Investing in early childhood development can end extreme poverty: Sioka

Gender Equality and Child Welfare minister Doreen Sioka said, investing in early childhood development is a cost effective way to boost prosperity, promote inclusive economic growth, expand equal opportunities and end extreme poverty.

Sioka made these remarks on Friday during a media conference to announce the support the ministry got from Anglo American Namibia Foundation (AANF) in Early Childhood Development programs (ECD).

She said that, it is important to understand the need to invest in every child to maximize their future well-being, as it can determine what kind of adults they are going to be and help them how to deal with emotions, social and physical challenges.

Many of our young children are growing up in poverty with inadequate nutritious food, inadequate nurturing, less or no access to opportunities presented in early childhood development programs, said Sioka.

She added that ECD is every one's responsibility and cross cutting amongst many ministries, however government cannot support the programme alone, thus she urges communities and parents to play an active role in ECD as they are the primary caregivers to children.

Private sector and business communities should equally play an important role to invest in the development of the Namibian child, children need adequate indoor and outdoor space and equipment to play and explore, expressed Sioka.

Anglo America Namibia Foundation Chairman Board of Trustees Dave Bentley said, when it comes to sustainability in education, the best returns are at the youngest age. Thus AANF decided to invest in ECD to prepare a platform with productive education programs.

In the area of ECD the most sustainable investment is in creating an environment that promotes education - thus buildings and teacher development and training are the areas we have focused on, said Bentley.

Source: Namibia Press Agency