enjuba: from early childhood to responsible citizenship

children dancing in a circle at the NGO enjuba in Uganda
“I believe that education is the equalizer and a very powerful weapon for social mobility, transitioning people from abject poverty to a stable, meaningful and purpose driven life.”

/ Aaron Kirunda, Chief Executive


According to UNICEF only 1 in 10 Ugandan children aged between 3 – 5 years are enrolled in formal pre-primary education. Most preschools are privately operated and located in urban areas. Community-based Early Childhood programs receive no government funding, lack a curriculum, and are under-equipped. They are also mostly managed by untrained volunteers, making it impossible for these children to gain foundational skills, especially in literacy and numeracy. As a result, 30% of the children who join grade 1 drop out of school in grade 1 without learning how to write their own name, and according to the World Bank's Learning Poverty Index, 83% of Ugandan children are unable to read and perform basic math functions by age 10.



There is, therefore, a need for scalable, high-quality pre-primary programs to provide rural children with a solid foundation. 74% of Uganda’s population lives in rural areas, and their children mostly attend public schools. enjuba's approach is not to set up as many (private) pre-primary centres as possible, but to fundamentally change the setup and quality of early childhood development (ECD) in Uganda. enjuba focuses on supporting rural public and community preschools in establishing and operating evidence-based early childhood learning centres. This includes providing a step-by-step curriculum and age-appropriate books, training teachers to use the curriculum and to create learning materials from locally available resources, and parental sensitization on the benefits of education. They aim to provide a foundation for lifelong learning, improve literacy rates and ultimately break the vicious cycle of poverty. All of enjuba’s interventions are based on strong research findings that are adjusted to match the Ugandan context. The organization works closely with the Ministry of Education with the goal of bringing high-quality early childhood education to as many parts of the country as possible.

3 key facts
  • 4-16 USD
    return for very $1 invested in high quality early childhood programs
  • 90%
    of participants complete primary school
  • 100%
    of enjuba’s pre-schoolers score above the national average across all developmental areas

About the organization

enjuba is an education non-profit that improves literacy and essential skills for Ugandan children through innovative early childhood programs, locally relevant storybooks, and spelling competitions. Their early childhood program provides access to high-quality pre-primary education, teacher training, and parental engagement. enjuba's literacy training provides age and culturally appropriate books and makes learning fun. They support community/school libraries with 1,000 books each and turn them into a hub for literacy activities such as spelling competitions and DEAR Day. Through these initiatives, enjuba aims to empower children to become responsible citizens, authentic leaders and credible change agents. While enjuba is best known for its spelling bees, they have been increasingly focussing on ECD in recent years. enjuba operates a lab pre-school as a model for offering quality education, training of teachers, and a research centre on early childhood development practices. This is a springboard for supporting the creation of early childhood development centres in rural public schools.


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