Increasing access to and use of ECD services
In the formative years, children need access to services that provide them with opportunities to learn and interact with their peers. Between the ages of 3 and 5 years, children are developing complex social behaviours, emotional capacities, problem-solving abilities, and pre-literacy skills that are essential building blocks for a successful life. Children need access to organised early learning opportunities which prepares them for learning in a school setting and allows them to interact with their peers.
UNICEF provides funds, materials and technical knowledge to establish ECD model “centres of excellence” in each district. These centres provide the infrastructure and environment a young child needs to develop to their full potential. UNICEF also helps train ECD caregivers for these facilities.
Improving effective and responsive child care
Nurturing young children begins in the earliest stages of life. It depends heavily on the home environment in which a child is raised, including two critical components:
- Physical environment, including safe physical spaces, good sanitation, clean drinking water, and the availability of books and toys to stimulate a child’s mind.
- Parent engagement with the child, which nurtures a child’s ability to develop cognitively, physically, emotionally, and socially.
To help parents and other caregivers provide quality child care, UNICEF and the Government have developed a National Parenting Curriculum. UNICEF is also helping to initiate a parenting education programme at national and district levels, as well as in communities.
Supporting policy development and government coordination
Even if children receive responsive care at home and have access to ECD and social services, this must still be supported by effective policy and government support. The Government must also have sufficient budget to implement these policies to support children and families.
UNICEF participates in dialogue with the Government to advocate for child-sensitive, evidence-based policies. UNICEF also supports the Government to develop mechanisms to properly monitor and evaluate ECD in Rwanda, ensuring that ECD services reach all children and families, including the most vulnerable.