DO MORE FOUNDATION and Capita Forge Early Years Climate Plan for SA


Young children (0 – 8 years) stand out as one of the groups most vulnerable to the impacts of the climate crisis, which is already having detrimental effects on their health, development and well-being. In response to this reality, the UAE’s Ministry of Education in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority (ECA), launched the Greening Education Hub at UNFCCC COP28, emphasising the importance of positioning children’s early years at the core of global sustainability efforts.

The Greening Education Hub brings together experts, educators, policymakers, and stakeholders from the Early Childhood Development (ECD) and climate fields to discuss strategies and solutions for mitigating the adverse effects of climate change on young children’s education.

On Wednesday, 06 December 2023, Warren Farrer and Joe Waters, CEOs of DO MORE FOUNDATION (founded by RCL FOODS) and Capita, a global, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank based in the USA, participated in a multi-sectoral panel discussion addressing the intersecting challenges and solutions of ECD and climate change.

During the Climate Change, Early Childhood Education, and School Readiness session, panellists discussed the importance of designing climate-resilient early education and childcare programmes alongside safe, nurturing environments that support holistic ECD.

Africa’s children face disproportionate climate risks

Low-income countries are often the most susceptible to climate change and lack the resources to adapt to its effects. The UNICEF report Time to Act: African Children in the Climate Change Spotlight, found that children in 48 of the 49 African countries for which data is available are at ‘high’ or ‘extremely high’ risk from extreme weather, illnesses, pollution, and environmental degradation caused by climate change.

According to UNICEF’s Children’s Climate Risk Index, South Africa is at medium to high risk of climate and environmental shocks and childhood vulnerability to these. Already 27% of South Africa’s children under the age of 5 are stunted, experiencing impaired growth and development. This is due to factors such as poor nutrition, inadequate early learning and stimulation, and lack of parent/caregiver support at home.

DO MORE FOUNDATION and Capita team up

Building on this, an exciting new partnership was subsequently announced between the DO MORE FOUNDATION and Capita, set to launch in early 2024. This initiative, named the South African Early Childhood Climate Action Coalition, aims to connect communities, various government sectors, NPOs/NGOs, businesses, and research institutes to support young children and their families within the context of climate change.

“We’re not just protecting young children against the impact of climate change; we’re recognising their value as contributors to resilient societies,” says Warren Farrer, CEO of DO MORE FOUNDATION. “By addressing their unique needs within climate action, we can empower young children to transition from vulnerability to essential contributors, shaping a prosperous future with thriving communities and sustained socio-economic progress for South Africa.”

Ensuring this progress requires robust collective action, focusing on child-centred solutions. As a ‘backbone organisation’, the DO MORE FOUNDATION has witnessed first-hand the value of multi-sectoral collaboration for community development in South Africa. Together with Capita, who launched the US Early Years Climate Action Plan in 2023, a first worldwide, they will develop an Early Years Climate Action Plan providing a roadmap with solutions for South Africa.

Capita CEO, Joe Waters, stated that Capita’s purpose is to build a future in which all children and families flourish. “Climate change does not merely impact the future today’s children will inherit; it is a problem and an opportunity here and now,” he adds. “Ensuring child-centred action on climate change will create cleaner air and water, more green space and shade, healthier buildings, communities better prepared for extreme weather events, and much more: all benefits that ripple out far beyond the individual child and family.”