Katima Mulilo-The Needs Assessment of Under-resourced and Vulnerable Early Childhood Development Centres report was launched last week by First Lady Monica Geingos at Masida in Linyanti Constituency in the northeastern Zambezi Region.
The needs assessment was conducted by the multidisciplinary research centre of the University of Namibia (Unam) and was undertaken in 32 ECD centres in eight of the country’s 14 regions, namely; Hardap, Kavango West, Kavango East, Kunene, Ohangwena, Omusati, Otjozondjupa and Zambezi.
The report provides findings and reflections on how to address the needs of vulnerable communities to improve on service delivery for integrated ECD programmes.
Speaking at the launch of the assessment report Geingos spoke about the need to help vulnerable communities to ensure that their basic needs are met. She further assured the centre manager at Masida ECD – one of the centres where the research was conducted – that following the launch of the report the lives of children at the centre will be bettered.
“I want to assure you that part of the president’s 20 percent of his salary which he has decided to donate towards education will be coming here to Masida, to ensure that children at the centre will always have food to eat,” said Geingos.
Gender and Child Welfare Minister Doreen Sioka at the same event called on the community to take their children to school to ensure they are educated and become productive citizens.
“The most dangerous thing is to give your children in marriage as young as they are to rich people. Let’s stop it. Let us allow our children to go to school,” Sioka advised.
The report revealed that among the 32 centres surveyed within the eight regions most lacked the essential requisites for the provision of quality ECD services. Following the report, the Office of the First Lady has formulated a raft of interventions aimed at addressing the needs of the identified ECD centres.
The interventions include, among others, campaigning for core material support for ECD centres, promoting partnerships aimed at building capacity of the caregivers at the 32 ECD centres and facilitating exchange visits between centres that are performing well and centres in need of support to improve the quality of their work.