Stakeholders to the meeting include District Social Welfare Officers, Traditional Authorities, Consultants from the University of Malawi Research Department, Ward-Councilors and some Care-givers.
Speaking when he opened the meeting, the Ministry Undersecretary, Dr. Austin Owen Luhanga emphasized that the meeting should deliberate the issue with the aim of ensuring that all children in the country should be given a fair start in life.
“We have been given the job today of ensuring that we put in place a Policy and Strategies that shall result in improved quality and Socio-economic participation of our children as we prepare them to face complexities of this world,” said Dr. Luhanga.
Presently the country was using a Policy that was developed in 2003 and later reviewed in 2006 while the Strategic Plan was for 2009-2014 and has since expired.
Among others, Dr. Luhanga urged participants to examine and correct set-backs that the ECD program has been experiencing including the quality and capacity of Care-givers and the incentives Care-Givers are offered.
Dr. Luhanga disclosed that currently ECD deploys Volunteer Care-Givers, some of them with low-levels of education and are offered very low and un-standardized remuneration thereby compromising on the care offered to children at the ECD centers.
He therefore urged participants to explore and review all gray areas that bring down ECD standards in the country.
The workshop has been fully-funded by UNICEF.