“Investing in early childhood development is smart; that period lays the foundation for health, well-being, learning and productivity throughout a person’s whole life and has an impact on the health and well-being of the next generation,” the Country Director of Children Believe (CB), Mrs. Esinam Kavi De Souza, has said.
She was speaking at the inauguration of the Northern Regional Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Committee in Tamale last Thursday.
The committee is tasked to monitor and evaluate ECCD activities in the region, advise the regional coordinating council (RCC) on ECCD issues and play an advocacy role for ECCD.
It is also to use existing regional institutions, such as relevant ministries, departments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), child-related associations, private service providers, among others, to plan, implement and monitor ECCD programmes and designate a coordinator for ECCD activities in the region.
The committee has membership from the departments of Children and Social Welfare, the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Early Childhood Care and Development Centres Association (ECCDCA) and representatives from two child-centred NGOs and is chaired by the Northern Regional Director of the Department of Children, Mr. Iddrisu Sandey.
CB, a child rights international advocacy organisation, formerly known as Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, is spearheading the formation of the regional ECCD committees in the Northern, Savannah and the Upper East regions, in collaboration with their respective RCCs, in accordance with Ghana’s ECCD policy.
The ECCD policy document, which was developed in 2004 and is being reviewed currently, provides the broad policy goal to promote the survival, growth and development of all children from zero to eight years in Ghana.
At the inauguration ceremony, Mrs. De Souza said the regional ECCD played a critical role in the early childhood education of children.
She said a recent baseline survey commissioned by CB on ECCD in the Northern, Upper East, Upper West, Savannah and North East regions revealed a lack of proper infrastructure and qualified trained teachers, particularly in rural areas.
She noted that the inauguration of the ECCD would also enhance collaboration and coordination between the Department of Social Welfare and the GES for the effective implementation of ECCD policy and activities to ensure that guidelines on quality and safety were adhered to by early childhood development centre operators.
A Deputy Director at the RCC, Mrs. Sherifatu Gyimah, urged the Department of Social Welfare to intensify its monitoring and supervisory functions to enforce standards.
Mr. Sandey pledged that the committee would work to justify the confidence reposed in the members and called on district assemblies to allocate a percentage of their budget expenditure to ECCD programmes to facilitate those programmes.