Ntataise and its Network aim to shape children’s beliefs and attitudes regarding gender equality
Ntataise has long been seen as a pioneer in the Early Childhood Development sector. Founded in 1980, it has for more than 40 years worked to help women in disadvantaged, primarily rural communities gain the knowledge and skills they need to establish effective and sustainable ECD programmes for the children in their care.
Early Education is where value systems and attitudes are set and therefore presents an excellent window of opportunity to influence children’s value systems before gender patriarchal and cultural stereotypes become ingrained in children and affects their later development.
Gender inequality and violence against women and children must be addressed at grassroots level, and early childhood is an important part of this. With funding from The Solidarity Fund, Ntataise together with its Network has written a short course on combating Gender Based Violence (GBV) to upskill those who work in ECD on this urgent topic.
When it comes to GBV and early childhood, studies show that children who were exposed to violence and maltreatment from an early age are more likely to be violent towards their own children and partners in adulthood. It is therefore critical to intervene early and support families to break this intergenerational cycle.
“Gender equality should be a right not a privilege” said Sarah McGuigan Executive Director of Ntataise “by building anti-discriminatory and anti-bias mindsets from a young age, we can help develop respectful, responsible and values-driven citizens who support and advocate for gender equality for generations to come. ”
Preventing GBV requires a community-based, multi-pronged approach, and sustained engagement with multiple stakeholders. The most effective initiatives target underlying risk factors for abuse, like the social norms that surround gender roles and people’s acceptance of abuse. Parenting and caregiving the abuse of against women and children.
A child’s early years is when they acquire the concepts, skills and attitudes that lay the foundation for life-long learning. Timely and appropriate interventions can often mitigate the effects of poverty and early deprivation, and maximise the development of a child’s innate potential. Ntataise aims to achieve this by increasing access to good quality Early Childhood Development programmes.
Developing gender-sensitive guidelines and policies for these early years, beyond the national call for gender equality and an end to GBV, is critical within the ECD sector. With large numbers of children being mistreated and abused, early intervention is essential for putting a stop to the intergenerational cycles of violence experienced countrywide.
The Ntataise GBV course is currently being rolled out nationally, with the long-term aim of reaching as many ECD centres as possible.