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17 Rewarded As Aga Khan Foundation Early Years Foundation Innovation Challenge Comes To An End.


Launched at the close of May, the Early Child Development (ECD) Innovation Challenge was wrapped up yesterday with an awarding 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. During this time, all the participants who made it past the first stage of selection upon responding to the call were trained in the skills of business proposal writing, registration, and pitching.

In an event held at the Media Challenge Initiative under the theme: “Addressing effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on SMEs in the ECD Sector, over 26 groups delivered their pitches in under 10 minutes each while explaining the community impact and business sustainability angles in education, feeding, transport, and overall wellbeing of children to a panel of 3 judges.

Prior to the awarding of the outstanding ideas/ innovations, Early Years Foundation Uganda Programs Manager Nakanjako Immaculate while addressing those in attendance appreciated the Aga Khan Foundation for bringing hope to the Early Child Development (ECD) sector by believing in and supporting this innovation challenge.

“The Early Child aspect is an essential level. Without addressing it, it makes it harder to shape the future. I, therefore, applaud the Early Years and Aga Khan Foundation for putting this initiative together as a way of empowering caregivers.”, read Minister Kaduchu’s few remarks who was the guest of honor for the day.

In the same vein, Manuela Mulondo Pacutho; the President of the Early Years Foundation Uganda congratulated all the participants in the ECD sector for making it through the tough times of the pandemic; for backing them for being passionate about Early Childhood Development.

She also congratulated all the innovators who had made it this far to this level of the competition, and for persevering through all the stages, right from signing up for the contest, the pieces of training, and the pitching.

Out of the 26 finalists, 17 outstanding solutions were selected and rewarded on merit; each with a seed grant of an amount of capital to inject into their already existing or yet-to-be-established ECD Innovations.

Among these was West Nile Private Sector, Ghetto Research Laboratory, LALA’s 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 was the judges’ favorite and personally liked pitch of a solution.

Olgah Daphine Namukuza, the Aga Khan Foundation’s Programs Manager in COVID-19 Response Interventions in a few words emphasized that young people are not the future, but rather the now.

She also acknowledged that much as with the coming COVID-19 pandemic, the transport, education, and entertainment sector was hit, but the Early Discussion Development sector was tripple hit, as everyone expected parents to teach their children and have knowledge on how to handle them.

“As a foundation, we do recognize and appreciate that the ECD sector is predominantly the foundation of this nation and so our support in this innovations challenge was inevitable; and therefore offer a helping hand to power these solutions that are to revive and empower the ECD sector as a whole.”, she concluded.



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