The Participatory Action for Rural Development Alternatives (PARDA), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in the Upper East Region, has constructed an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre for the Azueyera community in the Builsa North Municipality.
The centre, set to benefit children within the ages of four to five years, has office for teachers, furniture, play equipment, stationeries, and lavatories, all funded by Children Believe (CB), a child-focus NGO at an estimated cost of GHȻ505,619.000.
At a ceremony to handover the centre to the Chiefs and people of the community, Dr Michael Wombeogo, the Executive Director of PARDA, said the project was the third of its kind in the Municipality after it had previously constructed two in the Kassena-Nankana West District, within three years.
He said the ECD centre was part of the Builsa-Kassena Area Child Development Partnership programme between CB and PARDA, constructed within the planned activities for the 2023 Financial Year.
Dr Wombeogo said PARDA was happy to collaborate with CB as it believed in the vision and aspirations of their organisation towards the provision of quality education for children and its importance in nation building.
“A good educational foundation from early childhood ensures that every child matures as an enlightened Ghanaian and a responsible citizen destined to contribute meaningfully towards the growth and development of Mother Ghana,” he said.
Dr Wombeogo urged the Regional and District Directorates of the Ghana Education Service (GES) to pay critical attention to child protection at all levels.
“PARDA and her partners plead with you to ensure close monitoring of schools, utilisation of educational resources and parent-teacher awareness on the dangers of not protecting children from their early ages against social vices and challenges,” he said.
The Executive Director further appealed to Directors of the GES to ensure that qualified teachers were posted to the community and called on members of the community to regard the ECD centre as their own, and ensure it was well maintained to serve generations.
Mrs Esenam Kavi De Souza, the Associate Country Director of CB, emphasized that her outfit focused on children, “We believe that if you invest in every child, you are investing not just in the individual, but in an entire community and nation.”
She said the interventions of CB were centred on breaking barriers to education, including physical access and conducive learning environment, health, water and sanitation, protection of children and gender barriers in communities.
She cautioned parents in the community that the facility was not a baby-sitting centre, noting that “It is a facility for education for children between the ages of four to five years. So, if you have children who are younger than four years, please keep them at home.”
Madam Vida Akantagriwen Anaab, the Municipal Chief Executive for the area, thanked PARDA and CB for the initiative saying, “This building has really come at the right time, especially as we have falling standards of education in the Municipality.”
She said infrastructure was critical to the promotion of quality education, and urged parents in the area with children within the age range to ensure they enrolled their children into school to give them strong educational foundation.
Nab Francis Akanbegme Asangalisa II, the Paramount Chief of Chuchuliga expressed gratitude to PARDA and CB for the ECD centre and the development projects in the Traditional Area and appealed to the government to extend electricity to parts of the area without electricity.