Basic Education and Youth Development


Early childhood development

Adolescent development

Basic quality education



Early childhood development

UNICEF Malawi/2014/Ganesh
© UNICEF Malawi/2014/Ganesh

The early years of life (usually 0-8) are critical and play an important role in determining the survival and development of a child. It’s during the first years of a child’s life for example that many important organs such as the brain develop. Realising the critical role that early years play in a child’s development, UNICEF in the 2010-2016 Country Programme intends to support initiatives aimed at providing children with an enabling, safe and nurturing environment to develop to their full potential. UNICEF currently supports Government institutions to develop adequate policies, standards, curricula, monitoring and evaluation of research for evidence-based decision making and to address the challenge of delivering quality early childhood development in communities across the country.

Key Result

The goal of the early childhood development sub component is to ensure evidence-informed early childhood policy, legislation, plans and budgets are in place and that implementation of interventions that target the most vulnerable children are supported.


In Malawi, over one million children benefit from Early Childhood Development (ECD) services. ECD services are provided through Community Based Care Centres (CBCC) supported by UNICEF through the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare throughout the country. Usually, the CBCC’s are run by caregivers who are trained to manage children. Currently, there are 14, 800 caregivers in Malawi. Most children who benefit from ECD services are either orphans or vulnerable. These children often live with grandparents who are too old to provide for them or too poor. ECD services provided by CBCC’s therefore give such children an opportunity to develop during their early years of life.

Strategies and Actions

  1. Support initiatives to create broad civil society partnerships to monitor implementation of early childhood policies, especially access, equity and quality.
  2. Scale up Community Based Childcare Centres (CBCCs)
  3. Develop an outreach and parenting programme model for children under three years
  4. Put in place legislation, regulatory frameworks, standards and implementation guidelines to ensure that the early childhood development policy works
  5. Ensure that Early Childhood development services are accessible to all children and their parents through parenting education and support programmes.



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