REWU commends the establishment of ECD centres at working place in mining and quarry companies
The Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU) commends the various stakeholders for their continued contribution to the establishment of Early Childhood Development centres at working place in mining and quarry companies across the country.
The establishment of ECD centers at Mining sites will address a number of issues including addressing the issue of child labour, eliminating the problem of children who were deprived of access to education and being placed in the care of their siblings, helping women to work safely, protecting the rights of the children and their health, increasing the productivity and incomes of the female worker, improving the well-being of the children and preparing them for the start of school education and thus reaching the time of going to School voluntarily among other positive effects.
The fact that ECD centers are being set up on Mining and quarry companies is a sign of the adherence to the Rights of the Children and parents who are working at Mines and Quarries.
REWU continues to make efforts to improve the livelihoods of miners and their families through advocacy programs.
Achieving all this requires the efforts of everyone, both the private and public sectors, as well as social development partners.
There are currently around 3,000 Mining sites in Rwanda and two mine companies have already established ECD Centers that are well-functioning and appreciated by everyone for their contribution to Child Development.
On March 17-18, 2022, the partners in the Establishment of ECD Centers officially launched the operationalization of ECD Centres at New Bugarama Mining Company Ltd (NBM) and at Wolfram Minerals Processing Gifurwe both located in Burera District, Northern Province.
“The idea of building this centre came up when we saw that some women would go to the mine with their kids, and the kids played in the dust,” Janvier Ndabananiye, Director of Operations at Bugarama Mining Company.
“We started with a small house, which could accommodate five or six children. Now, with the support from the Unicef, RMB, NCDA and REWU we have a centre that can host 60 children,” he said.
Ndabananiye said they’re working with local authorities to get more children from the sector to join the centre.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Rajat Madhok the UNICEF Rwanda Chief of Communication, Advocacy and Partnerships commended REWU for the introduction of ECD Centres and other partners who have worked hard to make ECD centres a reality at the mining sites.
Mr. Rajat said” I wish to extend my gratitude to REWU, the management of New Bugarama Mining Company, RMB and most importantly the mothers and fathers who have made this dream of setting up the ECD centre a reality.”
The next day, on 18th March the ECD centre opening at WMP Gifurwe was officiated by the Rwanda’s Minister of Local Government, Mr. Gatabazi Jean Marie Vianney called on the people working in the mines to avoid illegal mining and participate in government programs while at the same time urging the employers to ensure that workers do their daily activities with maximum safety.
Minister Gatabazi also urged them to make their contributions in Ejo Heza Long-term Saving Scheme as well as in Health Insurance Program.
Amb.Yamina Karitanyi, the CEO of RMB thanks the mining companies whose have already started setting up the ECD centres and call upon other mining companies to do so as their contribution into corporate social responsibilities.
There was an opportunity to celebrate the ECD Centre’s operationalization as it will help parents find a safe place to leave their children while they are in the mining activities.
According to Country Representative of UNICEF Rwanda, ECD facilities at workplaces could boost efforts to tackle issues affecting children in Rwanda.
“The biggest advantage of having this ECD centre is that it benefits everyone; it’s not just the children or their patents,” Country Representative of UNICEF Ms. Julianna Lindsey said.
Ms. Julianna Lindsey said that ECD centres help to tackle the problem of malnutrition and foster children’s health.
Eng. Andre Mutsindashyaka, the Secretary General of Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU), encouraged other mining companies to consider setting up ECD centres at their working place in order to promote women working environment in the industry.
“There are around 3,000 mine sites in Rwanda and we call upon all mine and quarry owners to establish ECD centres. These will benefit not just the families of mining workers, they will also benefit by employers through the production increment and serve the communities around the mining sites,” Mutsindashyaka said
ALL PHOTOS: UNICEF RWANDA