New home-based Early Childhood Development Centres to increase mothers' productivity in Nyaruguru district, Unilever tea catchment area
On June 14 2022, UN Women Rwanda, in collaboration with its partners Action pour le Developpement du Peuple (ADEPE) and Nyaruguru district, officially inaugurated three Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) in three sectors of Munini, Kibeho and Mata in Nyaruguru district. The project comes as a solution to fight malnutrition and stunting in children but also promotes women's safety and economic empowerment, especially young mothers employed in the Unilever tea plantation. With the ECDs in Nyaruguru, women will have enough time to work with the assurance of safety and good nutrition for their children, which will increase their productivity.
Niyibivuga Nathalie, a full-time employee in the tea plantation said that she used to leave her three-year-old daughter alone at home “I was always working under stress, telling myself that my child would get hit by a cyclist.” From now on, Niyibivuga will leave her little one at the centre and focus on her work, a joy she shared.
Delphine Mahoro, a part time tea leaf picker and house assistant in Kibeho, expressed her joy at the arrival of this centre, “I sometimes do the work of a house help. One day, the site manager fired me because my 2-year-old son was crying and disturbing others. The arrival of this centre is an opportunity for me to earn more,” says Mahoro.
"These centres aim to awaken the child's intelligence, protect them against risks as soon as they can run home alone, and fight against malnutrition," says Assumpta Byukusenge, Vice Mayor in charge of social affairs appreciating the fruits of a good partnership.
The goal is to promote the participation of women in income-generating activities. “We want women to work and participate in the development of their families. But because of the daily chores at home, including childcare, they are always busy. That's why we initiated this project,” says Alice Rugerindinda from UN Women.
According to Grégoire Rucamihigo, National Director of ADEPE in charge of the execution of the rehabilitation of these three centres and their annexes, this project cost more than 100 million Rwandan francs (100,000 USD) and has the capacity to take 80 children per ECD Centre.
The 2019-20 Rwanda Demographic and Health Survey (2019-20 RDHS) results show that 24 per cent of children aged 24-59 months (2 to 5 years) living with their mothers are attending an organized early childhood education programme and at national level, 33 per cent of children under age five are stunted (too short for their age) while in Nyaruguru district, 39 per cent of children under age five are stunted.
This work is supported by UN Women under the “Safe Rural Public Space Project” to enhance the overall safety of women and girls, men, and boys in the Unilever Tea Rwanda tea plantation’s catchment area in Kibeho, Mata and Munini Sectors of Nyaruguru District in the Southern Province of Rwanda.
The project is funded by Unilever and implemented in three sectors of Nyaruguru District.