Communities in Ntcheu and Neno have called on Malawi’s Association of Early Child Development (AECDM) to lobby for more funds from government to support its initiatives.
Speaking in his area, Traditional Authority (T/A) Ganya said though villagers have embraced ECD, children are not getting quality training because caregivers work as volunteers.
“We need government to look into the issue of caregivers. Most of them are not just unstrained, but they work as volunteers, something that barely inspires them to prioritise their work. So, we need you, AECDM, to speak for us. If you can’t take us to the government offices, we will speak,” said the T/A.
One of the caregivers at Kapalamula Community-Based Care Centre (CBCC), Maria Sulumba, complained that she takes care of 84 children, yet she lacks training.
Statistics show that 52 percent of the caregivers in the country are not trained.
Taking his turn during a meeting in Neno, Group Village Head Mlauli reported that there had been problems in establishing a community-based care centre because villagers did not have a starting point.
“However, I advised them to burn bricks and build a centre with the help of other community members. As I am talking, in two areas, structures have been erected, but we are waiting for the support of the government who promised to buy iron sheets,” he said.
AECDM project officer Ruth Makwakwa, who stressed that her organisation last year met parliamentarians on the need to increase ECD budget, advised the communities to use every resource available to improve ECD in their areas.
“What we have done is to form ECD networks in the districts. These will be the eyes and ears of ECD interventions,” she said.
AECDM is running a two-year project in these two districts with funds from Tilitonse Fund—a grant making facility under European Union (EU), the UK’s DfID and Norwegian ChurchAid.