Exploring the social function of congregations : a community development approach to develop ‘hub-and-spill’ early childhood development centres
CITATION: Van der Westhuizen, M., Smith, R. & Beukes, J. W. 2019. Exploring the social function of congregations : a community development approach to develop ‘hub-and-spill’ early childhood development centres. HTS Theological Studies, 75(2):a4850, doi:10.4102/hts.v75i2.4850.
The original publication is available at https://hts.org.za
This article reflects on the findings of a research study that investigated a community development project by CARITAS, a welfare organisation of the Dutch Reformed Church (DRC). The said organisation, together with local DRC congregations, and in a quest to address societal issues such as poverty and child neglect in the Northern Cape, developed early childhood development (ECD) centres in rural towns. The aim was to provide young children with quality care and to provide congregations with a platform to become active participants in community development projects. The study was conducted 5 years after the start of the project to explore the nature and value thereof. The outcomes of the study provide valuable insights regarding how such centres served as a tool to work towards ECD and a sense of community in these towns, while also addressing socio-economic issues. This article is aimed at presenting the findings as an example to be explored in other contexts.