Original Research - Special Collection: Practical Theology

Exploring the social function of congregations: A community development approach to develop ‘hub-and-spill’ early childhood development centres

Marichen van der Westhuizen, Rina Smith, Jacques W. Beukes
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 2 | a4850 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i2.4850 | © 2019 Marichen van der Westhuizen, Jacques W. Beukes, Rina Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 October 2017 | Published: 20 February 2019

About the author(s)

Marichen van der Westhuizen, Department of Social Work, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Rina Smith, Private, South Africa
Jacques W. Beukes, The Programme for Theology and Ministry, Hugenote College, South Africa; and, Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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.


Congregations; Community development; Early Childhood Care; Early Childhood Centres; Hub-and-Spill


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Crossref Citations

1. Authentic African community development practices in a diverse society: A transdisciplinary approach
Marichen van der Westhuizen, Jacques W. Beukes, Thomas Greuel
Verbum et Ecclesia  vol: 42  issue: 1  year: 2021  
doi: 10.4102/ve.v42i1.2150