Anaka ECD Centre
Anaka Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre, established in 2012, is located in Northern Uganda’s Nwoya district and consists of two classes, K1 and K2, which serve around 110 students. Many nursery schools include a K3 class but the school’s head-teacher, Lily Rose, indicated that the pupils have been doing so well that after K2, they are normally ready for their first year of primary education. The centre has two rooms, one for K1, the other for K2; both are basic, and simply furnished. However, the classrooms are brightened by several posters mounted on the walls, colourful chalk on the blackboards, and pupils’ drawings proudly displayed by teachers.
In K1, 70 brand new pupils sit on their small wooden chairs around four large, low tables. Although the young children have only been in this formal learning environment for several weeks, they appear to be adjusting well to their new routine. The pupils’ behaviour is exemplary as they politely sit, arms folded, attentively awaiting instructions from their teacher, Evelyn. As the class spends the morning learning new songs, aided by energetic actions and dancing, the children are clearly enchanted by Evelyn’s enthusiasm and gentleness. Whilst the classroom is rather dark, the children’s joyful singing can lighten up any space. Later on in the day, the pupils are given colouring and drawing activities; the children work well together as they huddle over their tables to complete their group tasks.
Evelyn, trained in ECD, loves to teach and shared that her favourite part of the job is singing and dancing with the children: “I have always wanted to be a nursery teacher and so I really enjoy spending my days with the children; we have a wonderful time together”. As the Ugandan government does not pay the salaries of pre-primary school teachers, it is the responsibility of the children’s parents to pay school fees to ensure that committed teachers like Evelyn can remain employed. At Anaka ECD Centre, parents have taken this responsibility seriously, and even contribute towards a fund which provides nursery children with a filling lunchtime meal: porridge, served in bright plastic bowls. Indeed, one parent shared that “we are willing to work hand in hand with the school to ensure that our children do well in their classes”.
Although several hours spent in Evelyn’s K1 classroom highlighted her excellent credentials as a teacher, Evelyn says that it is difficult to plan stimulating lessons and give children the very best academic support when she has so few materials at her disposal. Anaka is limited by its insufficient resources; children must share exercise books and pens, and they lack engaging learning tools needed to maximise their learning and development.
At African Revival, we want to see children offered the best start in life which is why Jumpstart! is working alongside Anaka ECD Centre to equip classrooms with teaching materials and resources, enabling teachers to plan creative and academically sound lessons which will contribute significantly to their pupils’ development. Additionally, we will also be building an outdoor play-area, where children will be able to develop their social skills-amongst others- in a safe and exciting atmosphere.
As part of the Jumpstart! partnership with Anaka, African Revival also recently hosted a community sensitisation meeting, which communicated the importance of ECD to parents and care-givers; an incredible record number of 203 parents and care-givers attended the meeting! In Uganda, 29% students ultimately drop out of school because of their parents’ lack of interest in their education. As such, seeing so many parents fully committed to their young children’s development is a real joy and encouragement. We believe that with the support of the school leadership, parents, care-givers and Jumpstart!, each child at Anaka has every chance to succeed in nursery School, primary School, and well beyond.