Malawi: Kwelepeta Hails Community Involvement in Early Childhood Development

Deputy Minister of Gender, Child and Community Development, Grace Kwelepeta has commended communities under Group Village Headman Misiasi in Zomba for prioritising early childhood development (ECD) activities in their area.

Kwelepeta interacting with the children

Speaking after touring Nampwache Community Based Care Centre (CBCC) established and run by people of Misiasi in Traditional Authority (TA) M'biza, Kwelepeta said it was pleasing that communities have started realizing the importance of ECD education and were investing heavily in their children.

Kwelepeta said government of Malawi puts much emphasis on ECD and that it is the wish of the Ministry of Gender to see children in all corners of the country accessing early education through the establishment of CBCCs.

"Early child education is the best investment you can make in a child's life. Upon realising this importance, government of Malawi adopted and started implementing ECD programmes.

"There are numerous benefits of ECD and ever since the country started implementing the programme, we have seen tremendous progress in primary education where, among others, school dropout rates have dropped while performance of children in class improved," Kwelepeta said.

Kwelepeta said through ECD, repetition rate has also reduced, children are able to read and write at a younger age and more significantly; that children are stimulated for school at a tender age.

"Let me salute everyone who has contributed to the establishment and smooth operation of this centre, the leadership for ensuring that the centre withstands the storms and continue assisting children from this community," she added.

She said government was currently constructing 400 CBCCs across the country and more will be built in the future.

Kwelepeta has since promised to upgrade Nampwache CBCC by having a modern structure compared to the current dilapidated and grass thatched building that poses a risk to children who patronize the centre.

"We have funding for upgrading of CBCC and this facility would be upgraded, we will put up a new structure before the end of this year," she pledged.

Member of Parliament for Zomba Thondwe, Rosemary Gadama said Nampwache was one of the CBCCs which needs to be upgraded for betterment of beneficiary children.

Gadama, however, hailed the ministry for touring the centre to learn about the challenges that communities go through as they try to complement government in providing good quality education to children.

"I would like to commend government for planning to upgrade this centre. This will motivate the community to continue working hard and support their children attain early education," Gadama said.

TA M'biza said members in the community were pleased with the contribution the CBCC was making to child growth, survival and development in the area, saying many children who attended ECD at the school were performing well in class compared with others who never had that opportunity.

"Parents must ensure that their children have attained better education and the beginning is through this centre and other centres," he said.

M'biza has since warned parents against forcing children into marriage at the expense of their education, saying: "Early marriages have always been the big issue in this community but I will not allow that anymore."

During the event, Kwelepeta donated ten cartons of porridge flour to be used when schools reopen.

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