The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has reiterated its commitment towards ensuring improved access to quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes to create a better foundation for children.
Under-secretary for the Ministry, Austine Luhanga was speaking in Blantyre today when he opened a four day orientation for over 60 ECD interns expected to champion ECD initiatives in all districts of the country.
He said the orientation is part of human capital development process.
Luhanga added that the Ministry is constructing modern ECD learning centers, training childcare givers, buying books and toys to address some of the challenges that affect efforts aimed at promoting the programme.
“This year, government has given us an additional K519 Million to foster ECD programs and we are optimistic that with support from partners such as Save the children, World Vision, Action Aid and Unicef we will achieve the required targets,” he said.
Malawi has over 4 million children in need of ECD services but only 1.4 million, representing 40 percent, have access to the program.
National coordinator for ECD Francis Chalamanda called on parents especially in rural areas to enroll their children into the programme..
According to Chalamanda, research shows that children who access ECD programmes have successful transition to primary school.
In its 2005 ECD strategic plan, the ministry targeted to reach up to 63 percent of the country’s children by 2014.
According to Chalamanda, the ministry requires K12 billion (about $18.8 million) annually for the successful implementation of the program.