Communities in Traditional Authority (T/A) M’mbelwa in Mzimba have said most community-based childcare centres (CBCCs) in the district are not conducive for early childhood development (ECD) programmes.
The concerns were made on Wednesday during an ECD meeting between rights-holders and duty-bearers at Mzoma in the district. The meeting was organised by Save the Children under its Inclusive ECD project.
Speaking at the event, M’mbelwa area development committee chairperson Nathan Nyirenda said many activities need to be done to improve services in CBCCs.
“Most CBCCs have poor structures with no playing materials and sanitation facilities such as toilets.
“Again, most caregivers looking after the children are volunteers with no formal training and they quit as soon as they find an alternative job,” he said.
Inkosana Chimtunga Jere of Ewombeni Village agreed with Nyirenda’s sentiments, saying most CBCCs in the area lack adequate food, a situation he described as ‘not healthy.’
However, in his response, Mzimba South ECD coordinator Arnold Satumba challenged the communities to own the programme, rather than relying on government and partners.
“As an office, we cannot do everything because we receive little resources to support the programme.
“In fact, some of the things under the programme can be done by the communities themselves. For example, supporting caregivers, providing food, materials and mobilising resources for CBCCs construction,” he said. Satumba said there are about 957 CBCCs in Mzimba South serving about 24 600 chidden under the care of 1827 caregivers.