HomeNational NewsNationalCoalition bemoans declining funding to ECD sector

Coalition bemoans declining funding to ECD sector

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The Early Childhood Development Coalition of Malawi (ECD Coalition) has lamented the declining government contribution to the ECD sector, fearing the country risks missing the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4.2 if the trend continues.

SDG 4 calls upon governments to ensure greater investment in quality education and ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

But speaking at an engagement with members of Parliament (MPs) at the Capital Hotel in Lilongwe on Friday, ECD Coalition national coordinator, Joylet Genda, observed that Malawi is not doing enough to provide education opportunities for all, citing the declining contribution to the ECD sector amidst phasing out of major budget contributors to the national budget.

Genda: We need more investment in the ECD sector if Malawi is to achieve MW2063–Photo by Watipaso Mzungu

“This has the effect of the government failing to meet the goal of providing quality ECD services, care and pre-primary education to all children by 2030, as required by SDG 4.2. We have also noted a lack of detailed information on personnel emoluments which makes budget monitoring and oversight difficult,” she said.

The engagement meeting was facilitated by child rights-centred non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Malawi, which include Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages Malawi, Plan International, World Vision, and NGO Child Rights Coalition.

The purpose of the engagement was to provide parliamentarians with critical insights for commenting on the budget’s child-friendliness.

Genda observed that, while investing in children is crucial to social economic development of the country, and achievement of Malawi 2063 (MW2063) development agenda, the Malawi Government has not done enough to grease the wheels so that the country achieves its goals.

She proposed that the government should allocate at least 10 percent of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to support ECD initiatives in the communities, this will help in promoting access and quality to ECD services in the country.

“We also recommend that the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare should fast track the consultations and presentation to parliament of the ECD Bill and enact it to support mandatory allocation of ECD resources and implementations of ECD programs within the country,” said Genda.

In his remarks, Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Malawi, Ivo Hoefkens, whose organization is providing huge financial support towards child-centred programmes and interventions in Malawi, said engagements between civil society and legislators is critical, as it entrenches the spirit of budget ownership.

Hoefkens added that such engagements help lawmakers to get appraised of the content of the budget.

“I’ve listened to the presentations with a lot of attention. This is very interesting material, and I’m thankful to the experts who have done the analysis and picked out all the issues also in comparative perspective with what was budgeted in previous years. It will be I imagine a very difficult discussion with the parliamentarians and the civil society. But that is a Mullah Malawi in discussion. So I am learning a lot and I think having this event will be very productive,” he said.

The EU Head of Delegation pledged that his organization will continue providing support to children programmes in Malawi.

“We are quite strongly engaged. We have programs ongoing, the recent one last year is a new one. That was for which the financing decision was adopted 59 million euros, which exactly focuses on social protection, and on gender equality and inclusion. It combines the two aspects. Let’s say in a very novel approach, but also in the other sectors. We are quite engaged and we maintain our commitment to that we did recently our midterm review from our program, which runs from 21 to 27. So we are waiting for this conclusion, considering the hardship that Malawi is going through. We have to pay attention not only to economic recovery, but also to protecting the poor from the effects of the external service and the effects of the economic transformation that is aspired,” he assured.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Social Welfare, Savel Kafwafwa, commended the NGOs for the budget analysis, which he said will help lawmakers better understand the needs of the people at the grassroots level.

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