Government of Botswana commits to increase investment in ECD
Early childhood development a national priority
The Government of Botswana has committed to increasing resources for Early Childhood Development. Speaking at the launch of the #EarlyMomentsMatter campaign, the Vice President, His Honour, Slumber Tsogwane, underscored that “The time to act is now; together, we can make the #EarlyMomentsMatter for every child. Through this campaign, the government commits to increase investment in ECD services that will give young children, especially the most deprived, the best start in life.”
The Vice President pointed out that though government has made great progress in ECD, there are children who still live in poverty, and are at risk of not reaching their development potential. The country also has high levels of chronic malnutrition which may hinder children’s ability to learn and be economically productive in adulthood. “The Government commits to making family-friendly early childhood development policies a national priority – and a private sector imperative,” he said. He emphasised the importance of a clearly defined coordination mechanism for all key players to meaningfully contribute to ECD.
Speaking at the same event, UNICEF Country Representative Ms. Julianna Lindsey pointed out that “Early Childhood Development does not belong to one ministry alone. Early childhood development has five domains – health, nutrition, caregiving, safety, and learning.” Lindsey stressed that “making sure that all young children are healthy, nourished, stimulated, and safe is critical to Botswana’s economic success. It’s beautifully summed up in the hashtag “eat, play, love” in the earliest moments of life.”
The private sector continues to show great interest in supporting ECD as part of their corporate benefit plans. As part of the #EarlyMomentsMattter campaign, UNICEF Botswana and its partners will engage the private sector to increase the duration of maternity and paternity leave. The office will also share best practices and guidance on establishing lactation rooms.