Team

Zibuza.net is managed as a project by the Dr CL Smith Foundation, a registered non-profit company that was established in 2013. They have been an official partner to the Department of Basic Education since 2016 to work on programmes that improve the quality of education in public schools across South Africa. They are also a service provider of the South African Council for Educators for Continuous Teacher Professional Development.

Their core team currently consists of Malcolm Mooi and Adele Mooi.
Malcolm is a social entrepreneur with a purpose and passion for unlocking opportunities and unleashing human potential. He has a National Diploma in Engineering with over 10 years of experience in building and scaling start-ups, including Marvel Technologies, Dr CL Smith Foundation and myDIGIVAULT. Malcom is also a published author, and has been the recipient of several international awards for the Zibuza team’s contributions towards SDG4.

Adele is a veteran in early childhood development with 37 years’ experience in establishing, managing and training teachers at Little People Preschool and Community Development Centre. She is also the founder of Isithombo Institute of Learning, where she provides resources and training within Early Childhood Development. Her Discovery series of story and colouring books have been distributed to thousands of children in under-resourced communities.