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17 Awarded as the Aga Khan Foundation for Early Years Innovation Challenge draws to a close.

Launched at the end of May, the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Innovation Challenge concluded yesterday with an awards ceremony.

Organized by the Early Years Foundation with support from the Aga Khan Foundation and the European Union, the Innovation Challenge has been running for a month. Meanwhile, all participants who have passed the first screening stage after responding to the call have been trained in business proposal writing, registration and presentation skills.

At an event held at the Media Challenge Initiative under the theme: “Dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on SMEs in the ECD sector, more than 26 groups presented their presentations in less than 10 minutes. each while explaining the community impact and sustainability angles of companies in education, food, transportation and general well-being of children to a panel of 3 judges.

Before the awarding of the outstanding ideas/innovations, Nakanjako Immaculate, Head of Programs at the Early Childhood Foundation Uganda, addressing those present, thanked the Aga Khan Foundation for bringing hope to the child care sector. early childhood development (ECD) by believing in and supporting this innovation challenge.

“The early childhood aspect is an essential level. Without addressing it, it is more difficult to shape the future. I therefore congratulate the Early Years and Aga Khan Foundation for having set up this initiative in order to empower caregivers”, read the few remarks of Minister Kaduchu, the guest of honor of the day.

Along the same lines, Manuela Mulondo Pacutho; the President of the Early Years Foundation Uganda commended all ECD sector participants for coming through the difficult times of the pandemic; to support them in their passion for early childhood development.

She also praised all the innovators who have made it this far in the competition, and for persevering through all the stages from contest entry, practice pieces, and pitch.

Of the 26 finalists, 17 outstanding solutions were selected and rewarded on merit; each with a start-up grant of an amount of capital to inject into their existing or to be established ECD innovations.

These included West Nile Private Sector, Ghetto Research Lab, LALA Inclusive School, MAMA Children’s Village, Porridge For You, KAINO Africa, Bumble Be Shuttles, Friends Micro Finance, The Cradle, Izere Education, Happy Child Nursery School, LEM Mindfulness, Envoys of Hope, NILE Parents School, KULUVU Hospital Nursery & Primary School, KCCS Model School, Harufu Nannies, and the honorary winner of the day was Crane Learning Hub, as it is This was the preferred solution proposal and personally appreciated by the judges.

Olgah Daphine Namukuza, Aga Khan Foundation Program Manager for COVID-19 Response, succinctly emphasized that young people are not the future, but rather the present.

She also acknowledged that just like with the upcoming COVID-19 pandemic, the transportation, education and entertainment sector has been impacted, but the early discussion development sector has been impacted triply, as everything the world expected parents to teach their children and know how to handle them.

“As a foundation, we recognize and appreciate that the ECD sector is primarily the foundation of this nation and therefore our support in this innovation challenge was inevitable; and therefore offer a helping hand to fuel these solutions which must revive and empower the ECD sector as a whole,” she concluded.