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Each of these thematic areas has been developed into full-fledged flagship programmes, including, among others:. The importance of UN support to NEPAD was reaffirmed in the outcome document of the special event to follow up efforts made towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals , convened by the President of the 68th session of the General Assembly.

In this capacity, the Office plays a leading role in efforts for the enhancement of United Nations System and international support for Africa's development, peace and security, in particular for the implementation of NEPAD. Through its policy and analytical work and convening powers, the Office has:. OSAA also participates in such important regional meetings as:.

Note: the two links below point to the United Nations Bibliographic Information System UNBISnet , a database from which documents can be sorted based on various criteria and accessed in all available languages. The Assembly [of the African Union] [ The 51 Programmes for Infrastructure Development in Africa PIDA programmes and projects being implemented are expected to lead to an integrated continent, fuelling international trade, job creation and sustainable economic growth.

Because agriculture has the potential to lift more people out of poverty than any other sector in Africa, the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme CAADP , a policy framework for agricultural transformation, wealth creation, food security and nutrition, economic growth and prosperity for all, is a key programme of NEPAD.

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Science and technology offer a multitude of benefits for the continent. Activities rated as very important have a mean of 2. All activities in the entertainment, chores and family category were rated as important for learning. Most play activities except for playing with water and playing with sand were rated as important for learning. Two activities from the play category, namely playing with water and playing with sand, were rated as not important for learning. Caregivers were also requested to state what they viewed as the main purpose of an activity according to the following categories: fun, work, socialisation, care, educational, exercise, spiritual and other.

The percentage was calculated for each category see Table 3. Results show that most activities from the play and entertainment categories were perceived as fun, while family activities were considered to serve the purpose of socialisation. Only four activities were perceived care, as these were from the child routine and community categories. Activities identified as educational were mainly from the early literacy and child routine categories. No play activities were highly rated as educational. All activities in the spiritual activity category were considered as having a spiritual purpose.

An insignificant percentage of activities were seen as work or being done for the purpose of exercise. The first open-ended question aimed at determining if there were any activities that the children participated in which were not included in the questionnaire.


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The second open-ended question explored what participants considered as important lessons that children should learn from home. The forth open-ended question required the respondents to share their perceptions on how children learnt, from which four themes were identified. Families provide a rich cultural context in which children learn and develop Carpenter The discussion will focus on the frequency of participation in activities within the eight categories identified earlier as well as how these activities provide an opportunity for learning within the family context.

Child routine activities, which are mainly essential for daily care, have the highest weekly participation rates and were rated by participants as very important for learning see Table 2. This is consistent with the literature, as Dunst, Meter and Hamby suggest that the repetitiveness and frequency of occurrence of routine activities provide children with an opportunity to learn and practise new skills within context. The importance of self-care and hygiene was stated as an important lesson from home and seen by most participants as having an educational purpose.

These activities also allow children to gain insight into family culture. Jarret, Bahar and Kersh showed that low-income African American caregivers showed that they valued family mealtimes and acknowledged the benefits for family life. Various studies have shown the benefits of family mealtimes; this activity provides an opportunity for children to learn new words in context Beals , for parents to listen to children talk about their daily lives Fulkerson et al.

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A study conducted by De Grace et al. The positive benefits of family mealtimes highlight the need for early childhood interventionists to look at strategies to increase the participation of children with disabilities in this key family activity. The role of play in child development has historically been applied by looking at it through the lens of western cultures. Children in this study most frequently engage in running, jumping and chasing, playing with toys and pretend games. Participants viewed most play activities as having a fun purpose for children.

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Participants in the focus groups that were part of the preparatory phase of this study stated that children liked pretending to be a mother by tying a doll on their backs, or being a taxi driver or a teacher. These are the roles that children are regularly exposed to in their daily settings. Results indicate that children frequently participate in water play which is seen as having a fun purpose, and was rated as not important for learning.

Caregiver views on water play may be related to the fact that water is considered an expensive commodity in South Africa. Water is free up to L per household and usage is monitored by pre-pay water metres Ruiters This resource is also shared by large families and sometimes by more than one family and is therefore unlikely to be used in play activities.

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The lower frequency of play with sand could be that most families do not keep gardens because it is expensive to maintain because of the cost of water and that access to sand may be limited because of lack of space Balton Early interventionists need to explore alternate activities within the family context that can provide children with alternate sensory experiences that sand and water play would expose them to.

This could include activities such as assisting with washing vegetables for cooking, helping to measure and mix ingredients during baking and making a fruit salad to explore different textures. Colouring, drawing and pasting was rated as the most important activity for learning; this is an interesting ranking as it was seen as more important than reading or looking at books and telling stories. This perception may be based on the nature of activities that children take home from school or that colouring and drawing may not require adult supervision.

Children engage in conversation on a daily basis, and the topics of these conversations include what they did at school, details of their play with friends and discussions of what they watched on television Balton According to Ouduaran , in African culture, grandmothers often teach younger generations about African wisdom and culture through storytelling.

Children are allowed to watch television because it is believed to improve their English as well as their concentration, and that it is much safer than playing outdoors Balton This sentiment on safety was echoed by Jordan who interviewed 42 families who live in high-crime areas, where watching television was seen as a safe and relatively inexpensive way of keeping young children occupied. Their findings showed that children who lived in neighbourhoods that were perceived as unsafe watched more television. These activities, especially music, are highly accessible in daily life in varied settings Getz et al.

Participants viewed singing and listening to music as fun and educational; one of the participants in the focus group stated that he got his child to sing the national anthem to learn about his country Balton Interventionists need to take cognisance of these activities as potential avenues for facilitating early literacy, because a high number of children frequently engage in them and because participants identified the educational worth of these activities. Very high daily participation rates for praying and attending church weekly are shown in Table 2. Participants in the focus groups reported that children attend church to learn about their religion to become good Christians, to learn how to pray and to be thankful to God for what they have Balton Most participants identified morals and values as important lessons from home, which ties in with the high participation rate for spiritual activities.

Community life also provides children with a range of experiences in the contexts of family outings, community celebrations and other community activities Dunst The accessibility of shopping malls to residents of Soweto has increased over the past 5 years, with two major malls built in and another three in Mazibuko Visits to shopping malls are linked to participation in other activities like playing arcade games and eating out. Participants in the focus groups stated that they prefer to take children to the shopping malls because they were safer than other spaces like community parks.

The high participation rate for visiting shopping malls highlights the lack of safe spaces for children to play in communities. This errand is reported to provide children with opportunities to learn about the environment, the dynamics of interacting with others and offers the opportunity to practise being helpful and responsible, which are important lessons in African culture Nsamenang The lower participation levels for being carried on the back were attributed to the age of children in this study.

The findings of studies conducted in Australia by Carver, Timperio and Crawford and Veitch et al. Many shopping malls have been built in Soweto over the past 5 years; this has increased the availability of fast food outlets with most children eating out at least once a month.


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  4. The mean score for taxi rides also indicates that most children travel by taxi once a month, which relates to the results which show that activities away from home and which require more money occur less frequently. Other activities which children participate in at least once a month include attending parties and family gatherings. Children hardly ever participated in chores like cleaning the yard and family activities such as visiting the family or traditional home.

    While participation levels were high for religious activity, it was much lower for traditional practices such as ancestral ceremonies and attendance at funerals. Less frequent visits are also conducted to the family or traditional home with participants stating that children visit at least once a year. This is understandable within the context of urbanisation, often implying that the traditional home is far from where families live and visiting would therefore incur expenses that the family may not be able to afford.

    Participants in the focus group stage of the study stated that they did not consider parks as safe for children as they were not clean and often had broken glass on the field and that there were possible criminal and drug-related activities taking place at these places Balton Participants in this study believe that children learn most by participating in activities and by observing others.

    The results show that children are exposed to different types of activities and experiences depending on the beliefs, values, practices and resources of families. Participation in activities is also determined by access to resources water and sand play and eating out , the lack of safety and security, which has possibly affected activities like increased visits to shopping malls and decreased visits to parks.

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    Interventionists need to develop an understanding of family activities and integrate developmental goals within these. The use of activity settings is closely aligned to the strengths-based perspective of family-centred practice. This study was conducted in a South African urban setting and cannot necessarily be generalised to other African contexts.

    The author would like to thank Prof. Shakila Dada from the University of Pretoria Centre for Alternate and Augmentative Communication for encouraging her to write this article and supporting her through the process. The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationships that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article. Funding for this study was provided by the National Research Foundation. I am going to ask you a few questions about your child, yourself and your family.

    Please let me know if you need me to repeat or explain any of the questions. What is your relationship with the child? How are you related to the child? What standard or grade did you complete at school? Did you study further? Are you working? If yes Are you working full time, part time or as a casual? Activity settings: Please listen carefully to the following questions:. If you need me to explain or repeat anything, please ask. I am going to ask you questions about activities that your child may be involved in. There are five questions related to each activity.

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    I will ask the questions one at a time. I will show you the possible responses and a sheet to help you remember the different options for answering. We have come to the last part of the interview, I am going to ask you four more questions, please try to answer them all. If you need me to explain anything, please ask.

    Are there any other activities that your child does at home that you think he or she could learn from? What do you think consider as the most important things for your child to learn at home? Please list, in order of importance, 3—5 home activities that make your child laugh or smile Interesting and enjoyable.