Africa Improved Foods (AIF) Rwanda Limited donated one ton of Nootri Toto and Nootri Mama Porridge flour to the USAID Twiyubake program. The products packed in 50 kg bags were distributed to 20 ECD centers in 12 districts of program implementation at the start of the new school year in January 2018. The 20 ECD centers were selected according to children in most need of nutrition support.

In collaboration with local authorities, USAID Twiyubake established ECD centers in the 12 districts of program implementation. The program selected and trained facilitators and caregivers living in the community who run those centers together with the children’s parents. In addition, it equipped the center with basic materials and encourages parents to make children’s toys from locally available materials.

Early childhood development builds on education, child growth, nutrition and hygiene. The centers which are community owned, operate from Monday to Friday from 8:00 to 11:00 am and prepare children aged 3-5 years for formal schooling. In the parenting group, parents acquire positive parenting skills and organize themselves to take turns in caring for the children.

The ECD Kavumu in Ruhango sector, Rutsiro district, was grateful for the donation “We are so grateful for the donation of Nootri Toto porridge flour. Please convey our gratitude to AIF. The donation is a motivation for us to start providing feeding to children attending the center, “explained Habitegeko Francois, president of the ECD Kavumu.

“As we do not cultivate sorghum in Rutsiro, the only porridge flour we could offer our children is maize flour. We will start collecting and stocking maize cobs from our fields here at the ECD center. We will grind them to make flour, “explained Francois.

“Starting an ECD center is not easy. Before we were trained under USAID Twiyubake Program implemented by Caritas Rwanda in Rutsiro, we faced several challenges. At the beginning, we had not a room and met outside next to the primary school. Eventually, the Catholic Church offered the chapel to host the children, but there was no sanitation facility nearby”, explained the president.

The parents committee is keen on hygiene. After the break, children rowed up in front of the tippy tap to wash their hands. Then they entered the chapel to have the porridge.

“These are our children. They had not a chance to attend early childhood education before Twiyubake. We have been trained to care for them and now have the knowledge to organize ourselves to run an ECD center. Although we are not all motivated the same way, we realized that when few begin to be convinced, other community members will support you. Today we bring our children to the ECD center which was not imaginable one year ago”, explained care giver Florence N.

The ECD is hosting 45 children of which 14 are program beneficiaries. 31 children are living in the community and joined as a result of a strong mobilization on the importance of early childhood development. The children are coming from six neighboring villages which are Kayeve, Muzeyi, Muhingo, Marabuye, Murambe and have to walk up to 4 km to join the center. Caregivers who come from one of the villages bring the children with them when volunteering at the center.

The program is currently establishing home-based ECD sites and playgroups for children to release children from the long distances to walk to reach ECD centers.

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