Africa-Press – Rwanda. Brain research shows that what happens in the first three years of a child’s life, impacts their development and future health. Children who experience positive interactions at a young age are said to go on to be healthier and more successful in education and economic outcomes.
It has hence been proven that intervening early to ensure children receive the stimulation and care they need to reach their full potential is much needed, and easier at this stage compared to later in life.
In this context, the government, in partnership with different organisations, is set to launch a training programme targeting people who look after children on a daily basis, commonly referred to as nannies.
The programme will be implemented through a partnership between the National Child Development Agency (NCDA), Unicef and Help a Child Rwanda.
“It is imperative to ensure that people who play such a big role in the child’s development especially at a very critical age, are given all the necessary skills in child care and tips on how to facilitate children’s social, emotional, physical, mental, and intellectual growth,” said Nadine Gatsinzi Umutoni, Director General of NCDA.
Rwanda has made efforts to improve child care by establishing Early Childhood Development Centres in different communities across the country.
These primarily serve to ensure that children are safe while parents are at work and have been used as one-stop centres for child care including on matters of nutrition.
The new training programme in child care services, child development and positive parenting practices is meant to equip caregivers with the skills to provide appropriate care to children in ECD centres and at home.
It is scheduled to happen from October 8 to November 26, and will be conducted by Help a Child Rwanda. The organisation has recently worked with Unicef and the private sector to build the capacity of caregivers in workplace child care centers in the tea plantation zones.
Julianna Lindsey, Unicef Representative in Rwanda, emphasized the concern that in urban areas, parents often go to work, leaving child care up to domestic workers with limited skills.“Nannies as secondary caregivers need to be equipped with adequate and practical skills to care for children,” she said.
This announcement was made at the launch of CEO Forum for Children by Unicef Rwanda, Private Sector Federation, PSF and NCDA.
The forum brings together top CEOs from leading private companies across Rwanda to advocate, participate in dialogue, and implement child-friendly policies at their respective areas of businesses while sharing a common voice for children’s rights.
They all committed to act as champions of change in scaling up Family Friendly Policies within the Private Sector. Some agreed to build ECDs at their workplaces, while others agreed to extend the paternity leave to 14 days allowing the father to actively participate in the first days of the child among others.
“A parent who leaves their baby at home, especially if they’re still breastfeeding, is not entirely at peace. They not only need reassurance that their baby is okay, but also, they need to fully contribute to the baby’s wellbeing,” said Fabrice Shema, CEO of Gasabo Investments Company.
Shema, whose company operates Kimironko market, promised to build a breastfeeding room for mothers who work in the market.
“It will be a space where they can also leave their kids, go to work, come anytime to breastfeed or simply to rest a bit,” he explained.