54 participants from various disciplines and districts across the country have graduated as regional and national Trainer of Trainers (TOTs) in ECD, after 3 weeks of training at Liwonde Training College.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the training, Director of Administration in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Roselyn Makhumula who was also guest of honor at the event said the training was essential to the development and growth of the country as the government is committed to improving ECD services.
“Access to ECD services is at 40.03 percent, with over 32,000 caregivers, above half of whom are not trained. This implies that we have closer to 60 percent of our children that are growing up without accessing ECD services. For us to improve access, we need quality trainers such these Regional ECD Trainers and hence this training,” she said.
Makhumula further added the training is part of the human capital development process because development of a nation is not achievable unless it subsists on its own human capital. Having people with appropriate knowledge, attitudes and skills to steer the country into prosperity is a key to attaining development.
The training was organised with the purpose of familiarizing the caregivers’ trainers with the content of the ECD training manual and support guides and also to prepare them to train, mentors, parenting educators and supervise caregivers. The training was furthermore aimed at updating the participants on recent global ECD developments, adult facilitation skills as well as issues surrounding children with special needs.
Sister Milca Atieno, one of the participants said she was excited with the training and that she was confident she would be able to train others with the knowledge she had acquired.
“I am very excited that today I have graduated as a national trainer of trainers. This training will go a long way in helping me as a person, the children I work with and the people I will train,” said Atieno.
The training was conducted under the partnership of the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Catholic Relief Services.
Director of Basic Education in the ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Dr. Joseph Chimombo, assured the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare of continued partnership between the two ministries.
“Even though my ministry is the custodian of resources towards ECD, let me assure you that we will continue to work with you. We know that if ECD is poor, other sectors will also suffer,” he said.
The training which had 18 men and 36 females drew a reasonable number of male participants than previous training workshops. The situation is encouraging as it shows male involvement in children program is increasing because men at community level are encouraged to participate in child care.
During the official opening of the training, minister responsible, Patricia Kaliati emphasised the importance of reviewing the ECD Policy and Strategic plan.
“My Ministry is in the process of reviewing the ECD policy and ECD strategic plan to guide implementation of ECD programmes. The review of the two documents will also include emerging issues like transition and parenting.
The ministry is also completing ECD mapping in Lilongwe district whereby, by the end of the project it will have all the required ECD data to inform ECD programme planning. ECD mapping will also assist to cluster CBCCs around a primary school for transition activities. The Ministry is also in the process of developing ECD Training Strategy which will assist in professionalization of ECD in Malawi,” said Kaliati.
The Ministry’s policy in ECD is to ensure that by 2019, more than 70% of all children aged 0 to 8 years attend ECD services and are set resolutely on the path to acquiring literacy by the time they enrol for primary school.