NGO calls for more investment in early childhood development

An international child affiliated organisation, Help a Child (HAC) Malawi says more investment is needed towards the support of early childhood development (ECD) programmes in the country.

In an interview after visiting some community-based childcare centres (CBCCs) in Nkhata-Bay and Mzimba, HAC country director Erine Dijkstra said government and other stakeholders need to increase funding to the programme because a lot of activities need to be done to make it successful.

An ECD class in progress at Mhlolo CBCC at Edingeni in Mzimba

She said: “We need to construct more child- friendly CBCCs, train more caregivers and provide adequate teaching and learning materials.

“The situation on the ground currently is not worth celebrating. We still have children learning in shambolic CBCCs, with no materials and being taught by untrained caregivers.”

She pledged continued support to the initiative, adding that her organisation has trained about 158 caregivers and established over 54 CBCCs in the two districts.

Naomi Banda, a caregiver at Mhlolo CBCC in Traditional Authority M’mbelwa called for authorities to consider paying them for teaching in ECD centres.

“We receive nothing at the end of the day. We just do this for the sake of our children. Our friends are dropping out,” she said.

The organisation is implementing the project through the Livingstonia Synod Aids Programme and Word Alive Commission for Relief and Development. n

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