By Duncan Mlanjira
Catholic Development Commission (Cadecom), is empowering rural-based child care givers in order to create and enhance equal early childhood education development system.
Fourty-four of such volunteer child care givers and teachers completed their extensive two-week trading programme held at Early Childhood Development Training Centre based in Ndirande, next to Blantyre Girls Primary School.
The participants were from Mwanza, Phalombe and rural Blantyre and had a rigorous training programme that is supposed to have two more upgrading sessions once more funding is secured.
Cadecom’s Diocesan Secretary Mandinda Zungu said this programme is being sponsored by development partners OSISA and Caritas Australia and being also done with total collaboration from Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare.
Mandinda, who was accompanied by Blantyre District’s social welfare department’s officer Irene Lakudzala, applauded the Ministry for its coordination to ensure there is equal skill training in early child development.
“We are happy to hear of the reports from this centre that each and very one of you participated in this course with the seriousness and enthusiasm it deserves and we pray that you are going to utilize the skills acquired to the fullest.
“Take this upgrading very seriously because it can be used for future high upgrading up to a degree level,” she said.
She also explained that this particular training was also special in that it concentrated on teaching physically challenged children.
The care givers were trained on how to use simple and locally made materials to create teaching materials that are made into a form of toys to attract the total interest of the kids.
The Centre’s Executive Director, Archie Malisita emphasised the need for early child development, saying it is very important because the kids come from very different backgrounds and not easy to handle from the beginning.
“We urge you to play the role of care givers and create an environment where the kids enjoy coming to school. We are very proud of your achievement, these two weeks were well worth it because even though you came from different backgrounds such culture, language and habits but you were united for one purpose.
“That purpose is to make a difference in the lives of rural children to be at par with the rest of the country,” said the director of this model nursery school, which enrolls kids from surrounding community to act as a model school.
Lakuzala applauded Cadecom and it’s development partners and donors OSISA for the initiative, saying this was a privileged course because government alone cannot sustain such programmes as effective as being assisted by others.
“We are proud that this intake had a 100 percent pass rate. Let me also assure you that government is working around the clock to introduce a process of having a remuneration system as a deserved reward for the care givers to attract more such teachers.
“Many who have gone through this type of training are opting to go for greener pastures and to stop that we need to be remunerating our skilled human resources,” she said.
Of interest was that from 44 volunteers, there were several men in this female dominated field of caregivers and speaking on behalf of the participants, one of the men said they very grateful for the training as before they were just teaching in a village operation style.
“But now we are well equipped and hope for more upgrading. The facilitators here were just great and well prepared to accommodate people from diverse culture.
“We promise to do our best and I urge my colleagues to be active and professional we take a new stride to play with our kids,” he said.