DataDrive2030 uses data tools and insights to drive greater access to better-quality early learning for young children in South Africa.


Good quality early learning provision plays a major role in promoting healthy development in young children from all backgrounds, but particularly those from poor households.

The South African National Development Plan commits to high quality early childhood education for every single child in the country by 2030.

Urgent action is needed to translate this commitment into concrete change.

At DD2030, we harness the power of data tools and insights to inform and amplify the actions that are most likely to achieve our 2030 goals.

The clock is ticking

Countdown to 2030

2030 GOALS

To decrease the performance gap between young children in the richest and poorest households at the point of entry into school.

To increase the % of young children in South Africa who thrive by fiveThis means that the child is on track in key areas of development by the age of 5 years, setting more children up for success.


We operate collaboratively in a dynamic ecosystem, and strive to make early childhood data accessible, understandable and actionable by all.

Our Team

Our highly experienced early learning specialists are responsible for the development and continued enhancement of our data tools. They work closely with respected local and international researchers and with early childhood development (ECD) practitioners who have a deep and grounded understanding of children’s realities.

Our project managers and data engineers provide field work and technical support to ensure that our data collection tools are able to be used by individuals and organisations with very different levels of expertise, and in a variety of challenging contexts.

Our training team is responsible for the coaching and accreditation of ELOM assessors, of which we have a growing cadre of over 200, able to administer the ELOM tools in all 11 official SA languages.

Sonja Giese
Executive Director and Founder 
Sonja is an ardent social entrepreneur and creative problem solver, with over 30 years experience tackling development challenges facing children in South Africa.
Sedzani Mathoho

Special Projects Technical Lead

Sedzani has a finance background and is passionate about enabling fact-based data-driven decision-making, while uncovering hidden insights to drive positive change.

Grant Edmond

Chief Financial Officer

Grant is passionate about using data to drive social change and the potential for quality ECD programmes to contribute to a more equal society.

Simone Beukes

Special Projects Operations Lead

Simone has over 15 years experience in non-profit operations and believes that by working together, we can harness our collective passion to create a brighter, more compassionate world.

Tawanda Madamombe
Data Engineer

Tawanda is an avid data scientist and problem solver, with a background in business, Geographic Information Systems and demography.

Tyryn Carnegie

Data Analyst

Tyryn is interested in driving impactful insights and decision-making through data. He has worked with nonprofits and government agencies in the education and health sectors.

Elizabeth Girdwood

Project Manager

Elizabeth holds a Masters degree, specialising in the Economics of Education. She has consulted extensively on costing and improvement of ECD services in South Africa.

Callum Hollywood

Data Analyst

Callum has a particular interest in the ‘R’ statistical programming language and enjoys developing across the analytics pipeline to extract insight from data and bring it to life in a clear and meaningful way.

Caylee Cook

Senior Researcher

Caylee holds a PhD and has a research background in children’s cognitive development and early learning, specifically in disadvantaged settings.

Aimee Hare

Special Projects Research Lead

Aimee is a curious and compassionate applied economist who has a strong background in applied microeconomics research design, implementation, and evidence dissemination.

Cailyn Sonderup

Independent Consultant

Cailyn’s qualifications in positive psychology and occupational therapy combined with community experience inform her commitment to advancing early learning in our country. 

Melicia Fernandez

Finance and Operations Officer

Melicia has an admin, operations, and finance background. She is passionate about the work DataDrive2030 does and the impact it will have on future generations.

Technical Associates

Andrew Dawes

Early learning specialist

Andrew is Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town and a Research Associate with the Young Lives study at Oxford University.

Linda Biersteker

Early learning specialist

Linda is a developmental psychologist and educator and considered one of South Africa’s leading Early Childhood Development specialists.


Pumla Mkhiva

Senior Trainer,
Kwa-Zulu Natal

Pearl Tom

Senior Trainer,

Inge Sonn

Senior Trainer,
Western Cape

Liezl Worship

Senior Trainer,
Western Cape

Marieta Visser

Senior Trainer,
Free State

Callan van Veen

Senior Trainer,
Western Cape

Mphokazi Malangeni

Assistant Trainer,
Western Cape

Papama Mateza

Assistant Trainer,
Western Cape

Ernestina Letsela

Assistant Trainer,
Free State

Miranda Rikhotso

Assistant Trainer,

Aletta Ngangani

Assistant Trainer,
Eastern Cape

Pamela Twala

Assistant Trainer,
Western Cape

Nosipho Gumede

Assistant Trainer,
Kwa-Zulu Natal

Nokhanyo Nkani

Assistant Trainer,
Eastern Cape


Réjane Woodroffe

Rejane is the Director and a founding member of the Bulungula Incubator, a not-for-profit organisation engaged in an integrated rural development programme in a remote part of the former Transkei. In 2014, Réjane received the John P. McNulty prize for her work. She has previously held the positions of Chief Economist and Head of International Portfolio Investments for Metropolitan Asset Managers and Research Analyst at Merrill Lynch.

Shivani Ranchod

Shivani is a joiner of dots and a weaver of threads. She has had a multi-faceted dynamic career that has encompassed conscious leadership, independent advisory, organisation building and academia. Her background is as an actuary, but that label doesn’t convey her commitment to trans-disciplinary problem solving and her ethos of inter-connectedness and inclusivity. She provides the organisations she is affiliated with with stewardship, organisational design, spiritual sustenance, thought-partnership and wise counsel. 

Dr Siphiwe Dlamini

Siphiwe is an accomplished academic and experienced marketing professional with expertise in strategic leadership, people management, business development, sales strategy development, and data analysis. He holds a PhD in Business Science from Wits University. He is currently the Head of the Department of the School of Management Studies at UCT.

Dr Noxolo Gqada

Noxolo is a portfolio lead with Reach Digital Health. She is a medical doctor by training and her diverse professional experience includes clinical practice in the public sector, co-founder of a health-tech start-up, consultant, and portfolio lead at an African-based digital health non-profit organisation. She is committed to finding innovative solutions that improve access to healthcare – for the most vulnerable.


The Early Learning Measurement (ELOM) tools were originally developed by Innovation Edge (IE), an impact-first investor focused on solving early childhood challenges in South Africa. IE provided the initial seed capital and facilitated access to other early-stage investors, laying the foundations for the successful scale up of the ELOM tools.

The development of the ELOM tools would also not have been possible without the extensive network of partner organisations and individuals who gave input at critical stages. These partners include: iKapadata, Wordworks, RedInk, Alacrity Development, Social Surveys Africa, the Department of Basic Education, Midlands Community College and The Learning Initiative.