By Lloyd M’bwana

LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Dr Jean Kalirani on Friday launched this year’s long week commemoration of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in the country.

The ECD week commemoration will start from Monday, November 20 to 24 and its main event will be held at Lunzu Primary School Ground in Blantyre.

This year’s ECD started with a media training in Lilongwe from November 16 to 19, with the aim of raising the profile of ECD program in Malawi through enhanced advocacy and communication of the initiative’ best practices for the need to increase funding.

With funding from Action Aid International Malawi (AAIM), the training drew media personnel from electronic, print and online local outlets.

For every US$ 1 spent on quality early childhood programs, there is a US$7 return in cost saving. Therefore, a feilure to invest in ECD diminishes by 20 percent all investments a country makes in children.

For Malawi, this is a loss the country can ill afford and undermine its ambition to reduce ambition to reduce poverty through sustained economic growth as stated in the Growth and Development Strategy.

This is however evidenced in lack of incentives to caregivers in most ECD centers across the nation which needs to be addressed with urgency.

But speaking the news conference ahead of the EDC week, Gender Minister Kalirani said the ministry was doing all efforts to support the caregivers.

Kalirani disclosed that the caregivers will be supported with the EDC policy which the country will have that guides the sector programs implementation.

The Gender minister said the ECD policy is at an advanced level which will have a component of funds for caregivers.

“The media needs to inform the stakeholders that there is no task nobler than giving children a better future. Investing in EDC has rewards for the child and nation.

“Therefore, this week the ministry wants the media to populalize the EDC by also exposing the gap in the sector. Everyone in this country must take part in helping ECD services for the better”, urges Kalirani.

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