MACOHA reviews ECD, persons with disability inclusion strategies

As a way of monitoring the progress of the Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE) project and modification of disability mainstreaming strategies, Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA), has recently conducted a review meeting in Liwonde, Machinga with various stakeholders to brainstorm on the headway progress of the project.

Stakeholders in ECD pose for a group photo

With funding from Open Society Foundation of Southern Africa (OSISA), MACOHA has been implementing a a project on the inclusion of children with disabilities in ECDE in their communities.

Through the project, a number of interventions and activities focusing on capacity building, awareness creation and promotion of multi-sectoral collaboration amongst different stakeholders have been implemented to create a conducive environment for an active and effective participation of children with disabilities in ECDE.

Speaking on behalf of MACOHA’s Executive Director, the Director of Rehabilitation Services, Montfort Mwalija opened the review meeting by highlighting how the ECDE project has impacted communities in Malawi.

“Our efforts, through funding from OSISA, have reached out to many children with disabilities as evidenced by the increased attendance and retention of such children in ECDE centers.

“There has also been active participation of communities on issues of disability. It is our hope that the positive outcomes will continue.” he said

However, the project’s coordinator who is also the Women and Children Programmes Officer at MACOHA, Mercy Mpunga emphasized that despite the project’s success in many districts, there is need to bang heads and reflect more on the project, hence the decision to hold the meeting.

“We are required to explore further how we can encourage many more children with disabilities to enroll in ECDE services in their communities.

“We should be encouraged to push forward for this agenda because we are obliged by many international as well as local instruments which discourage discrimination on any grounds including disability.” Said Mpunga.

Mpunga also pointed that MACOHA used the review meeting as an opportunity to give an insight into disability mainstreaming in different sectors, particularly the education sector.

“Disability mainstreaming is about inclusion and involving stigmatized issues as well as people into every aspect of society and development programmes. Having a number of stakeholders at this meeting has assured us that our recurring message on including people with disabilities in all aspects of the society such as education will be spread across the country.” She added.

The meeting was attended by various stakeholders including Ministry of Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Malawi against Polio, Montfort Special Needs College, and Federation for Disability Organizations in Malawi.

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