This campaign, launched in honour of Nelson Mandela Day, provides 67 ways we can start supporting families in South Africa, through the first 1000 day period in their children’s lives. Some of these ideas are so simple, you might be doing them already. Others might take some careful thinking and rallying of others around you. Pick 1 or pick 10 – this campaign is not a quick fix, but a life-long commitment to the well being of our children.
Step 1: Choose
Pick a task (or 2), rally your troupes if necessary, and commit a time to make it happen.
Step 2: Act (and Record)
Participate and take a photo or video of yourself in action!
Step 3: Share and Nominate
Go to our Facebook page and share the story and make sure you use the campaign hashtag #1000DayChallenge so we can track all the action.
Nominate 3 other individuals and/or organisations to join the campaign. We recommend a social media shout out if you’re brave enough. You can even nominate them for a specific task if you think they’re up for the challenge 😉
Did you know that the first 1000 days of life (from conception to 2 years) is when the most rapid time of brain development occurs? The brain a person uses their whole life is nearly 80% developed by the time they turn 2! The adorable toddler next door may barely be able to talk and yet her brain is already well established for life-long learning.
Imagine trying to build a magnificent house, but you’re trying to erect it on a shaky crumbling foundation. If we want our children to become thriving citizens, we need to ensure they have a solid foundation laid down before their second birthday.
So how do we build strong foundations for our next generation? It’s simple! The foundations are built using four simple building blocks – love, nutrition, stimulation and safety. If a child is nurtured with these building blocks, their brain will be able to thrive! The sad reality is that more than half of South Africa’s children don’t have access to sufficient building blocks and so we lose out on the potential of these children every year! (if you want to get a better understanding of how children’s brains develop during this crucial time, we suggest you watch this video) Every generation we lose causes us to perpetuate the cycle of inequality and poverty. In the end, we ALL lose out.
Together, we can change this reality! The solution is simple, but it’s going to take all of us working together to do it. Ordinary citizens, government and supportive organisations need to come together to create the network that supports our precious children.
What’s your baby up to? During the first few weeks of pregnancy, the fertilised egg starts to divide into different types of cells, which will develop into different organs. Every cell has the genetic material ( DNA) from both parents.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Did you know that at 9 weeks your baby (known as a foetus) is the size of a grape and already has toes?Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Your baby’s heart starts beating at 6 weeks and will continue to grow and develop throughout your pregnancy.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Your baby’s first brainwaves can be detected from 6 weeks after conception. This doesn’t mean that he is able to think consciously; that will only come later in pregnancy, but his brain will continue to develop at a rapid pace throughout your pregnancy.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? At 20 weeks (half-way), your baby is roughly the size of a banana.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? At about 16 weeks after conception, your baby’s ears begin to stand out from the sides of her head and she might be able to hear sounds already.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? From week 35 your baby begins to gain weight very quickly as he prepares to enter the world. His lungs are already well-developed and he is already learning to breathe.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? At 40 weeks, your baby is ready to be born. Most babies are born between 38 and 42 weeks.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Your baby is adjusting to life outside of the womb. He is comforted by the sound of your voice as he remembers hearing it in the womb. You will notice from week 1 that when he hears your voice, he tilts his head in your direction to find you.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Between 4 and 8 weeks, your baby will begin to smile at you when you smile and talk to him. These smiles are because he is happy to see you and not because he has a trapped wind, so enjoy them and encourage him to smile regularly.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? You will notice that your baby is able to start supporting her own head from about 8 weeks of age. Place your baby on a blanket on her tummy with her arms in front of her for a few minutes every morning and afternoon. This will encourage her to lift her head and strengthen her upper body and neck. Don’t worry if she doesn’t like this at first. Play with her on the floor and she will soon learn that time on her tummy can be fun.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? At about 3 months old, you will notice that your baby is able to follow moving objects and people with his eyes. This is called ‘tracking’ and is a very important skill as it helps with hand-eye coordination. Your baby will also start recognising you in a room full of people and you will see his face light up when he sees you walk into the room.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Your baby may start saying his first words at around 6 months of age. Most babies start with hard sounds, such as “baba” or “dada” because they are easier to say.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Your baby is developing different ways of holding and grabbing objects. This is helpful when it comes to feeding her solid foods. You may notice her using his thumb and index finger to pick up finger foods. This is called the pincer grip and is a sign that baby is ready to start feeding herself.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Most babies begin crawling at around 9 months of age. Your baby will love his new ability to move around so make sure you keep him safe by keeping doors closed and removing and dangerous items from his reach.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Your baby now knows her name and will look at you when you call her.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Your baby is learning to create two word sentences such as “Mommy up” or “my ball”. In the second year, your baby’s favourite word will probably be “no”.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? In the middle of your baby’s second year, she will be willing to learn physical skills like throwing and kicking a ball or riding a push bike. Give her plenty of opportunity to practice these skills. You will be amazed at how quickly she masters them.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Towards the end of baby’s second year, he might be able to sing or hum along to simple songs if he has heard them many times before. Sing with him often and use actions to help him understand and remember the words.Resources Contact
What’s your baby up to? Before she turns two, your baby will start to want to dress herself. She might even be able to put on her own shoes, although she probably won’t know which shoe belongs on which foot. Her vocabulary will increase to about 75 words but it is likely that only her family will understand what she is saying.Resources Contact