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Ministries need to forge smart partnerships which meet the needs of children – assessment

Ministries need to forge smart partnerships which meet the needs of children – assessment

First Lady, Madam Monica Geingos, launched the Needs Assessment of Under-resourced and Vulnerable Early Childhood Development Centres in Namibia Report in the Zambezi region this week with a claxon call to focus energies on implementation.

The new study has comprehensively analysed the factors affecting the growth and development of children between the ages of 0 and 8 years in terms of their health and hygiene, mental, physical, emotional and socio-economic environments at home and within the communities.

The study was launched at the Masida ECD Centre in the Linyanti Constituency of the Zambezi Region under the titled “Needs Assessment of under resourced and vulnerable Early Childhood Development Centres in Namibia”.

The study surveys 32 vulnerable ECD centres across 8 regions of Namibia, namely, Hardap, Kavango West, Kavango East, Kunene, Ohangwena, Omusati, Otjozondjupa, and Zambezi. It gives a comprehensive indication that both human and financial constraints are limiting provision of the essential services for children before they enter formal education.

“As a matter of principle, the Office of the First Lady insists that all its interventions are targeted and evidence based. The foundations have been laid for ECD in Namibia, however, as we strive towards our collective goal of providing integrated early childhood development services, it is imperative that we understand the existing conditions at ECD Centres across the country,” Geingos.

According to the findings from the assessment, while large gaps exist at all facilities assessed during the survey, the passion revealed by the ECD caregivers displays their commitment to supporting the cognitive and social development of children. The Ministries of Health and Social Services, Gender Equality and Child Welfare, and Education, Arts and Culture need to work together to forge smart partnerships which meet the health, sanitation, nutritional, physical, socio-emotional and cognitive needs of all Namibian children.

Promoting access to preschool services in rural areas, prioritizing home-based early-childhood development and ensuring safe and conducive environments for children, are prerequisites for a child’s lifelong health, productivity, education and better job prospects. Communities should be sensitised to the needs of the ECD Centres and be encouraged to help improve their facilities and services.

“I call on all parents and community members to become active players in the lives of children at our own homes, and through home and centre based ECD Programmes,” Hon. Doreen Sioka, Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.

The assessment further highlights areas in which there are opportunities for all stakeholders to strengthen coordination, service delivery and human capacity. Integrated interventions for children aged 0-8 years can be a highly effective way to break intergenerational cycles of poverty and violence, address social exclusion, and enhance school readiness.

“A good start in life would mean that the child is well prepared for success in school, has good health and overall well-being for future success as an adult. This is why we, in Namibia and globally, are emphasising integrated early childhood development, during the first 1000 days of life, as it has a profound effect on a child’s future,” said UNICEF Representative, Ms. Micaela Marques de Sousa.

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