Early childhood development: the role of community based childcare centres in Malawi

Somatic changes including growth and development of the brain of a human being occur very early in life. Programmes that enhance early childhood development (ECD) therefore should be part of the national agenda. Cognizant of this fact, the Malawi Government together with development partners facilitated the establishment of community-based child care centres (CBCCs) which are owned and managed by community members. This study was aimed at understanding how CBCCs operated and their core functions.

The study concludes that despite the fact that most CBCC premises and structures fell short of the standards laid down by the CBCC profile, the activities and services provided were mostly to the book. Children were provided with nutritious foods and subjected to play that stimulated their cognitive and mental development. Despite the fact that some members of the community do not realise the value of the CBCCs, the existence of these institutions is an opportunity for the community to take care of their children communally, a task that has become imperative as a result of the upsurge in the number of orphans as a result of the HIV and AIDS epidemic. The study recommends that Malawi should take investments in ECD programmes as a priority

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