Mohammad, 5, happily plays with his friends at the new Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) centre constructed by Plan. The residents of a rural village in Uganda have welcomed the centre and quickly recognised it as a place of protection and development for their children
Previously, when parents went to the field for their daily work, young children would often be seen unattended in the corners of the village. Left alone, the children were vulnerable to accidents and abuse of all kinds, a few even died.
To put an end to this situation and provide good quality care for infants and young children, Plan undertook to build several ECCD centres in villages where Plan works.
Now, in the centre of Mohammad’s village, stand two classroom blocks, a store room and latrines. The centre looks after 160 children from 3 to 6 years who come every morning to learn how to socialise, sing, write and count.
The children are looked after by trained educators who carefully watch over them and guide their learning using a curriculum. The children also learn good hygiene practices such as washing hands with soap and the development of monthly medical checks ensures the children’s health is monitored.
“Since the beginning of the medical visits, diarrhea and malaria cases with fatal consequences have greatly decreased in children,” stated Oumou Keita, one of the
The creation of early childhood services not only provides good quality care for infants and toddlers, but also allows older girls who often have to stay at home to look after their younger siblings the opportunity to go to school.
To ensure their citizenship and inclusion at elementary school, Plan regularly organises birth registration activities. The community leaders have also committed themselves to keep the center in a good state of cleanliness and maintain the upkeep of the facilities.
Research shows that children that do well at school are those who have been stimulated during early childhood before starting school – either at home or in daycare.
The village mothers agree and recognise the benefits of the centre on the behaviour of their children. Mariama has noticed that her son Osama’s social development has greatly improved.
“I am very happy for the awakening and new curiosity of my boy. He is constantly engaged in educational games at the centre and now asks questions about everything” she said