A Chance to Play South Africa (ACTP) is a registered non-profit organisation based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Launched in October 2011, ACTP promotes the right of all children in South Africa, from birth to 18 years, to have access to safe, age- and ability-appropriate play as part of their development and well-being.
Why is play in trouble?
Although play is one of the most important activities of childhood, it is also one of the most neglected of all the rights of children worldwide. Across South Africa, play rights and play environments are under threat mainly because play is generally not valued or recognised as important
Barriers to play include:
Lack of awareness of the importance of play and recreation
Not enough play spaces near to children’s homes
Poor and hazardous environments
Many children don’t have gardens or yards to play in (urban planning)
Dangerous traffic – so parents don’t want their children to walk anywhere
Crime, child trafficking, sexual abuse – parents are afraid for their children’s safety. Parents are too busy – don’t have the time to take their children to play
Resistance to children‘s use of public spaces
Lack of access to nature
Pressure for educational achievement
The growing role of electronic media
Marketing and commercialisation of play – these play spaces are expensive
Other children who are play deficit include:
Girls who may be burdened with chores and childcare.
Children with disabilities, especially those who are physically challenged for whom there are almost no suitable
play facilities anywhere in South Africa.
Focus is often on child survival with little emphasis on the broader needs of the child.
Let’s get more children playing!
In 2008, international child rights organisation, terre des hommes Germany (TDH) with the support of the VW Group Works Council, initiated the A Chance to Play Programme in South Africa in the run-up to World Cup 2010. This special programme was launched with a view to contributing to a World Cup for all: Focussing on socially marginalised children and young people, opportunities for playing and sport, linked with learning and training programmes, were created, allowing boys and girls to learn and to hold their own: on the playing field and in the game of life.
Publishing of the A Chance to Play Manual in 2009. It was distributed freely to NGOs throughout South Africa
and other SADC countries. The Manual is a comprehensive guide to the right to play and play activities. It is
the basic guide for ACTP’s training courses. In 2017, an updated edition was published which is available for free download from the Resources Page
In order to maintain the momentum of the A Chance to Play programme, a 3-day Strategic Planning Conference was held in October 2011. 15 partner organisations from 6 Southern African countries participated. A founding document was signed and a consortium, A Chance to Play Southern Africa, was launched with continued support from TDH.
ACTP was represented at the launch of UN General Comment 17 (2013) in Geneva.
• The Play Today parent and facilitators’ booklets provide guidelines for stimulation from birth to 6 years, The parent booklet has key words in all 11 local languages. This programme was piloted in 7 provinces in 2015.
• A Success Story booklet that provides evidence of the impact of ACTP training was completed in 2015.
• Production of the Play Policy Brief (2017) – a well-researched analysis of play policies in relevant government departments in South Africa. Its conclusions direct us to gaps in play provision in South Africa, especially for older children, adolescents, and children with special needs.
• A distance course “Principles and Practices in Enabling the Child’s Right to Play” was piloted in 2018. It
was developed to increase access to training and to reduce costs. Support and evaluation is done through
assignments and virtual discussion sessions.
• In 2018, the Play Forum model which enables communities to take the lead in creating opportunities and
spaces for children of all ages and abilities to play, was implemented in 3 areas (Soweto, Pietermaritzburg and
Diepsloot) by partner organisations.
• Recreation and Sports officers from the Jo’burg Department of Sport and Recreation were trained with funds
from the National Lotteries Commission.
• A play forum was created in Diepkloof, Soweto in partnership with the Jo’burg Department of Sport
and Recreation and ChildLine Gauteng. For the first time, play forum members received training and embarked
on an ambitious project to build a playground after consultation with children.
• Development in June 2020 of “The Play Bubble Model for enabling PLAY during the COVID-19 Lockdown”
endorsed by 19 NGOs
• Development of an online Workshop Series because of restrictions placed on face-to-face training by the COVID pandemic. The series was successfully piloted in September 2020.
Meet the team
Child Participation Advisor