By: Cathy Maulidi
Roger Federer, President of the Roger Federer Foundation has revealed plans to invest another USD 9 million (over 7 billion Malawi Kwacha)
in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Programmes being implemented in Malawi.
Federer, said this on Tuesday in Dowa, during the official handover ceremony of 3000 Early Learning Kiosks to the Malawi Government for (ECCE) Mentors.
The Foundation which has been active in Early Childhood Care and Education since 2010, has this far invested USD18 million in Malawi.
Speaking during the function, Federer said, all children in Malawi deserve access to quality Early Childhood Care and Education as it is defined in the Sustainable Development Goal number 4.2.
According to Federer, the Early Learning Kiosks, are tablets with Apps that provide all content a caregiver/mentor need to give the children quality preschool education.
He said, the tablets which have been accompanied by a solar kit and 9000 self-guided course manuals for caregivers, are pre-loaded with Apps, tools and guides aimed at developing the capacity of mentors and caregivers.
“The Early Learning Kiosk is currently being used successfully in 900 Community Based ChildCare Centers (CBCCs) by mentors and caregivers as one component of our nationwide School Readiness Initiative. We will further scale it up to another 1600 CBCCs. I therefore hope that the mentors being trained here, find it useful and feel supported by it” said Federer.
Federer also called for increased funding towards the education sector if the quality of the education is to be improved.
He said, “I am aware that financial resources are limited and in competition with other needs. In education sector there are challenges such as lack of infrastructure and good teaching staff. If you want to achieve success at Secondary and university level, you first have to invest in early education. Investing in early education is investing into long-term development of the country.”
Receiving the learning kiosks on behalf of Malawi Government, Patricia Kaliati minister of Gender, community development and social welfare thanked the Foundation for the gesture saying the tablets will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges mentors and learners face.
Kaliati, then urged the caregivers/mentors to take care of the tablets and make sure they are being used for the intended purpose.
On her part, one of the mentors Fannes Phiri expressed excitement with the coming of the tablets saying they will help them to monitor the development of children and respond to their individual development needs.
“Let me also thank the Foundation for training us on how to use the tablets. This will make our job more easier.” Said Phiri.
Roger Federer Foundation is a charitable Swiss grant-making organization which aims to promote children living in poverty in the Southern Africa and Switzerland.
Federer, is visiting the School Readiness Programme that his Foundation is implementing in partnership with local partners namely; Action Aid Malawi, Association of ECD in Malawi, the ECD Coalition and the Synod of Livingstonia.
The Initiative commenced in 2020 and is targeting 2,500 Community Based Childcare Centers (CBCCs) from 19 Districts by 2026 with a budget of USD 10.5 million.