Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs on Tuesday asked government to prioritise and invest in early childhood development (ECD).
Committee chairperson Richard Chimwendo Banda made the call after touring Chimpambana Community-based Child Care Centre in Traditional Authority Ngabu in Chikwawa courtesy of Sightsavers who are implementing a project called Leave No Child Behind.
“Children require protection from the onset and government needs to start paying caregivers regardless of their qualifications as a motivation. We are interested in inclusive education where children with disabilities can learn together with others.
“We have 35 000 caregivers out of whom 17 000 are trained, but do not receive allowances. We urge government to train and start paying them to retain them,” he said.
The delegation was impressed by the increased participation of children with disabilities in the project.
Leave No Child Behind rehabilitated structures to suit children with disabilities.
Sightsavers Malawi country director Bright Chiwaula asked the committee to lobby for increased funding towards inclusive education.
Chikwawa district social welfare officer Rosemary Mahata said there is a lot of work to be done, but the challenge is limited resources.
“ECD centres need quality food and good infrastructure for children to learn in a conducive environment,” she said.