News note: New Early Childhood Development and Family Centre ensures the best start in life for children of Kayonza
Mukarange, 12 July 2013. – Rwanda’s first Early Childhood Development and Family Centre was launched today in Nyagatovu Village, Kayonza District following the partnership between the Imbuto Foundation and UNICEF, as part of One UN in Rwanda.
Her Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, Ms Jeannette Kagame, with partners from the Government and the UN Family, community leaders, parents and children officially opened the model Early Childhood Development and Family Centre (ECD&F) within a larger Integrated Development Programme (IDP), which is implemented in two districts, Kayonza and Rwamagana, in the Eastern Province of Rwanda.
This ECD&F Centre is a prototype model for community-based services that promotes the holistic development of the young child. This Centre truly demonstrates the provision of integrated child and family services looking at the child’s development from all angles: its health, its nutritional status, its cognitive development and its socio-emotional well-being.
Welcoming the participants, UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda Lamin M. Manneh emphasized the importance of investment in children for a country’s successful future and confirmed the commitment of the One UN to support further Rwanda’s early childhood development priority. “A young child represents our future. If children grow up on a strong foundation, it means creating a stronger Rwanda”, he said.
“The Centre that we have seen in action today acknowledges that you cannot divide a child. A baby requires food, but also needs to be loved and cared for, protected from abuse. Every child needs to be stimulated for early learning”, added UN Resident Coordinator in Rwanda Lamin M. Manneh.
With financial support from the One UN, UNICEF has collaborated with the Imbuto Foundation to model a facility for integrated family and child services in the district of Kayonza. This Centre will provide in-house services three afternoons per week and home visits will be undertaken regularly.
The caregivers were trained on quality parent-child relationship, particularly the importance of fathers’ involvement, and techniques for engaging children in play materials contained in the UNICEF ECD kit, which includes puzzles, games, board books, puppets, art supplies for developing cognitive, motor and socio-emotional skills of young children between the age of 0-6 years.
Over the next years, modelling of such community-based integrated ECD and family Centres will be implemented in 10 districts throughout the country as part of the national ECD policy and strategic plan, supported by UNICEF.
Testimonies from mothers and pregnant women in the Kayonza Centre prove how crucial the holistic approach is to eliminate stunting and develop family practices that can foster children’s physical and mental welfare.
Both the UN Resident Coordinator and Her Excellency the First Lady in their respective remarks appreciated the active partnership between leaders, development partners and communities with Imbuto Foundation to achieve development programmes’ based investing in children and young people as well as improving sustainability by communities’ participation and ownership.