The National Child Development Agency (NCDA) has called on the private sector to invest in Early Childhood Development (ECD) infrastructure so as to enable productivity of the country’s labor force and groom future leaders.
The call was made by NCDA Deputy Director General, Gilbert Munyemana during the launch of a new Center Based ECD in Rushaki sector, Byumba district that will serve as a development center for children whose mothers are in cross-border trade between Rwanda and Uganda border posts in Gatuna- Katuna.
The center, which will accommodate 80 children for starters, was constructed with the manpower of Rushaki parents during Umuganda exercises, supported in collaboration between UNICEF and NCDA), and financially supported by IHS Towers, to support children aged 0–6 years and their families to access integrated ECD services.
Munyemana said that the contribution of the private sector, such as that from IHS Rwanda, is very crucial in enabling the country to meet its 2024 target of establishing 45,000 ECDs in the country.
Recent Statistics show that children accessing ECDs has increased from 16% in 2016 to 70% in 2021 due to awareness and tasking districts to implement the policy of one per village to attain the universal ECD access by 2024.
There are currently 30,000 ECD settings in the country with the largest number of them (21,000) being home based ECDs.
Munyemana said that currently center based ECDs account for 25% against the 45% target by 2024 and in order to reach this goal, the private sector needs to come on-board.