The Association of Early Childhood Development (AECD) has described poor funding and hunger as stumbling blocks to the successful implementation of the program.
Speaking in Blantyre on Friday after closing a two-weeks training for 104 childcare givers from Nkhatabay, Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mulanje, AECD executive director Archie Malisita said the association is failing to reach 60 percent of the country’s children—close to 4 million children due to limited funding.
Malisita added thatd due to the roaming hunger, many children that the association has managed to reach out to are dropping out.
“Many ECD centres are closing down because there is no food for the children, social welfare offices and communities themselves have nothing to provide. Those that are surviving are the ones that receive support from organisations such as Save the Children, World Vision, Actionaid, Feed the Children and Unicef. This is crippling our efforts” said Malisita.
He spoke of the need for more organisations to start taking the issue of early childhood development seriously and come forward to support the initiative as it is crucial in ensuring proper foundation for the country’s children.
The AECD executive director said after lobbying, they have been allocated K1 billion in the 2016/17 financial year, however, according to National coordinator for ECD Francis Chalamanda the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social welfare requires K12 billion annually for the successful implementation of the program.
Councillor for Nyambadwe ward Leonard Chibade advised the newly trained childcare givers to work hard when they go back to their respective centres and put in practice what they have gained from the trained.
According to Malisita, the country has over 32 000 childcare givers but only half of them are trained.
In its 2005 ECD strategic plan, the ministry targeted to reach up to 63 percent of the country’s children by 2014.