Written by Gift Asibu:
Minister of Gender, Community Development, and Social Welfare, Jean Sendeza, says the ministry is in the process of drafting an Early Childhood Development (ECD) Law designed to protect children and ensure the provision of ECD services.
Sendeza made this statement on Tuesday at Mpondagaga Primary School in Nkhotakota during the launch of this year’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) week of advocacy and awareness.
She highlighted that consultations with key stakeholders involved in child welfare are underway to contribute to the formulation of this law.
The Minister also emphasized the significance of the ECD week in fostering a child’s early-stage development.
“Most of the children who undergo ECD centers are more active and vibrant than those who have not attended such centers. It is our desire that each and every village should have these essential institutions for the proper development of our children,” Sendeza explained.
While acknowledging the challenges the ministry faces, such as financial constraints and the need for better caregiver training, Sendeza stressed the ministry’s commitment to engaging various stakeholders to mitigate such issues.
“We are aware of the problems that our caregivers encounter; some of them are working voluntarily without being paid. However, my ministry is working tirelessly with the Ministry of Finance to allocate more funds towards Early Childhood Development services. On the issue of putting our caregivers on payroll, they will be added in phases,” she added.
UNICEF Representative Shadrack Omol commended the government’s efforts in providing ECD services despite the challenges faced, and reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to supporting the government in child development.
“As UNICEF, we can showcase many countries that have invested heavily in children by allocating substantial funds for Early Childhood development, resulting in significant returns,” Omol said.
“As UNICEF we are able to showcase a lot of countries that have invested in children who are allocating a lot of funds for Early Childhood development which has brought a lot of returns” he explained.
Statistics indicate that Nkhotakota District lags behind in improving access to Early Childhood Development services, partially due to the presence of a lake where many children engage in fishing activities with their parents.