Stanbic Bank Uganda in partnership with Katutandike Uganda, a non-governmental Community Based Organisation that supports vulnerable communities in Uganda, has officially opened the Ggaba Market Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre in Bunga.
The facility which was constructed and furnished by Stanbic and Ka Tutandike has the capacity to support up to 30 children per day. It will provide quality day-care services for young children from families working in the nearby Ggaba market area with a clean, safe and healthy environment in which they could receive a quality pre-school education.
Speaking at the official opening, Stanbic Bank Chief Executive, Patrick Mweheire said, “Early Childhood Development is among the focus areas for our Corporate Social Investments”.
“We believe that the early formative years for any child is of critical importance in determining their future and yet in Uganda only 9% of children aged 3 to 5 have access to pre-school education. We therefore partnered with Ka Tutandike Uganda to support this initiative and contribute to improving the lives of the children and families in Ggaba Market.”
“The opening of the ECD will change situation making it possible for the disadvantaged children to get a good start early in life by allowing them to develop their numeracy, literacy and social skills at the right age,” he added.
According to the National ECD Training Institutions Association (2015), Early Childhood Development (ECD) is an important facet of an effective educational journey for any child.
However, this is not provided for nationally which inevitably excludes children from vulnerable families from accessing it. Only 9% of the children aged 3 – 5 are currently being enrolled into nursery or preschool which translates into a gap of 91% yet there is a positive link between early childhood learning and future holistic development of a child.
Talking about their work in Uganda and the role they played in the Ggaba project Anisha Rajapakse, Chairperson of Ka Tutandike Trust UK and Board member of Ka Tutandike Uganda explained, “We have been actively supporting and empowering the most vulnerable communities in Uganda since 2006. This Ggaba ECD project is a particularly innovative initiative as it is not merely a donor funded project.
It is a social entrepreneurship model by which the community/mothers of the children have taken the ownership for the running of the centre and its upkeep through the daily fee they pay. This is also a replicable model for other high poverty communities and we are delighted that Stanbic Bank Uganda has partnered with us and been both strategic and timely to identify and prioritise Early Childhood Development as a key focus area for their Corporate Social Investments
“As partners in this initiative both Ka Tutandike and Stanbic firmly believe that “Poverty” is not just about money. In order to reduce poverty and increase the chances of success for all children, we must invest in their earliest years. The situation is quite critical as almost 1 in every 5 children die under the age of 5 and children below 15 years constitute almost half of the total population in Uganda,” Anisha added.
In addition to the care and education of the children the Ggaba ECD centre will also offer entrepreneurial skills training for the children’s parents, many of whom are engaged in business in the surrounding areas. Stanbic will also aim to facilitate training for the community on areas such as financial literacy and arrange for reading days at the centre for the children.
In closing, Ruth Emunu, Non-Executive Director Stanbic Bank thanked the Local leaders and families in the area for embracing the project which she said would be very beneficial to the community.
“Education is the cornerstone of our CSI activities because we recognise the power it has to transform communities. On behalf of the board, I can assure you that we are very much committed to ensuring the long term success of this project and look forward to coming back in the years to come celebrate how the programme has grown and matured,” she said.