LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)- Malawi requires about MK4 billion yearly to make serious strides in Early Child Development (ECD) programs, it has been learnt.

Malawi national budget on ECD has been inadequate since 2013, which was raised from MK25 million to MK700 million in the 2017/2018 fiscal plan.

Despite such an increased allocation, the funds are not adequate to meet the target of MK4 billion to make any outstanding headway towards realizing sufficient child development program delivery.

This has resulted in poor infrastructure and inadequate human resource placement, including caregivers towards child development.

This prompted Action Aid Malawi, with funding from Roger Federer Foundation, to embark on a six-year ECD program in six districts in Malawi to help government efforts on children’s welfare.

Currently, the organization is engaging local council authorities including Councilors, Members of Parliament (MPs) and Chiefs sensutizibf them gain clear understanding of ECD programs and how best the concept trickles down meaningful transformation towards children.

In an interview with The Maravi Post on Friday during the central ECD lobby conference, Richard Chimwendo Banda, Chairperson for Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs, observed the sector was not getting enough funds to invigorate meaningful progress.

Chimwendo-Banda said inadequate funding towards ECD has resulted in children learning under trees as government is unable to construct proper learning structures for lessons.

The lawmaker added that government has not seriously invested in ECD for a number of years, which needs much attention as the nation’s future is held in children.

“The country needs about MK4billion allocation yearly for ECD, if we want a bright future. The current trend isn’t trickling any meaningful strides in the sector. We need more resources for infrastructure and human resource development coupled with incentives for caregivers,” urges Chimwendo Banda.

Echoing on the same, Grace Malera, Action Aid Malawi Country Director said her organization was making it possible to reach rural areas with child centres.

Malera said so far about 16,000 out of 31,000 caregivers have been trained while targeting 80 development centres across the nation.

“About 45% of children are currently going through ECD which means that 55% aren’t supported at all. This prompted Action Aid to bridge the gap through the Roger Federer six-year project to help government’s efforts in the sector.

“We are therefore, engaging local councils, who are the recipient of the project aid to have a clear understanding of the program for meaningful strides,” said Malera.

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