The Association of Early Childhood Development in Malawi said the future and welfare of the majority of children is at risk because of the mismatch between the child laws and policies, and inadequate actual budget allocations.
The association in its analysis of the 2013/14 budget to early childhood development (ECD) states that the rights of the Malawian child are being violated.
“This trend needs to be stopped. The fundamental rights of the Malawian child need to be protected and promoted through increased and improved allocations for ECD,” reads the analysis statement prepared by Charles Gwengwe, the association executive director.
“Government has a duty under the Constitution to protect the rights of children and has responsibility to ensure adequate budget funding for ECD at all levels. There is need to strengthen our collective resolve and ensure that the development of Malawian child should no longer be nipped in the bud.
“Improved budgets for ECD can lift children out of marginalisation and support to entrenchment of sustainable development for our country,” added Gwengwe.
In his analysis, budget allocation in the 2013/14 has declined despite an increase of 36 percent of the approved national budget from K406.08 billion to K638.15 billion. The budget for ECD has shrunk by 36.7 percent, he said.
He explained that the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, which is responsible for leading implementation of child welfare policies, experienced a steep decline in its budgetary resources allocation and this has weakened the capacity of the Ministry to Finance programmes geared at supporting the welfare of children.
“Under the development budget, Early Childhood Development programme has declined from K80 million in 2012/13 to K30 million in 2013/14. Out of the K30 million, K9.75 million is for training expenses, a decrease from K14 million in the previous year, while the remaining K20.25 million for acquisition of fixed assets, also a decrease from K65.87 million allocated in the 2012/13 budget.
“The reduction to the ECD budget allocations have a negative effect on the capacity for delivering ECD services, a situation that will push more children to the margins of development,” stated Gwengwe.