ECD Coalition concerned "poverty-stricken" Early Childhood Development programme would sink
The comments were made on December 22, 2022, by the national coordinator for the ECD coalition, Joylet Genda, outside a meeting with senior government officials and civil society organisations.
Malawi: The Early Childhood Development (ECD) Coalition has expressed concern that the government's ECD program, which is described as "poverty-stricken," could suffer in the next quarter of the 2022-2023 budget due to a significant reduction in funding, writes Bridget Mwanoka.
Joylet Genda, the national coordinator for the ECD coalition, stated that the Ministry of Gender, Community Development, and Social Welfare was initially allocated K 36.8 billion for the 2022-2023 budget, with K 21.8 billion designated for the ECD program.
However, the mid-year budget review saw this amount cut in half to K 19.5 billion, representing a 47% reduction in funding for the ECD program.
Genda warned that this decrease in funding could have negative impacts on early childhood projects and exacerbate the program's existing financial difficulties.
"You can see that dropping by 47% is a setback; among other things, the reduction will have an effect on the programme for investing in early childhood projects. The ECD project has faced numerous financial difficulties, and the new development could make things even worse,” she said.
Martha Namalomba, the chief child development officer for the Ministry of Gender, stated that the government is considering the issue and working to negotiate inclusion in the upcoming budget.
“In the meantime, we have initiated a number of programs that require significant financial support in order to make their impact on ECD services,” she said.
Records from the Ministry of Gender show that out of the planned mid-year allocation of K14.5 billion, only K5 billion has been distributed so far. Another K 8.4 billion is expected to be allocated in the second half.