Policy to ensure young children in Uganda develop the foundation required to realize their potential well-being and success throughout their lives
Uganda’s first-ever national policy and action plan on early childhood development was launched yesterday.
“The launch of the integrated Early Childhood Development (iECD) Policy and Action Plan is a landmark occasion for all children in Uganda,” said Hon. Janat Mukwaya, Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
“It is also a pivotal milestone for Uganda’s overall socio-economic development, especially as we intensify our pursuit of sustainable wealth creation and inclusive growth in order to achieve Middle Income Country status by 2020 and become an upper Middle Income Country by 2040.”
The iECD Policy and Action Plan will ensure integrated services for children from conception to 8 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.
“When considering that our current average income per individual is $780 and our Vision 2040 goal is to have a $9,500 income per individual in 2040 – a twelve fold increase over the next 25 years – we have a long ways to go in a relatively short period of time,” said Patrick Bitature, Chairman of the Private Sector Foundation Uganda.
“We must therefore seriously invest in the capacities and potential of today’s children right from the start so they can be the drivers of our economy in 2040 that we expect; the Private Sector is thus fully committed to robustly implement this Early Childhood Development policy and action plan with Government and all other stakeholders.”
Global evidence shows that for every dollar spent on early childhood interventions, there is at least a $7 return on that investment, making investments in Early Childhood Development one of the best investments any society can make.
“The development of children’s brains and skills from conception to 8 years of age has a lasting effect on their intellectual capacity, personality and social behaviour for the rest of their lives,” said Ms. Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in Uganda.
“When well nurtured and cared for in their earliest years, children are: healthier and better able to fully develop their thinking, language, emotional and social skills; perform better in school; and have a greater chance of becoming creative and productive members of society.”
The transformational, lifelong impact that quality Early Childhood Development services have on every child greatly help to ensure that the rights of every child are protected – both for today’s and tomorrow’s generation of children.
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development holds the Secretariat for implementing the National Integrated Early Childhood Development Policy and Action Plan and will be convening all stakeholders to implement the policy and action plan – key Government Ministries, Private Sector Institutions, Development Partners, and Civil Society Organizations, among others – on a monthly basis.