The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has faulted the lack of relevant books for the Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes in Malawi, saying it impinges on the benefits that are gained on the training of caregivers and parents.
The ministry’s under-secretary Austine Luhanga said this in Blantyre on Monday when he opened a five-day workshop organised to review and validate the draft ECD capacity building strategy, standard set of ECD materials and ECD songs, stories and game books.
The meeting is a follow-up to a number of several other workshops that have been taking place in the past.
Luhanga said the country’s challenge relating to books and other ECD material production remains outstanding and this is because they have not yet been produced at local level, adding no bold step has been taken to provide specifications and standards to local producers regarding ECD.
“Most of the play materials are from overseas, yet science tells us that materials produced locally are most stimulating to children because they can manipulate them, are available and can be produced at the community level. Moreover, local production has economic benefits to the country, more especially to our communities,” said Luhanga.
Meanwhile, Luhanga said the ministry wishes to strengthen its services at all levels so that ECD services provided are of high quality.
He said the provision of holistic services requires good capacity strategy and ECD guides if the ministry is to provide quality services to the children of Malawi.
“The provision of high quality ECD services, however, cannot be achieved overnight; it requires guidance which can only be sought through the development of a comprehensive capacity building strategy like the one we are going to review here,” said Luhanga.
Speaking at the workshop, World Relief Malawi child development programme coordinator George Mkandawire, representing civil society organisations (CSOs) in ECD, expressed happiness to be among stakeholders gathered to give input and finalise the three documents on ECD programme.