Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Five things you need to know about the National ECD Policy

On Thursday September 15 2016 at Imperial Royale Hotel, Uganda launched its first-ever National Policy and Action plan on Early Childhood Development. The policy is expected to contribute to social, economic and human development, increase of workforce productivity, and poverty reduction.


The NIECD Policy of Uganda has three major objectives;

      -To harmonize existing ECD policy related goals, objectives, strategies and initiatives within and across all sectors.

     -To set, improve and align standards for ensuring access to well- coordinated, quality, equitable and inclusive ECD services within and across sectors.
          -To build and strengthen capacity of systems and structures to deliver integrated quality and inclusive ECD programs.



 It will also ensure integrated services for children from conception to eight years of age in the form of health, nutrition, education, protection, and parenting support services; representing one of Uganda’s most cost-effective ways to achieve more sustainable socio-economic growth in the future. Here are five things you need to know about the policy.

1. It’s all about the children
Early childhood is a special and crucial period during which the brain develops fastest, is most malleable, highly impressionable and most amenable to change. Science indicates that if children are not given timely and adequate opportunities for good nutrition and adequate stimulation, they lose opportunities for good physical and intellectual growth that cannot be made up for at later stages. Yes, it’s highly probable that the implementation of this policy will lead to a general increase in productivity and help us achieve some of our Sustainable Development Goals as a country, but the bottom line is giving children the best start in life.



2. Parents have the primary mandate
What parents do to care for children during the early years has the lifelong impact on children’s development. They need to be supported to effectively provide care through supportive structures and systems, and an enabling environment. The policy has the family and community strengthening as a core program area and prioritizes engaging parents and families in their children’s development and promotion of ownership programs. Family is the first line of response in ECD service delivery.


3. Other caretakers are involved
The Policy also targets other caregivers of these children. These include those who provide care for children in the absence of the parents, such as grandparents, other relatives and care providers in children’s homes. Families, parents and caregivers have the primary mandate for the care and upbringing of young children.

4. The main policy  areas
These include Early Childhood Care and Education, Food Security and Nutrition, Child Protection, Primary Health Care, Sanitation and Environment, Family strengthening and support, Communication, Advocacy and Resource mobilization



5. Each of us has a role to play
It does not matter where you fall; whether you’re into politics or a public servant, whether you’re a soldier, engineer, surveyor, architect or IT specialist. If you’re part of the Media or Local Governments, Civil Society Organizations or a Religious/cultural/community Leader;
If you work in the Private Sector or with NGOs/foreign mission; whether you’re a parent, relative, sibling, or a fellow child, each and every one of us has a role to play in making our communities and Uganda more child-friendly.


The full policy PDF can be accessed here- http://www.unicef.org/uganda/resources_18682.htm



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