Children’s body sounds SOS for Radios for ECD learning

Save the Children Malawi Country Office has made an impassioned plea to various stakeholders to support Community Based Childcare Centres (CBCCs), mostly run by Community Based Organizations where Interactive Radio Instruction learning for three to four years children is taking place in Malawi.

As of December 2022, Interactive Radio Instruction learning is taking place in 10 districts across the country targeting 95,000 children and is being delivered by 21 community radio stations.

Phiti said the IRI initiative is now with government since its incorporation into the ECD policy

“Partners in Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes and working in the impact areas should help with radios and assist the communities because its important that children access lessons,” said Singilton Phiri, Project Coordinator, Interactive Radio Instruction, Save the Children Malawi Country Office.

Phiri made the plea at Nkhomboli, Nchenachena, in Rumphi district during a media tour of CBCCs implementing the Interactive Radio Instruction (IRI) broadcasts
In rural areas, ECD services are predominantly provided by CBCCs mostly run by CBOs. Activities in the CBCCs are led by volunteer caregivers who more often than not lack the necessary qualifications to implement the national ECD curriculum with confidence and professionalism.

Thus, the IRI model provides caregivers with model lessons and focused guidance on how to deliver lessons – that enables the otherwise less qualified caregivers to be able to deliver lessons with a greater measure of quality. This qualifies IRI as a tool for caregivers on the job professional development.

Kalumbi says passion is keeping her in the job despite working for free for five years

Research by Save the Children Malawi Country Office shows that IRI, when well utilized, has the potential to significantly improve children’s access to learning opportunities, and to improve their learning and developmental outcomes.

“For example, through the use of radio broadcasts, IRI would reach a larger number of Community Based Childcare Centres (CBCCs) and communities, hence a greater number of children, caregivers and parents than classroom-based caregiver facilitated lessons or programs would,” reads part of the research done in 2017.

According to Mercy Martha Kalumbi, a Caregiver at Nkhomboli, despite challenges such as lack of formal training and lack of financial incentives, the CBCC has had a tremendous impact in transitioning children to standard.

“I have doing this job as a volunteer for five years because I have the passion for the job. In rural areas it’s difficult for parents to contribute towards our honoraria. But this year, out of 33 children, 11 have graduated to standard,” Kalumbi said.

GVH Chamono says defaulting parents pay maize as a fine

Rumphi District Social Welfare officer Zindaba Lungu said it is important that children start at CBCC level where they receive quality education so that their transition into primary level education is smooth.

“CBCCs prepares children holistically. That is why government is raising awareness in communities to come up with more CBCCs. The government is in the process of constructing 15 model CBCCs which communities and other stakeholders will be encouraged to replicate,” Lungu said.

Group Village Headman Chamono said his subjects are all aware of the formally agreed punitive measures where parents with children of three years age fail to send them to the nearest CBCCs.

“We fine them a tin of maize, which is then used by the CBCCs to make porridge for all children at the CBCC including their charge,” GHV Chamono said.

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1 month ago

I believe we have started at a high note as government is much committed to enhance IRI service delivery despite some challenges affecting implementation.

Thanks Bwana Phiri and Save the Children for building capacity and bringing light towards this approach.

citizen 22
citizen 22
1 month ago

but taking this action from a childs point of view.. the television slew the radios throat. how then will you be able to bring the radio energy back to life? when 0.19% of child population will actually have time to listen these radio programmes?

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