Kina Rwanda is taking play experiences to communities across Rwanda
On Saturday, June 11th, 2022 Kina Rwanda run a play event at Gasore Serge Foundation school in Bugesera district which marked the launch of a play caravan that is parat of Build a World of Play campaign. This is the ﬁrst of ﬁve events in the Kina Rwanda Tour, a campaign that is activating play in communities across Rwanda. The event titled “Hanga Isi y’ Imikino” is also aligned with other activities happening around the world, promoting Learning through Play through the Build a World of Play campaign run by the LEGO Foundation.
Malik Shaﬀy Lizinde, the Country Representative of Kina Rwanda explained the objective of the Kina Rwanda Tour. He said: “ We have set out to explore ways to re-deﬁne play and re-imagine learning by encouraging people to recognize and value play as a cornerstone of children’s development. The Kina Rwanda Tour is a community engagement that we are implementing by leveraging partnerships the ethos of promoting children’s development”.
The Kina Rwanda Tour is a collaborative eﬀort of various partners in the learning through play ecosystem and partners whose work includes promoting children’s growth, learning, and wellbeing. The play caravan that is heading to other provinces in the next few weeks is run by Kina Rwanda and UNICEF and implemented with support from Bugesera District, Gasore Serge Foundation, Sugira Muryango, Agati Library, Rwanda Girl Guides Association, Kigali Public Library, Mukamira, and Winnaz. The partners leveraged each other’s expertise to curate playful experiences based on scientiﬁc evidence about children’s development.
The Mayor of Bugesera Mr. Richard Mutabazi also accentuated that play is important in a child’s physical, cognitive and emotional development, He said: “In Bugesera district, we encourage parents to ﬁnd that precious time to play with children because through play, they will easily bond with them, make them their ﬁrst allies, while supporting their development.” “It’s good that Kina Rwanda is promoting the value of play throughout the country, and we are happy and blessed to have hosted them in our District; hope to see you back.”, he added.
Julianna Lindsey, UNICEF’s Country Representative in Rwanda reaﬃrmed UNICEF’s ﬁrm commitment to furthering the Learning through Play agenda in Rwanda along with partners. She also highlighted how critical play is in learning, she said: “Play is our brain’s favorite way of learning. We’re thrilled to partner with Kina Rwanda to provide children from all walks of life, from all over the country, the chance to play, laugh, and dance, but most importantly, learn by gaining problem-solving skills, and increasing their creativity and resilience – skills that will prove immeasurably important as they grow up.”
This event was met with excitement and thrill from a crowd of more than 700 people children and adults. Hundreds of children were seen running, jumping, drawing, engaging in playful crafts, and laughing at the top of their lungs, socializing with others – the joy was one of the main highlights, and deﬁnitely not the only one. As participants rotated from one play corner to another, they witnessed that there is a variety of skills that children acquire from playing and most importantly that anyone can play.
One of the parents who accompanied three children to the play day said: “What I enjoyed most is playing ‘Agati’ as we run and raced with children, they did realize that we can play too.”
A mentor from Sugira Muryango, an organization that aims to help create strong families and thriving childre, said that parents who play with their children from conception are doing a great job of stimulating their children’s minds at a young age. Another parent added: “This was fun and engaging, it helped us get to know our children better as well as what they enjoy most.”
Luckman Nzeyimana, a TV presenter from Rwanda Television who is also a parent from the Bugesera district had accompanied his daughter to the play day, and he urged other parents to intentionally put eﬀorts into helping their children get the most from play. He said: “Let’s give our children time to play so they get to know each other and in the future they can develop friendships through play.”
Inyange Industries, one of the key partners aims to ensure that children consume healthy, delicious, and high-quality dairy products in various ﬂavors through its Mukamira brand. “We believe partnering with Kina Rwanda is perfect as we have similar goals. It is a combination of pushing both mental and physical development of children. We are committed to ensuring that there are more healthy, happy, and playful children in Rwanda.” said Patricia Garuka, Marketing Manager at Inyange Industries.
Parents and caregivers who accompanied children had time to engage with diﬀerent partners to understand the concept of learning through play and how they can practice playful parenting and support their children’s development through playful learning.
The Kina Rwanda Tour is a caravan on the move and it’s heading to other provinces in the next few weeks. In July, more districts will host similar play festivals; with Rubavu hosting the event on the 9th, Musanze on 16th, Nyanza on the 23rd, and Gasabo on the 30th. In the past, Kina Rwanda has trained media professionals and provided reference materials
on creating content that promotes learning through play, and through a radio drama, radio talk shows, TV shows, and social media platforms, they have been sharing content capitalizing on the critical role that play holds in children’s developmental journeys.