Government of Malawi has said it is committed to continue supporting Early Childhood Development (ECD) in the country.
The assurance to continue supporting ECD was made by Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare Dr Jean Kalirani during a press briefing after a two day media workshop on ECD in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe.
In her remarks, Kalirani said government sees importance of investing in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and that is why it has come up with the ECD policy aimed at prioritizing the area.
Kalirani told the members of the press that the policy will be guiding government and all stakeholders on how best to work on Early Childhood Development for the benefit of children so that they will become great pillars of Malawi’s social economic development.
“The good news is that government has introduced an ECD policy and this policy has gone through the cabinet. We are making sure that the policy should be guiding all the work of ECD in the country,” Dr Kalirani said.
She further said that government is geared to train more caregivers so that they should have vast skills on how to perform their duty in a perfect manner.
According to Kalirani, in the past the work of ECD was for the communities only but now the work has been also taken over by government and this can be witnessed by construction of early childhood development centres across the country.
Speaking during the opening of the workshop, Action Aid Malawi Executive Director Grace Malera said the media has a big role in making sure that issues about ECD are well understood.
Malera said only sustained media reporting on issues around ECD will attract more investment in ECD programs in the country.
While commending government for raising the budgetary allocations towards ECD over the years, she said the resources still fall short of meeting the country’s international commitments such as the Education for All Goal.
“Under the Education for All Goals, Malawi made a commitment to be allocating 3 percent of national budget towards the ECD. However, the current allocation is only at K630 million, which represents 0.05 percent,” she said.
She added that Section 25 of the Constitution of Malawi also places the obligation on Malawi government to fulfil the right to education.
Malera then called upon the media to help in advocating increased budgetary allocations towards ECD. She said Action Aid will continue partnering government on the ten-year ECD project the organization is implementing in ten districts of the country.
She thanked the Rodger Federer Foundation for pumping in USD13.5 million in the project running from 2011 to 2021.
“We believe that as Action Aid, we are just complimenting government’s efforts on ECD programme. This is why we involve government in most of our activities under the program so that when we hand over the project in 2021, government should be able to sustain it,” she said.
The two day media workshop was organised Ministry of Gender, Disability, Children and Social Welfare with financial support from Action Aid Malawi ahead of ECD week that will be launched on Monday 20th November at Lunzu community ground in Blantyre.