By Tione Andsen – Mana.
Government has said the International Day of the African Child should to raise awareness around providing early childhood development services.
Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Dr Patricia Kaliati said this Monday in Lilongwe during a press briefing a head of the commemoration of the day of African Child and launch a year-long Early Childhood Development Advocacy Campaign.
She said all stakeholders need to adopt the nurturing care framework which consists of adequate health, appropriate nutrition, care and stimulation, early learning, clean safe and protective environment.
“Our responsibility is to give children an opportunity and the chance to use their gifts and talents to achieve their dreams as one major strategy for accelerating the implementation of Agenda 2040 for the country and Africa fit for children,” the Minister added.
Kaliati said stakeholders, communities and individuals should join the Ministry in taking actions towards the provision of relevant support for our children to thrive, grow, develop and be protected from all forms of abuse and exploitation.
She said United Nations (UN) has acknowledged that member states must take specific actions to ensure children’s rights are accessible as stipulated in the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC).
Kaliati added that all stakeholders, communities and individuals need to take an action towards supporting the concept of the year of long Early Childhood Development Advocacy Campaign.
She said the campaign aims at increasing public understanding about the what, why and how of Early Childhood Development (ECD).
The Minister said that ECD was often forgotten in the mega plans of institutions and organizations, as such; the campaign would help to detail the need to ensure ECD was given the prominence it deserves.
Kaliati explained that ECD does not only matter in the lives of children, but to the development, growth and productivity of the nation.
She noted ECD builds a stronger, more stable and prosperous society for every child in line with the AU Agenda 2040.
Director of Children Affairs in Ministry, McKnight Kalanda said much of Agenda 2040 was looking at the survival, participation and early stimulation of the child.
He said in the past the Ministry had launched several campaigns since 2009, every year around the months of August and September where there was much emphasis on the provision of centre based services.
Kalanda said this year’s campaign would focus on the first 1,000 days of a child from conception to three years.
National Director for Save Our Souls (SOS), Smart Namagonya said government should take a leading role to ensure that children are being protected and cared for.
He said Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) are only complementing government’s agenda to make sure vulnerable children in society are supported.
This year’s event will be commemorated under the theme, “30 years after the adoption of the Charter: accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2040 for an Africa fit for children”.
This year’s event will be graced by President, Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 at Sun and Sand Holiday Resort in Mangochi District.