National Bank of Malawi (NBM Plc) has committed a whooping K100 million to Early Childhood Development (ECD) through Yamba Malawi which will see the Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) listed bank construct community-based child care centres (CBCCs) in the country’s four regions.
Yamba Malawi, a non-profit Non-Governmental Organization focusing on ECD has been tasked to establish and run the four CBCCs through the grant.
NBM plc Chief Finance Officer Masauko Katsala, said the first 1000 days are crucial to children’s development but noted that Malawian children do not have access to facilities that can stimulate their well-being.
“We value child development because well-developed children will develop the country. This is where the foundation is built. We believe this is a worthwhile investment,” said Katsala.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the two organizations signed, on average, each of the four CBCCs will serve 100 children in a period of 2 years. There will be approximately 300 children ranging from 36-38 months per in-take till they proceed to primary.
Katsala said over the years, NBM plc has been giving out tertiary education loans across the country and now they want to focus on the grassroots level.
Justin Hamela, Deputy Director for Child Affairs in the Ministry of Gender said they are mobilizing the private sector to take a leading role in early childhood development.
“Malawi is targeting around 2 million to receive proper care. Every child has to have access to facilities,” he said.
He explained that CBCCs in the country are facing challenges in terms of proper infrastructure.
“Some are temporary structures like schools and churches, which is not the way to go,” said Hamela.
Ralph Sauti, One of the Directors for Yamba Malawi said the MoU signed with NBM plc is the change in the right direction as the private sector is coming in to support children welfare from the start which is important.
“The responsibility of raising a child is for the community. We come in to stimulate that because the welfare of children has to be catered for with a good learning environment and nutrition. This support is going to help the country itself, the level of education will have a bearing on the citizens we will have,” said Sauti.
Yamba will also ensure the facilities are aligned to specifications by the Ministry of Gender and the skills needed for the caregivers.