An international Non Governmental Organization (NGO), which is affiliated to the wellbeing of children, Help a Child (HAC) Malawi, has registered its commitment to play a complementary role with government in exploring sustainable strategies that can help children to realize their full potential in life.
HAC Country Director, Erin Dijkstra during a meeting organized to brief officials from M’mbelwa District Council and other stakeholders on the pre and post assessment results of a Parenting Challenge Project which is being piloted at Edingeni area, in Paramount Chief M’mbelwa 5, in Mzimba and in Traditional Authority Zilakoma, in NkhataBay and was launched in 2017
The objective of the project is to improve parenting skills for mothers, fathers and care givers, through practical parenting group sessions, where child care, nutrition security, health and education of a child, among others, become subject matters.
Dijikstra observed that every child requires conducive environment that can promote proper growth and development, right from the time the mother has just conceived, birth of the child and up to when the child clocks 18 years of age.
“All child, unconditionally, require early child care for realization their full potential to enable them build their own future and become responsible citizens,” said Dijkstra.
She cited proper growth and development, good health attained through good nutrition and good education as key opportunities to ensure child’s brighter future.
She then expressed pleasure that after the launch of the parenting challenge project, last year, positive impacts have already been registered.
She said this was evidenced by sparked interest by families to patronize parenting group sessions where they learn parenting skills, resource mobilization skills and how to organize and prepare diversified meals, comprising the six valuable food groups for good health of their children..
“Testimonies from couples in project impact areas, who have developed a rare interest in caring for their children and the new bonds in once disintegrated marriages are clear indications that the project is successful,” said the Director.
Dijkstra then commended government for formulating policies and clear strategies on how to implement early child care programmes.
Mzimba District Commissioner, Thomas Chirwa saluted HAC for implementing the Parenting Challenge project in Mzimba, which he said has helped parents and other care givers to lovely provide adequate and relevant care and support to their children so that they grow into adults communities will be proud of.
Chirwa, however, said government has already formulated policies which guide implementation of early child care programmes which regulate establishment and operations of community based child care centers (CBCCs) which implement early child development (ECD) activities.
At district level , Chirwa said the council also attaches great importance to child proper care and development.
“This is why the council has mainstreamed child care strategies in its district development plans (DDP) which has just been harmonized by the ministry of local government and rural development and now it is at marketing stage,” said Chirwa.
To ensure that low income levels among families does not interfere with child care efforts, the project has a component that links beneficiaries to National Small Holder Farmers Association of Malawi (NASFAM) which offer families free inputs, like quality seeds for crop production, for both, consumption and surplus for sale, to improve household economic status to afford key basic needs for the wellbeing of children.
During the meeting, couples from project impact areas took turn to recite activities they undertake as recommended child care practices which they said have ensured good health of their family members, including children.
Meanwhile, due to successes registered in its pilot phase, HAC will scale up the project to cover other areas of the two districts and will run up to 2020, according to HAC Early Child Development (ECD) Programme Officer, Roreen Mzembe
Since the launch of the project, a hooping sum of Euro 692,548 has been spent so far.
For a period of 50 years of helping children grow out of poverty cocoon, HAC has been operating from resources as gifts from individual well wishers, gifts from companies in business, contributions from NGOs, subsidies from government and agencies
Headquartered in Netherlands, HAC also mobilize resources through fundraising programmes in Netherlands through a project called Positive Action for Children
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