IHS Rwanda, a subsidiary of IHS Towers, a leading owner and operator of shared telecommunications infrastructure, and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Agency, have collaborated to increase access to Early Childhood and Development (ECD) services in the Nyagatare and Gicumbi districts in Rwanda.
According to an official announcement released on February 15, 2022, in recognition of UNICEF’s expertise and experience in implementing ECD programmes, IHS Rwanda has made a financial donation to UNICEF to broaden the provision of ECD services in the two districts. The funds will be used to establish two ECD centers, one in each district, as well as supply indoor and outdoor learning material, aligned with Rwanda’s national standards for ECD centers. These centers will cater for children under six years’ old, and immediately precede their school education.
The establishment of the two ECD centers helps lay the groundwork for children’s school readiness and transition to primary schools. Both centers will be in close proximity to a primary school and will use the national ECD curriculum to inform quality learning.
“Failure to invest in children in their early years can have irreversible consequences on their opportunities in later life. We are grateful to IHS Rwanda for this generous contribution, which takes us closer to attaining our goal of ensuring that all children in Rwanda – whether they live in rural or urban areas and regardless of the economic status of their families – have equal access to ECD services,” said Julianna Lindsey, the UNICEF Representative in Rwanda.
The two districts were recommended by the National Child Development Agency (NCD Agency) due to the limited availability of ECD services, and the need to create a safe and stimulating environment for children of market traders within these areas.
“IHS has been a dedicated supporter of UNICEF, and the incredible work they do, in several other of our African markets. On behalf of IHS Rwanda, I am delighted to extend that support yet further still and contribute to the important work UNICEF undertakes in Rwanda. Early education is of paramount importance as it gives children the best start in life. We are committed to supporting access to equal education, and the development of these early childhood development centers is crucial to that equality.” said Kunle Iluyemi, IHS Rwanda Managing Director.
UNICEF is working in close collaboration with the NCD Agency to advance child rights and wellbeing in Rwanda. To date, UNICEF have actively supported the establishment of ECD centers in 21 districts across the country.
To ensure the sustainability of the centers, most are managed by local government authorities, with support from their respective district authorities. The local community is actively mobilized and they too play a vital role in the establishment and daily running of the ECD centers.
Each ECD center will have two classrooms/stimulation rooms, a kitchen, feeding shelter, child-friendly toilets and an office for caregivers, a fence and water storage tanks. Each classroom will have capacity to host 40 children, meaning that each center will host a total of 80 children, equaling ECD provision for 160 children on an annual basis.