CCDO in ECD programs in rural settings
Malawi’s Constitution defines a child as a person who is 18 years and below. The 2018 census recorded close to seven million children in Malawi, roughly five million of whom were below the age of eight. The constituency for ECD thus represents 37% of the total population, and the Government has therefore prioritized issues relevant to ECD. The Strategic Plan is fittingly entitled ‘M’mera Mpoyamba’, based on the local proverb that emphasizes the importance of investing in a child’s early years. Malawi has demonstrated commitment in ECDE by enacting laws and policies such as the Adoption Act, the Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) Policy, Probation of Offenders Act, and Children and Young Persons Act, to secure the welfare of children, including the Early Childhood Development Policy in 2003 as a major step designed to safeguard the interests of children aged eight years and below. “The National Policy on ECD (2003) aims at promoting the provision of high quality ECD services to the Malawian children to ensure his/her survival, growth, and development that would lead to his/her active participation in national development. This will be achieved by empowering the household, the community, institutions and organizations to effectively provide the required basic and essential Early Childhood Development services that will uphold human dignity.” Chipembere Community Development Organisation – Malawi, through the ECD programs, ensures that children are provided with the foundation necessary to reach their optimal social and cognitive development, and rural communities are supported in sustaining the quality services of their children’s early primary school education.