NGOs call for concerted efforts in child development programmes

Child-centred organizations – Save the Children Malawi, UNICE and NGO Coalition on Child Rights – have called for concerted efforts from the government and non-state actors in promoting child development programmes.

Save the Children Malawi’s director of program operations Frank Mwafulirwa made the appeal on Thursday during an interface meeting with members of Parliament (MPs) sitting on the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs.

Mwafulirwa said the organisations believes that the future of the children starts at a tender age; hence, the need for the government and its development partners to invest massively in programmes that can bring out the potential in them.

Kafwafwa–The government has, for the first time in ECD history, allocated money to cater for honoraria for caregivers

“Save the Children believes that the future of children starts at the point of conception, it is therefore against this background that the organisation focus much on smart investment to make sure that children get the necessary support at every stage of their lives for their good development because if we don’t invest in children when they are still young, it affects their nutritional, mental and developmental status and this make children to be unproductive citizens,” he said.

NGOCCR Chairperson Desmond Mhango said there is a need for collaborative support from different stakeholders to invest in children because children are a future of the country and the future of children depends on how much the country is investing in them.

Mhango said one of the key guidelines in the child rights acts says that children must grow and survive and develop into a productive citizen and for this to be achieved there is need for enough resources to support the principle.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs, Savel Kafwafwa, concurred with Mhango, stressing that there are many gaps in child-care programmes in Malawi.

However, Kafwafwa commended the government for allocating K480 million towards payment of honoraria for caregivers.

“This is a positive direction towards child development in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres since caregivers are important people in the development of a child but we still have a long way to go since the money allocated to care givers is not enough to fill the gaps that are there in the ECD centres,” he said.

But education expert Limbani Nsapato observed that the allocated K462 billion is not enough to fill the gaps that in the education sector, since the sector plan for 2022 the money which was needed was 1 trillion kwacha to cater all the gaps in the sector.

Limbani also cited lack of qualified teachers in the country’s schools, saying this also affects the development of children when it comes to education, hence the need for government to pump more resources in the work of training teachers for the good development of children in terms of education.

The event brought together different Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) such as Unicef, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and Save the Children, among others.

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