The Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA), a Non-Governmental Organization has commissioned a newly constructed Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre at Saboro, a community at Chiana in the Kassena-Nankana West District of the Upper East Region.
The facility which has two classrooms and offices was funded by the Children Believe (CB), a child-focus NGO based in Tamale in the Northern Region, and intended to improve early childhood education in the community.
The ECD centre also had axillary facilities such as lavatories and a spacious playground with recreational facilities for the Kindergarten pupils, who were hitherto housed in a dilapidated structure, while others sat under trees for lessons.
PARDA also equipped the centre with teaching and learning materials and presented 65 handwashing facilities to schools across the Builsa and Kassena-Nankana areas to support them in fighting the spread of COVID-19.
Dr Michael Wombeogo, the Director of PARDA in his address at the ceremony to commission the school, said the initiative was one of PARDA’s child development programme implemented within the Builsa and Kassena-Nankana areas to ensure children in those areas had access to basic education.
“We do not want any child within our operational areas to sit home with the excuse of lack of school facilities. We hope that with the support of CB and all their donors, we will be able to reach out to all communities.”
Dr Wombeogo charged the Chiefs and people of Saboro to take proper care of the facility so that it would last to serve future generations, “Handle it just as you handle the resources of this community.”
He said “Children are the future leaders of this country, and we want every child in this community to reach his or her full potential. It is our responsibility to make sure we protect and support them to achieve their fullest potential.”
He disclosed that apart from the facility, PARDA had trained about 200 adolescents on personal hygiene to enable them to take care of themselves, and 200 pupils on child protection with a focus on sexual reproductive rights.
Mrs Esenam Kavi De Souza, the Country Manager of CB, indicated that the newly commissioned school was one of the six infrastructure projects in the Northern and Upper East Regions that her organisation funded within their current fiscal year.
She said for the past three years, CB had focused on improving ECD by promoting good health and nutrition with a focus on the first 1000 days of life, positive and responsible care, security and safety of children, and providing education for early learning.
“As an organisation, we recognise the importance of starting right. The early childhood period is when the most significant brain development happens, particularly in the first two years of life, and this shapes a child’s future into adulthood.”
The Upper East Regional Director of Education, Mr Edward Azure, who received the keys to the centre, said most ECD centres in the Region had no adequate structures and facilities to serve their purpose and expressed gratitude to PARDA and CB for the initiative.
Mr Jonathan Atimpe, the Assembly Member for Kafania, Saboro and Adognia Electoral Areas on behalf of the Chiefs and people of Saboro, thanked the NGOs for their quest to improve ECD in the community and appealed for more support to other schools in the Chiana area.