To initiate home based ECD facilities and playgroups in Kayonza district, USAID Twiyubake implementing partner in Kayonza district, Young Women’s Christian Association of Rwanda (YWCA), selected villages with many young children who either had to walk long distances to the community based ECD centers or who did not have an opportunity to be enrolled into them because of its high demand. The program also provided a three-day training on home based ECD to strengthen caregiver and community based volunteer (CBV) skills on basics of child development, day to day interactions with children to promote learning, establishing parenting groups and their active participation.

Dativa, a 39 years old mother, offered her living room to establish a home based ECD facility. “Dativa was already working as a caregiver since July 2016 at the Igihozo ECD center in Mwiri sector. She understood very well the ECD concept. She was the one who approached us and informed that she would like to provide the living room of her house in which 15 children could be hosted, especially because the parents in her village were asking her for it. Dativa had already gained the trust of the village residents as she used to sensitize in village meetings on child protection, against child labor and reminding parents to take good care of their children”, explained David Karemera, Field Officer at YWCA.

“Deep inside me, I always loved caring for children but I did not find an opportunity to practice it professionally. My parents passed away when I was 14 years old, since then I raised my younger siblings. The program trained me and promoted me from an ECD caregiver to a home based ECD CBV in May 2017. As a CBV, I manage all the activities around the home based ECD which YWCA equipped with basic materials”, explained Dativa.

Every day, two caregivers volunteer and assist the children at the Icyizere home based ECD at Rwazana village in Mwiri sector. The children come from 7-10.30 am. Children are grouped by age: 3-4 year and 5-6 years. The children usually start by a song which is followed by a prayer. At 9.30 am they go for a break on the grassland next to the house. At 10 am children go back to class and parents feed the children with porridge. The parenting committee is gathering each Sunday from 2-3 pm. They are a group of seven people. In the parenting group, parents acquire positive parenting skills and they schedule themselves to take turns in caring and providing porridge for the children and constructing handmade play materials to be used by the children in the facility.

Most of the parents cultivate on neighboring fields. It relieves them when the children are in the home based ECD facility. Almost all the parents of young children in the village asked Dativa if she could enroll their children in the home based ECD facility to allow them to pursue their income generating activities.

“My husband also became a caregiver and volunteers twice a week in the home based ECD program. He loves children the way I do and we both have a lot of satisfaction working in this service. We have five children and the youngest is in the home based ECD program. For now, we only have USAID Twiyubake program children who attend the home based ECD. I wish all children in our village could attend the home based ECD service. Our dream is to build another house next to this house, to have all children attend the service”, explained Dativa.

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