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Hunger crisis hits early childhood education

Food insecurity situation prevailing in the country has dealt the already neglected Early Childhood Development (ECD) initiatives another big blow as some ECD centres close due to unavailability of food.

Association of Early Childhood Development in Malawi (AECDM) Executive Director, Archie Malisita, said the situation has forced caregivers in areas such as Nsanje and Chikwawa to abandon the centres.

This paints a gloomy picture in the sector which is currently offering the essential childhood development services to only 40 percent of over 3.7 million children who are supposed to attend the centres.

Malisita said the centres that are operating normally in this lean period are those that receive food donations from international organisations.

“The hunger crisis has crippled ECD services. Children cannot be in class from morning up to 12 noon without any food. So, this situation has forced the centres to close.

“But in other centres where organisations such as Mary’s Meals and Feed the Children are providing food, the situation is easy and we need more support into the centres that do not have food so that our children remain in school,” Malisita said.

On the number of caregivers and centres, Malisita said the situation remains dire as out of about 32,000 caregivers, only 16,000 are trained.

Using support from Pact- Malawi and private nursery schools in the country, AECDM trained and presented certificates to 104 caregivers from across the country.

“If other organisations can emulate this, more caregivers can be trained and more children can be reached with ECD services. We need to collaborate in the provision of these services. Many organisations, including churches, should send their caregivers for more training to ensure that the children get quality education,” he said.

Constance Longwe, a caregiver from Nkhata Bay, said the training was enlightening and it will help the caregivers in achieving excellence in the process of providing services to the children.

Councillor for Nyambadwe Ward in Blantyre, Leonard Chibade, called on support to early childhood education services

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