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Rwanda, 25 November 2016: UNICEF ventures into private sector partnership with SORWATHE on early childhood development interventions

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Kisambira
SORWATHE Director General Rohith Peiris (left) and UNICEF Rwanda Representative Ted Maly (right) exchange MOUs during the signing ceremony at the UNICEF Rwanda headquarters.

KIGALI, Rwanda, 25 November 2016 – On Friday morning, representatives from SORWATHE, the Rwandan Tea Company, and UNICEF Rwanda met to sign an important Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This new partnership will increase access to early childhood development (ECD) services and pre-primary education for families and children, primarily those in Rulindo and Gicumbi Districts surrounding the SORWATHE factory and plantations.

This agreement is an important milestone for UNICEF and for children in Rwanda, as it is the first long-term partnership with a private sector business. The partnership is also unique in that it is non-financial, but instead combines existing resources and knowledge.

SORWATHE commits to building one pre-primary school per year, integrating the new structure into existing primary schools and handing them over to school administration. UNICEF will contribute to these new institutions by ensuring quality early childhood development services and early childhood education through capacity building and technical support – mainstreaming these centres in line with the recently approved ECD policy guidelines.

© UNICEF Rwanda/2016/Kisambira
Guests watch a documentary on ECD before the signing ceremony at the UNICEF Rwanda headquarters in Kigali.

During the MOU signing, UNICEF Representative Ted Maly explained, “Both SORWATHE and UNICEF bring important experience to this partnership. Both organisations have experience at the grassroots level, as well a strong working relationship with the Government and at the policy levels. These advantages will be essential in demonstrating models of integrating child rights in businesses.”

Rohith Peiris, Director General of SORWATHE, asserted that “business is not just about making money. It’s about looking after those who work for you and those that may work for you in the future. We are delighted and extremely honoured to begin this partnership with UNICEF to improve the nutrition and education of children around the plantation.”

In the near future, UNICEF Rwanda aims to work with additional private sector organisations, and hopes that this partnership with SORWATHE will pave the way for other successful partnerships for advancing Rwanda’s development agenda.



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