Minister tells CBCCs to be independent

Community Based Childcare Centres (CBCCs) in the country have been advised to stop depending on government and other non-governmental organisations.

Minister of gender, children, disability and social welfare, Cecelia Chazama, said this in Phalombe district on Monday after presiding over the official launch of 80 model CBCCs which have been constructed across the country by Action Aid with funds from Roger Federer Foundation.

Chazama interacting with learners

Symbolically, she launched Zaonekera CBCC which is in the area of senior chief Nazombe located in the eastern part of the district.

Responding to what one of the caregivers said on the occasion that government and other stakeholders should think of helping the CBCCs with food, Chazama said they should come with other means other than depending on the aid from well-wishers.

“These reliefs will not help you, try to find piece of land and you should be doing your farming such as of maize and many others of which after harvesting you may be feeding learners at your CBCC,” she said in her speech.

When asked what her ministry is doing on improving welfare of the caregivers in terms of salaries, the Minister admitted that indeed most of them they get nothing at the end of a month and she revealed that plans are at an advanced stage that many should be getting something.

“It’s true we have over 800 caregivers in this country and only 300 get something at the end of the month so it’s our plea to these non- governmental organisations that they should be helping us in paying these caregivers like they do in the ministry of health.

“As government we are also cooking up something and that from next fiscal year we will increase the number of caregivers who receive salaries,” Chazama said in an interview.

Roger Federer Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Janine Handel, told the community to use the centre properly and she then concurred with the Minister that members around the community should find ways of feeding the learners during breaks.

“We are very happy, today is a lucky day as we have come to an end of infrastructure part of 80 model CBCCs…But this is just a house, it’s not yet education you know education is when we have good teachers and when we have children coming.

“Feeding is very important to the youngest learners, otherwise they get asleep due to low energy level as they need food and the solution should not to wait for an external donor to come in and provide food, it should come from the community itself,” Handel said.

Peter Pangani Head of programmes and policy at Action Aid said they are impressed with the progress of the project and he has encouraged parents that they should not be hesitating sending their kids to these CBCCs since early childhood development programmes such as these are very important to younger learners.

“We are quite satisfied, children who have gone through early childhood development centres and in our evaluation we track these children and mostly they do well in primary school so I am encouraging parents to be sending their children to these centres,” said Pangani.

The ten year project which is called early childhood programme started in 2011 and is expected to come to an end in the year of 2021 and currently it is in its last phase which commenced last year.

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