Lack of Incentives Hampering ECD in Malawi
Lack of trained caregivers, absence of incentives and poor infrastructure for community-based child care centers have been cited as major factors hampering the delivery of quality inclusive Early Childhood Education in Mzimba south.
Speaking on Friday, District Social Welfare Officer for Mzimba south Jim Wotchi said 47% of the caregivers in the district are untrained while others trek to South Africa owing to lack of incentives in their work.
“Just after getting trained, a lot of caregivers go to South Africa, in fact, they use the same money they get as allowances after attending the training,” said Wotchi.
Wotchi says some non-state actors have been so helpful in terms of training giving an example of Save the Children Malawi who has trained over 400 caregivers in the district.
One of the caregivers from Mswaya Village in the area of Inkosi Kampingo Sibande, Mphatso Nkhoma has appealed to government to consider introducing a financial incentive for them so that they are motivated when doing their work
“We spend a lot of time with the children at the end of the day our families suffer, so I would like to appeal to government to think of paying us a little something with which we can support our families,” said Nkhoma.
But Director of Child Affairs in the Ministry of Gender Community Development and Social Welfare McKnight Kalanda said the ministry is negotiating with government for a financial incentive for the caregivers.
“There are various modes of incentives for the caregivers and currently one of the incentives is the training. Apart from the trainings they get some money for their own upkeep but we are also negotiating for other financial incentives and we are hoping that when the economy allows government will provide the necessary incentives either in the form of honoraria or any other financial incentive as determined BH government,” said Kalanda.
On training of caregivers, Kalanda said the ministry has plans to roll out the interactive radio program being supported by the World Bank into all districts with the aim of enhancing knowledge of caregivers
“We will roll out an interactive radio program to all the districts in the country so as to provide a standard package of knowledge to our caregivers and we would also like to explore how we can use technology in supporting our caregivers,” said Kalanda.
Meanwhile, 40 caregivers have attained certificates after a training organized by St. Johns of God with financial support from Save the Children Malawi who is running an inclusive early childhood education in Mzimba.
Mzimba South has over 30,000 children in Early Childhood Education programs.