South African early learning hub Innovation Edge has put out a call for “bold ideas to revolutionise early learning and development opportunities”, offering a ZAR30,000 (US$2,400) and the chance to apply for up to ZAR1 million (US$80,000) seed funding.
“This innovation challenge encourages all people to apply their existing profession, industry, skills or hobbies – in any field – to innovate a solution aimed at improving early learning during the developmental pregnancy phase or for children, aged 0-6 years old, living in South Africa,” Innovation Edge said.
“Ideas must have the potential for large scale impact at an economical cost within marginalised communities and may include anything from new delivery models or smarter financing mechanism to innovation in the use of technology for training, early learning activities or parent interaction.”
Innovation Edge director Sonja Giese said there was no more knowledge than ever before about how genes and environment interact to shape the developing brains of young children, with the importance of the environment in which young children play, grow and interact unable to be overstated.
“It is this early environment – from conception, in fact – that will shape the architecture of the brain, with life-long consequences. Good nutrition, responsive care, exposure to language, early stimulation through play and feeling safe are all key ingredients for healthy brain development in young children,” she said.