Traditional authorities Lundu and Chigalu in Blantyre have appealed for special parliamentary funding in the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to champion early childhood development (ECD) programmes.
The chiefs made the appeal this week at Lirangwe Primary School during a consultative meeting organised by the Association of Early Childhood Development in Malawi (AECDM).
The plea was directed at their Blantyre North Member of Parliament Francis Phiso.
Traditional Authority (T/A)Chigalu said ECD rural training centres help to develop rural children educationally, but their progress is hampered by lack of funds.
“The nursery schools are vital in shaping the education future of rural children.
“We need funds to motivate them, build learning blocks and buy proper food to entice more kids to attend nursery schools. So, it is our plea that Parliament should consider allocating special funds for this project through the CDF,” said Chigalu.
Over 700 children in the two T/As are attending ECD nursery schools run by with just five volunteers.
Phiso promised to make the call a priority during the next meeting of Parliament in May.
“We have tried to divert some funds from the CDF for the ECD programme, but it has not made a big impact. The CDF is already inadequate as it caters for a number of developmental programmes so, I agree with the chiefs that there is need for special funding for this programme,” said Phiso.
Aecdm project officer Roy Chitengo said such meetings are vital as they help community stakeholders to realise the role they have in early childhood development.
Aecdm is running a number of projects on ECD in Blantyre and Zomba with funding from Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa).