8 August 2014

Malawi: ECD Service Challenges Need to Be Addressed - Kaliati

Lilongwe — Government says reaching 60.4 per cent children accessing the Early Childhood development (ECD) services in the country needs to address the challenges which the service faces.

Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati, made the remarks Thursday during the official opening of a-two-day 2014 national early childhood development conference at Natural Resources College in Lilongwe.

She outlines some challenges faced by caregivers such as low access to ECD services by children due to very few delivery points commonly known as Community Based Care Centers (CBCCs) that are mostly found in the rural areas.

"In CBCCs there are inadequate financial resources allocation, poor and inadequate ECD infrastructures which children access. Many of them are characterized by poor ventilation, dusty rooms, poor lighting, temporary and dilapidated buildings that lack child-friendly sanitary facilities," said Kaliati.

She said these challenges require urgent action, and that the ministry is continuously lobbying for more resources allocation for the program in the national budget.

Kaliati, therefore, thanked the organizing committee, the individuals and organizations that have contributed in cash and kind towards the conference.

Executive Director for the Association of Early Childhood development in Malawi (AECDM), Charles Gwengwe, asked the government to consider the caregivers in the financial budget to enable them work hard.

"Through you Minister, we would like to ask for consideration of our caregivers in respective CBCCs to be put on, on payroll so that they can continue working hard and assisting our children in the communities to learn different programs," said Gwengwe.

He said, at the moment the caregivers are working on voluntary basis but if they government can intervene more people can join.

"We do not mind whether the government can start us with K10, 000 we will appreciate, provided that we are getting something at the end of the month for our families," he said.

The conference has been funded by the Feed the Children, Action Aid International Malawi, World Vision, Save the Children, Civil Society Education Coalition, Bambino Schools, Civil Society Coalition and the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.

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