29 December 2017

Rwanda: Project to Boost Children's Life Skills in Three Districts Unveiled

A new project expected to facilitate children to develop crucial life skills through play has been unveiled. It will operate in three districts.

Right to Play, an international organisation, launched the three-year project worth Rwf200 million.

The initiative on involving children in making their own play materials and designing their playgrounds will first be implemented in Ruhango, Bugesera and Kayonza districts.

Speaking at the launch of the project this week in Kigali, Amadou Cisse, the country director of Right to Play, said the implementation of the project is expected to enhance life skills of children, help them communicate well, and develop their critical thinking capacity.

"We work with local authorities to identify where we can put our efforts. As an organisation, we are not able to do everything but with the means we have, we make sure they are focused and have maximum impact," Cisse said.

He added that the Power of Play project would increase the life skills of children who are both in school and out of school.

Parents, teachers and children are involved in the project, with an estimated 13,000 children, 100 teachers planned to participate in play based activities.

It will be implemented in 50 schools in Ruhango, Bugesera and Kayonza districts, and in each of the 50 schools two teachers will be trained.

"As a district, we have been working together in play basic learning but the project has also been involved in other social activities like construction of five volleyball and basketball pitches in primary schools in Kinazi, and Mwendo in Ruhango District. Involving children in making their own play materials and their own playing ground will match the new competency-based curriculum, where students are involved in all the things that they can do," Emmanuel Kabalisa, the Education official in Ruhango District told The New Times.

He added that it also opens up the children's mind to know that what is learnt in class should not be left in books but should be put in practice.

Kabalisa said they are also working with parents and local authorities to reach out to street kids in the district.

Children in many homes, according to local authorities, have few opportunities to play, mainly because there are very few safe play areas and children have domestic chores to do or have to contribute to the family income.

Pasteur Nkundabagenzi, a representative of parents' committee at Groupe Scolaire Rwingwe in Ruhango District, said the project will help involve their kids in more learning.

He promised to rally parents in churches and community meetings to give value to children's playing.

"It is also a way of promoting Made-in-Rwanda materials because imported playing kits will be reduced," he said.

Right to Play seeks to have boys and girls in about equal numbers participate in the activities.

At least 60 per cent of girls between 8-12 years will be involved in creating their playing grounds in seven schools in Ruhango.

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