Malawi government banks on communities for sustainable management of childcare centres

Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Roselyn Makhumula, says communities are key in the sustainable management of Community Based Childcare Centres (CBCCs).

Makhumula says CBCCs are now universally accepted in contributing to holistic and better upbringing of children.

She made the remarks on Monday at Thamolatha Model CBCC in Mchinji when ActionAid Malawi handed over to the Government of Malawi a ten year Comprehensive Early Childhood Development (ECD) program.

The ECD program aimed at improving lives and well-being of vulnerable children aged between three and six years by promoting access to quality and sustainable early childhood development services.

Handel (left) Makhumula (centre) Nampota (right)

To date, the programme, through construction of 430 CBCCs including 80 model centres, has increased access to quality ECD for 154, 000 children, from 33961 in 2011.

The programme has further trained 4, 833 caregivers and provided incentives to them through a revolving fund and a goat-pass on program.

Makhumula urged communities, traditional leaders, caregivers, parents and CBCC management committees to look after these structures, saying they are for their own benefit.

“Communities must take responsibility over these CBCCs. Remind and watch each other over the maintenance of these structures. Raise resources for the maintenance of these assets while government and development partners are also playing their role. Ensure that there is a good learning environment for our children in these CBCCs,” said Makhumula.

Standing is Nampota. Handel and Makhumula, sittesd

She added that the government is committed to ensuring the motivation and welfare of caregivers in the CBCCs, following the allocation of funds for their honorarium in the 2021/2022 national budget.

“Data collection for caregivers across the country is almost over. We will soon start giving them their deserved honorarium,” she said.

ActionAid Malawi has been implementing the ECD program from 2011 to 2021 with financial support from the Roger Federer Foundation.

The programme was implemented in ten districts and these are; Chitipa, Rumphi, Ntchisi, Lilongwe, Mchinji, Dedza, Neno, Phalombe, Machinga and Nsanje.

ActionAid Malawi board chairperson, Professor Dorothy Nampota, concurred with Makhumula, adding that the ECD program was, after all, built on “a good model which ensured community full participation all the time”.

“This has certainly lead to community ownership of the program because they are already able to do some of the things on their own. And, the trained and empowered caregivers will continue doing their work ably. So we believe this will be sustainable,” said Nampota.

Chief Executive Officer for the Roger Federer Foundation, Janine Handel, said she was happy to note that “the sharing of early learning services is even possible in the remote regions of the country”.

Meanwhile, ActionAid Malawi, with financial support from the Roger Federer Foundation, is also implementing a six-year “School Readiness Initiative” project in Lilongwe and Balaka, enabling smooth transition of learners from ECD to primary schools.

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