IREAD Taps Uganda’s Early Child Development Resource

Masaka Secondary School are the champions of the 14th edition of East Africa secondary school (EASS) football boys. Masaka defeated Alliance high school 4-3 in penalties following a thrilling two all draw in normal time.

Julius Kazibwe opened the scoring early in the 19th minute before Fred Kasongo and Athanas Mdamula staged a comeback and early first half win for Alliance. Kazibwe came back and completed his brace with an equaliser six minutes into the second half.

Masaka’s skipper Mujuzi  Mustafa had his penalty saved by Alliance keeper as Robert Ssentongo, more about Shaban Waswa, viagra 60mg Mbaziira Shakidu and Janjali Joseph scored theirs.
Jackson Kigozi in Masaka goal saved Dance Maboud’s kick as Fred Kassango hit the bar.

Masaka takes over from St. Mary’s Kitende who incidentally crashed them 3-0 in to take the national Copa coca cola trophy. Kitende lost 1-0 to Alliance in semis and were subsequently banned for one year because of indiscipline.

They will also be the first team, pharmacy other than Kitende, to win the trophy in nine years. Gitega from Burundi picked bronze.

However, St. Mary’s didnt go home empty handed as the girls’ team won the netball and basketball titles.
selected results:

Kitende (UG) 52-18 Exodus (UG)

HANDBall boys
ES Mukingi (RW) 22-18 Gombe (UG)


Kitende (UG) 74-56 Shimba HillS (KE)

Alliance (Tz) 3-4 (2-2) Masaka

Hockey Standings/Rankings
1. St. Antony (ke)
2. St. Charles, Kasasa (Ug)
3. Narok Boys (Ke)
4. Ntare School (Ug)
5. Lenana School (Ke)
6. St. Mary’s, Kisubi (Ug)
1. SInyolo (Ke)
2. Trans Nzoia (Ke)
3. kerugoya (Ke)
4. Kakungulu Memorial (Ug)
5. City High (Ug)
6. Old Kampala (Ug)

Masaka ss celebrating after winning UMEA trophy.
The idea of Early Childhood Development (ECD) does not sound important to many Ugandans, more about a trend that has denied the country a much more resourceful and intelligent human resource.

ECD refers to education children are supposed to get before they clock the age of six and simply involves spending time at learning centres to mingle and play with other children before returning home.

The thought of sending kids below the age of four to school for playing and interacting with peers irritates Ugandans who look at it as wastage of money.

They would rather keep the kids at home sweeping the compound.

However, online research has proved that the early years of a child are crucial in determining the quality of their intellectual capacity.

Research further indicates that learning begins at birth and that whatever experiences a child goes through during the formative years will impact on child’s learning in later years either positively or negatively.

This is however not the case in Uganda especially in rural areas compared to urban centres that are privileged to have ECD centres as indicated in report by the World Forum on Early Care and Education.

The report highlighted that access to these centres in urban areas is at 22 percent as opposed to only 8 percent in the rural areas.

A mere two percent deduction of the national defence budget estimated at Shs 1 tn would see ECD centres constructed across the country in almost all parishes.

Donors and kids at one of the Early Child Development schools opened in West Nile
Donors and kids at one of the Early Child Development schools opened in West Nile

IREAD the Way to go

For Canadian dentist Dr. Noor Jaffer, buy information pills ECD is a solid investment in any country’s future but many have ignored it hence the need to do something before it’s too late.

In 2010 the Canadian dentist started an Organization named Institute for Rural Education and Development (IREAD) with the sole aim of ensuring that rural areas in various countries are privileged to have ECD centres.

According to the doctor, 57 percent of children in the world don’t have access to ECD centres which is quite alarming.

”Early childhood development is not all about going to school for learning through reading and writing but learning to share and making decisions among other skills on top of living freely with others as part and parcel of a tool to sharpen the child’s brain,” said the doctor who was born in Masaka and trained at a British University.

IREAD has been able to construct 4 ECD centres in Kayunga district (Kitatya) and West Nile region.

“Two of these are resource centres for training ECD teachers and are owned and operated by villagers through the local centre management committees,” Dr. Jaffer observes.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremonies of ECD centres in Wani, Deku and Lobule West Nile last week, Dr. Jaffer pointed out that the centres will provide an opportunity for the children to learn to communicate with others, explore, ask questions, share ideas, take risks and work together.

“The centre will stimulate the young children’s learning sphere through participatory role play and when it is time to join primary one these children will be confident, eager to learn and ready to take on new challenges,” he observed.

A vast body of research has demonstrated that ECD programs benefit children, families, and communities.

The reduced dropout and repetition rates, improved school achievements, greater adult productivity, and higher levels of social and emotional functioning encouraged by ECD programs make them a highly cost-effective means of strengthening society as a whole by ensuring that its individual members live up to their full potentials.

Evaluations of well-conceived programs designed to foster early development demonstrate that children who participate in these programs tend to be more successful in later school, are more competent socially and emotionally and show better verbal, intellectual and physical development during early childhood than children who are not enrolled in high quality programs.

Kids ready for the newly opened ECD Centre
Kids ready for the newly opened ECD Centre


How IREAD Works

According to Dr. Jaffer, IREAD through the Aga Khan Madrasa program identifies areas that are worth helping before searching for donors to raise funds for the construction of the ECD centres.

”I visit the identified villages, sign agreements with locals for them to provide land. I then go look for donors to fund construction of the school. Villages are tasked to provide unskilled labour,” the doctor says.

Dr. Jaffer says IREAD trains and equips schools with properly trained teachers to provide the necessary skills to the children while parents are asked to raise funds to cater for the teachers’ welfare.

”Each child is asked to pay Shs 12,000 each month to cater for the teachers’ welfare but in the actual sense at the end of the 3 years the child will have benefitted a lot. In fact by the time the children go to nursery school, they will be able to grasp everything taught to them but all this courtesy of the Early Childhood Development they received.”

He says each school must have at least 4 teachers, adding, “our duty is to maintain the quality of what is being taught through ensuring we train teachers during seminars.”

According to Dr. Jaffer villages are tasked to form school management committees to oversee the day today of running of schools that accommodate 5-100 children.


The interior of an ECD set up by IREAD in Uganda
The interior of an ECD set up by IREAD in Uganda

Sponsors Happy with the Cause for Children

Mr Safil Hajee addressed the Nyai local community, Koboko District on behalf of his family, which donated the Hajee Early Childhood Development Resource Centre, in honor of their parents Fetahri and Mariam Hajee.

They returned to Uganda 18 years ago, thanks to the receptive nature of the Uganda government.

Mr Hajee is now the CEO of the Lucrative Graphic Systems based in Kampala.

They see it important as part of Graphic Systems Corporate Social Responsibility initiative to donate a nursery school to the local community.

The found opportunities enabled them to establish themselves in different parts of Africa today.

The family  employs several thousand people across Africa and the aim of donating to IREAD project is to strengthen the skills of their local staff so that they can be valuable members of the society.

The school constructed out of Hajee's generosity
The school constructed out of Hajee’s generosity

Mr. Hajee believes such skills can be imparted at an early age and that high quality early childhood education has a great number of benefits when accessed equally by both girls and boys  and is instrumental to high cognitive and intellectual development .

“It is also important to give back to Uganda what it has so generously given to us. Early childhood education has lifelong benefits such as, higher intelligent scores, higher school completion rates, improved social and emotional behavior, improved parent childhood relationship, increased earning potential as an adult, increased female labor force, therefore, ECD is a highly cost effective means of strengthening society as a whole and improving the quality of life for future generations,” he said.

The Hajee Family said it was proud to be part of the IREAD initiative and encourages the community to take full responsibility and ownership of the school.

He adds that it would be a good gesture if other individuals and companies followed suit and donated in a bid to help construct early childhood centres in the country.

For another Canadian based dentist Dr. Manjula Reddy, it has always been her wish to give back to the disadvantaged people in form of donation.

”The children need to have a good early education and when Dr Jaffer contacted me, I felt it was the time for me to have some contribution to ensuring children are well off in terms of education. With time this will be of great use to them as they will realise the great job i did in terms of donation,” Dr. Manjula says of her $50,000 donation.

Shafique Sekalala of Aga Khan Foundation reads out Certificates for ECD trained teachers
Shafique Sekalala of Aga Khan Foundation reads out Certificates for ECD trained teachers


Dr. Jaffer explains that children who have gone through ECD centres perform better in higher education and stand many chances of living a successful adult life compared to those who missed early childhood development.

”The children learn how to make good decisions which in these centres and if compared to other children of the same age bracket, these are more bright because of the early education they achieved. This is realised when they grow up and after finishing education, children who have gone through early childhood learning centres are more innovative and successful in life.”

He adds: “By the time a child, who has passed through ECD centres is six years old and ready to join school, he or she is able to read and write well.”

Dr. Jaffer further says they have a major challenge in being able to explain to the locals how Early Childhood Development works and its benefits.

Dr. Noor Jaffer, Chairman IREAD Project
Dr. Noor Jaffer, Chairman IREAD Project

“When they come to school and find children only seated down, playing without any chalk or blackboard and shouting , they start questioning why the children have joined the schools.”

The doctor further says that locals are hesitant to maintain and keep the buildings in good shape as they believe the facilities are for the donors yet in the actual sense they own them.

The Canadian doctor notes that a lot needs to be done by government in as far as early childhood development is concerned as it’s an investment in the future of the country.

”Any investment that we make in early childhood now, we will see the benefits when they come out of university as we will have produced winners,” he speaks with confidence.

He says they are to set up more top notch ECD centres countrywide on top of training more teachers in a bid to ensure all children get this form of education.

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