ActionAid Malawi has emphasized that it is committed to uplift Early Childhood Development (ECD) education in the country.
The Organization is currently implementing a program dubbed ‘School Readiness Initiative’.
ECD manager at the organization, Anderson Moyo made the commitment during a full council meeting in Balaka where he presented the progress report for last phase of the project which commenced in 2020 and has just ended.
Moyo also updated the meeting on the new program that is expected to commence in October 2022 and phase out in 2024.
The phased out program, Moyo argues, has increased awareness in as far as ECD education is concerned as well and communities have now embraced the idea of enrolling their children in ECD centres.
SRI is a program which focuses on preparing a child from ECD to standard 1.
According to Moyo, the program aims at improving the education experience of young children by ensuring a smooth transition from reception to primary school.
He said: “Malawi’s greatest challenge has been management of children from reception to standard 1. It is for that matter that we are striving to reach out to as many community based child care centres (CBCCC) possible in terms of ECD to bridge that gap.”
The program will also enhance the competency of caregivers on early child learning by offering technical support and tablets which will have syllabuses to guide care givers.
He, however, noted that there was a need for primary schools to adequately support the caregivers in the CBCCC as it transpired that there was no good working relationship among them and the primary school teachers.
On his part, Balaka District council ECD coordinator, Richard Kalimwayi described the program as timely, arguing that it will help in raising the standard of education in the district.
“Balaka has got 283 CBCCS but you can observe that most of the caregivers in these centres are not trained on how best to take care of children in the centres. This is a major setback and it reflects badly in terms of lesson delivery as most of them don’t even follow the syllabus when teaching,” Kalimwayi said.
Apart from offering training to the caregivers, the program will also facilitate the formation of Village Savings and Loans (VSL) among the caregivers which Kalimwayi describes as “a right step in motivating the caregivers to work extra hard” as most of them work on voluntary basis.
ActionAid Malawi is implementing the SRI Program in 16 districts together with the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) Livingstonia Synod and the Association of Early Childhood Development with financial support from the Rodger Federer Foundation.
Currently, ActionAid is implementing the Program in Balaka, Mulanje, Lilongwe rural west, Lilongwe Peri-urban, Chitipa, Rumphi, Mchinji, Ntchisi, Dedza, Machinga, Neno, Phalombe and Nsanje.