On Thursday, 8 November 2018, 11 Jamati volunteers graduated and received a Certificate in Child Care from Madrasa Early Childhood Development Institute (MECDI), licensed by the Ministry of Education and Sports. 

The Madrasa Preschool project started in Mombasa, in response to a request made by Ummah leadership to Mawlana Hazar Imam in 1986. Their request was for help with developing a strategy for overcoming the education handicap of young children in gaining access to the formal school system. 

In Uganda, the Institute was established in 1993 as an affiliate of Aga Khan Foundation and subsequently launched in 1996 by Princess Zahra and the First Lady Hon. Janet Museveni and has since benefited over 65,000 children and has supported over 100 schools and trained over 3,000 teachers.

The 11 graduates are from Jamati Cohort 4, who will now join other volunteers from previous cohorts in providing weekly early childhood development (ECD) interventions for Jamati children in Uganda and making a difference. A total of 40 Jamati caregivers have been trained over a five-year period through this programme and more than 25 of these are currently engaged with Jamati ECD and five volunteers are currently pursuing a Master’s degree in ECD.

At the commemoration speech of the 25th anniversary of the Madrasa programme on 14 August 2007, Mawlana Hazar Imam said in Kenya, "We gather today, then, in a spirit of enormous gratitude - to the Pioneers who led this effort, the Ummah and Jamat leadership, the donor community, the government leaders who have been involved, and so many dedicated volunteers - from the very beginnings of the programme right down to the present day. In the end, the story of the Madrasa Programme has been a story of personal commitment.

And we know that the story must go on. The dream will continue to unfold. And the work which all of you have been doing will continue to resonate in the thousands of lives you have touched and shaped - and in the lives of their children and grandchildren.”

We wish to congratulate all 11 graduates for this wonderful achievement! Their hard work, persistence, and commitment have paid off as they now go into our community to provide quality early education and play a major role in the early development of children particularly as Jamati children start learning about faith and prayers and engage in various community activities. 

One of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Diamond Jubilee goals was 100% access to early childhood education for the global Jamat, ensuring that every Ismaili child born meets key developmental milestones during the critical stage of childhood. The Jamati ECD centres are a holistic concept covering several aspects of child’s development including cognitive, moral, spiritual emotional, and social well-being. There are nine Jamati ECD centres in Uganda. 

The MECDI training for Jamati volunteers is a continuation of a highly-successful partnership with Aga Khan Foundation Uganda which enables ECD caregivers to gain the necessary learnings to provide a stimulating educational environment for the Jamati children. MECDI prides itself as a highly successful institute and its training strongly emphasises a balance between ECD theory and practical learning.