By Prosper K.
Tizza, (UWR), May 11, GNA – ActionAid Ghana has inaugurated an Early Childhood Development Centre at Tizza in the Jirapa District of the Upper West Region.
The gesture is in furtherance of its commitment to build a solid foundation for children’s physical and mental development in school.
The facility which was constructed at the cost of GH₵ 160,000.00 from ActionAid Child Sponsorship income for 2015 is made up of two large rooms, a kitchen and a storeroom with ancillary facilities.
Mattresses, mats, plastic plates and cups and other assorted items have been procured to create conducive environment for the children at the Centre.
Mr George Dery, ActionAid Regional Progamme Manager said the intervention was aimed at reducing women’s unpaid care work and giving children below four years a unique opportunity at the community level to develop physically and mentally.
He noted that the intervention is the first of its kind in the region.
He said the success of the Centre would inform subsequent planning as well as the organisation’s advocacy work in the region on early childhood education.
Mr Dery announced that close to 70 children from one to four have been registered by the community as the first badge to start the programme.
He appealed to the community to ensure that the facility is well managed to make it sustainable.
Mr Dery noted that as human rights based organisation, ActionAid recognises the need to support government to create opportunities for all children to have access to quality education especially at the basic level.
He pointed out innovations such as the Rural Education Volunteers scheme provides the opportunity to young senior high school graduates to be recruited as pupil teachers to fill vacant classrooms in rural areas.
He noted that this arrangement was later taken over by government through the youth employment model known as the Community Education Teaching Assistants.
Mr Dery said observed that the feeder school concept was introduced as an innovation in the Sissala East District to enable children in deprived communities to have access to formal education at the lower level in their communities.
Government had since absorbed these schools and turned them into fully-fledged academic entities.
Mr Dery said currently ActionAid is promoting the concept of model kindergaten in the region and has built four in the Sissala East and two in Jirapa located in Tizza Mwofo and Ulkpong communities.
He indicated that the NGO had since 2000 organised a series of National and Regional Girls Camps for basic school girls and consolidated the gains by firmly rooting the ideals in the formation and strengthening of girls’ clubs in basic schools.
The beneficiary schools are in Jirapa, Lambussie-Karni and the Sissala East Districts with the ultimate aim of promoting girl-child education in the region.
Mr Dery said because children and women issues are dear to the ActionAid the organisation, has teamed up with UNICEF to run a two year project aimed at reducing the increasing incidence of child marriage in four districts in the Region including Jirapa from 2015 to 2017.
Mr Cletus Seidu Dapilah, the Jirapa District Chief Executive thanked ActionAid for the facility and urged the eight- member management committee sworn in to ensure effective management of the facility.
He promise to supply the school with the free school uniform and also hook it to the school feeding programme in order to increase enrolment and retention.
Mr Yahaya Mahama, the Jirapa District Social Welfare Officer appealed to the management committee to take steps to register the facility as an Early Childhood Development Centre as required by law.