By ANNIE ZULU in Chongwe, Zambia.
UNICEF has officially handed over two Community Based Integrated Early Childhood Development (ECD) hubs, locally called Insakas to the Zambian Government in Chongwe District’s Chibombe and Kasubanya villages.
The hubs which were constructed at the cost of K1.4 million will provide opportunities for children in the two communities to receive nurturing care interventions that will help them grow and attain their full developmental potential.
In a speech read on behalf of Health Minister Silvia Masebo by Community Development and Social Services Minister Doreen Mwamba during the handover ceremony, Ms. Masebo said Government has prioritised a multi- sectoral approach to respond to various issues of Early Childhood Development.
The Minister described the construction of the ECD hubs as a progressive move, stressing that the facilities will help address some of the issues affecting children such as malnutrition.
“The infrastructure has taken care of all key elements such as a nutrition blocks where nutrition counselling sessions will be provided and this will go a long way in empowering caregivers with knowledge on how to prepare age-appropriate nutritious meals for children,” Ms. Masebo said.
And Ms. Mwamba expressed confidence that the hubs will help in uprooting ill vices against children such as child neglect and abuse.
“As of May 2022, there were 6,582 children places in different childcare facilities across the country, some children were either neglected, abused, dumped or abandoned,” she said.
Meanwhile, UNICEF Regional Director for East and Southern Africa Mohamed Malick Fall Commended Government for taking important steps such as the enactment of the Children`s Code Act to enable every Zambian child a bright future.
Mr. Fall also reaffirmed UNICEF`s commitment to supporting Early Childhood Development programmes in Zambia.
And Headman Amos Chibombe of Chibombe village who gave a vote of thanks on behalf the two villages that Government and its cooperating partiners, UNICEF and World Vision for the hubs.
Headman Chibombe assured that the traditional leadership would ensure that the infrastructures are safeguarded and used for their intended purposes.