Rwanda launches the very first ECD centers in the mining sector
UNICEF successfully advocated for - and supported the establishment of - the very first Early Childhood Development centers in the mining sector in Rwanda
Burera District, Rwanda - The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Rwanda Mining Board (RMB), in partnership with the Rwanda Extractive Workers Union (REWU) launched two Early Childhood Development Centers at Wolfram Mining and Processing Limited and New Bugarama Mining Company respectively, in northern Rwanda.
The launch of the ECD Centers comes after the completion of the pilot phase which aimed at promoting the establishment of child-friendly workspaces and provision of integrated ECD Services within companies in the mining sector.
The two companies have invested in the ECD facilities that have the capacity to enroll between 50 and 125 children respectively within the age brackets of 0 to 3 and 0 to 6 years. The new ECD Centers have the required infrastructure and facilities in place to be operational that is; classroom blocks, dining blocks, breastfeeding area, restrooms, kitchen stations and well-equipped playgrounds.
At the launch, Ms. Julianna Lindsey, UNICEF Representative in Rwanda, said that “UNICEF commits to support the companies to ensure the ECD Centers are functional and impactful to children’s growth and development. This will be executed through capacity building of caregivers and parents on the provision of integrated childcare services.”
According to the CEO of Rwanda Mining Board, Ambassador, Yamina Karitanyi, “Today, we have launched two first ECD Centers in the mining sector. We would like to encourage other mining companies to join the cause and we believe we can achieve great things together for our children”.
"We would like to encourage other mining companies to join the cause and we believe we can achieve great things together for our children”
Speaking at the launch, Mr. Jean Malic Kalima, who doubles as the Chairperson of Rwanda Mining Association and CEO of Wolfram Mining Company said, “We believe that the ECD centers will be very beneficial for both the parents and the children. When a parent knows that their children are safe and being taken of, they are able to work wholeheartedly and become more productive.”
The Director General, NCD-Agency (NCDA), Ms. Nadine Umutoni commended the pace setters in the mining sector and expressed her commitment to support the remaining mining companies that have not yet set up child-friendly workspaces in their respective areas of business. She further stated that “investing in a child-friendly workspace is a win-win situation for both the employees and the company since the initiatives motivate the employees to concentrate more on the tasks and this in turn increases productivity considering that they work in a conducive environment and children are safe and being taken care of.”
The launch of ECD services in the mining sector follows a success story of the tea sector where 16 tea companies in Western Rwanda have set up child-friendly spaces, and others have taken note of the viability of investing in employer-supported childcare. Nearly 2,000 children aged between six months to six years benefit from them every day.
A recent Business Case released by UNICEF, NAEB, and UK Aid reveals that tea companies can earn as much as $34,000 per year from investing in ECD centers. With employer-supported childcare in place, parents of young children can spend more time working which in turn translates to increased production by the companies and subsequently more sales by the company in the markets – all of this resulting in more profits.