Rwanda released two important guides on November 20, one on the Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS), designed with information to support the development of children, and the National Parenting Guides (NPGs) which entail effective parenting skills. Parenting guides were developed to operationalise the National Parenting Curriculum, Diane Iradukunda, the Acting Head of Child Development, Protection, and Promotion at the National Child Development Agency (NCDA), told The New Times. ALSO READ: Rwanda releases guide on early learning, development “The guides were produced to direct service providers in effectively building parenting skills and to also guide parents on how to provide positive parenting to children,” she explained. For the parenting guides, she noted that they aim to resolve different issues like ignorance among parents, stunting, and violence among children. Iradukunda added that ELDS were developed for Rwanda to support parents, caregivers, teachers, leaders, and decision-makers to understand how young children develop and learn. “We wanted to respond to the issue of children who are not supported by parents or caregivers for their proper development (physical, social-emotional, cognitive, and language).” The documents that were completed in one year, have a dissemination plan mainly focusing on training, meetings, and distribution of printed documents, making videos and audios of these booklets using media and social media. Iradukunda noted that the documents are friendly to parents as they use pictures and key messages. “We have a plan to know if everyone understands the information whereby, we have a channel for receiving the questions and providing responses. We will also conduct monitoring activities to check if the dissemination goes well,” Iradukunda stressed. She noted that parents, caregivers, and teachers have a role in promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood through providing inclusive services including nutrition, health, brain stimulation or education, protection, hygiene, and positive parenting. According to Min Yuan, the deputy representative of UNICEF Rwanda, children’s rights continue to be a huge topic and the guides would assist in supporting kids to realise their rights. She noted that Rwanda has made progress in the last years in promoting children’s rights though there is still a problem of poverty, however, there is a transition. “I am happy to see that the government and partners are providing support to convey knowledge, evidence, policies, and practical tools to support the rights of children,” she explained. Gilbert Munyemana, the deputy director general at the National Child Development Agency, explained that the parenting guide will equip parents, caregivers, and everyone with comprehension of how to care for children’s needs, from providing their health care, education, and meals, to opportunities that push their capabilities and talents. “Allow children to practice what you teach them, positive parenting contributes to the proper upbringing of children. They require a safe place where they can speak openly, and free from defilement, and other ill behaviour,” he stressed. Sister Immaculee Uwamariya who serves as the headmistress of College St. Bernard, a girls' high school in Kansi, Gisagara District, said the parenting guide will assist in addressing the issue of poor grooming, stressing that time is a great factor that bonds children and parents. However, most children don’t get to enjoy it as parents are busy with work, and while at home, they are distracted by phones and televisions. She added that the guide will also enable parents to understand the importance of playing with their children, noting that kids don’t open up or trust if you don’t play with them. “Kids need a space, and equipment to play.” Uwamariya further noted that family conflicts affect children psychologically as they are traumatised by their parents’ verbal and physical fights. Clarisse Akanyana, a senior three student at Hope Haven School Rwanda and president of the committee of the children’s forum in Kicukiro District, noted that appropriate parenting starts with how children are treated, highlighting that some caregivers and parents nickname children, which may lower their self-esteem. She noted that the parenting guide encourages children to express their thoughts and opinions, emphasising the importance of including them in decision-making and listening to their desires rather than assuming and making decisions for them. Akanyana added that decision-making includes choosing the courses they prefer to pursue, without forcing them into taking courses they lack interest in or are unable to excel in. She also encouraged children to play their part. When provided with all the necessary requirements, including education, they should be able to study and excel, but not join cliques that lead them astray.