Rwanda is among those countries that have gone through the most extreme and painful challenging situations, but that have displayed a strong an impressive resilience and unified willingness to move forward and rebuild a bright future.
Every April of the year, Rwanda as a country remembers the toughest and most painful times of its history – where a million of victims were killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi that was unleashed in April 7th, 1994. However, and against all odds Rwanda impressively displayed a unique determination to revert the destructive consequences of this horror by adopting an asset-based approach to rebuilding the country, to create hope and to ensure a promising future for the next generations. One of the ways of achieving this was the promotion and the implementation of an ‘Inclusive Quality Education For All’ policy by the Government, in keeping with the global ambitions set in the Education for All Goals, and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Rwandan Government worked closely with its partners, including Civil Society Organisations and NGOs, to come up with a long-term strategy to foster a competence and knowledge-based economy in a country where the economy has predominantly been agriculture-based since the country’s independence in 1962. Partners, Civil Society, and all development partners engaged in social and economic transformation, have been invited to participate in this collective national effort to empower the population through inclusive and competency-based quality education for all children.
A series of commendable initiatives have been taken as part of increasing access to education to all children while reducing the rate of students dropping out of school. They include:
- A free access to all to a 12-Year Basic Education
- A development of school feeding programme supported jointly by the community, the Government and Civil Society Organizations
- A review of the curriculum (that used to be knowledge-based) to make it become more competency-based
- A development of a structured framework to continuously develop and build the capacity of teachers while engaging and involving parents into the education of their children.
Speaking at community events
Yet the need to invest in the area of inclusive education with a focus on children with disabilities, has never been more urgent than today. Many teachers, care givers, and various stakeholders, are still needing increased capacity building support especially in early detection of developmental delay for children with disabilities and in how to effectively respond to the needs of these children in a more relevant way.
And this is where Chance for Childhood Rwanda, through its various successful partnerships with different donors and partners (including The British and Foreign School Society and UNICEF), has been playing a prominent and leading role in the area of inclusive Early Childhood Development (IECD) by providing proper training, and support, to parents with children with disabilities, by encouraging communities to change perceptions and attitudes towards children with disabilities and by increasing the skills and the capacity of care givers in many Early Childhood Development centres in Rwanda. Our involvement on various frontlines of inclusive Early Childhood Development, has led Chance for Childhood to be recognised as a national level Master Trainer by the National Early Childhood Development Programme (NECDP).
In early 2020, Chance for Childhood Rwanda increased its leadership and strategic positioning in the area of inclusion Early Childhood Development to respond to specifically expressed needs from NGOs operating in the broad education sector of Rwanda. One of them is Wellspring Foundation for Education, an International NGO based in Langley (Canada) and involved in fostering quality education in Rwanda. Despite prior involvement of Wellspring Foundation’s in basic education and in early childhood development, the provided capacity building training was enthusiastically received by Wellspring team of trainers and care givers who expressed their contentment in the quality and in relevance of the training.
Gad Gitore, one of Wellspring Trainers who attended Chance for Childhood’s training shared that:
“The nature of the training was very unique and particular in a way that it offered to each participants, regardless of their experience in the sector, an opportunity to explore the concepts of inclusive early childhood development in a more holistic way. This approach which operates as an eyeopener, encourages the participants to be proactively engaged in the development of their capacities and skills, instead of always relying on others. It is an empowerment-based approach”
Rwanda has certainly not yet fully achieved its dream of transforming its society into a knowledge-based economy as outlined in its key national and regional strategies, but the strong political will of the leadership coupled with the collective engagement of all stakeholders including Chance for Childhood, are certainly a very good reason to hope that it just a matter of time, effort, and perseverance.
Visit our Rwanda page to learn more about our work here.
Country Representative – Rwanda