A Grassroots Voice for an International Audience

man smiling wearing a white buttoned up shirt with tall grass behind him Saeed Wame, the executive director of Namwera AIDS Coordinating Committee (NACC) in Malawi recently attended a UNICEF Regional ECD Workshop in South Africa on behalf of Firelight, supported through a partnership with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. The workshop brought together practitioners in the field of Early Childhood Development (ECD), with Saeed the only representative of a CBO working in ECD. Saeed shared with us his experience at the workshop and the impact it’s made on his work:

“The coming together of people with different geographical and historical backgrounds, experiences, and professionals is very great but coming together with common goal and interest is very unique. Many thanks should go to UNICEF and its development partners for organising a very successful regional ECD workshop, not only that but for allowing a grassroots organization like NACC to share its experience in capacity building for Community Based Organization.

Although most countries with a high prevalence of HIV and AIDS have national strategies in place to support Children Affected By AIDS (CABA), there are few programs designed specifically to meet the special needs of children under five. Therefore, as researchers and program implementers uncover more evidence of the long-term consequences of HIV/AIDS on children, new approaches are urgently needed.

Against this background, Firelight Foundation and NACC are striving to contribute towards creating an enabling environment that would later on contribute significantly towards improving the survival and wellbeing of children through building the capacity for CBOs who are the front runners and families to understand the concept of child development.

The participation of Eastern and Southern Africa ECD workshop is one way of achieving that. The motivation, information and knowledge, skills and energy that NACC gained at the workshop will help in improving the quality of ECD service delivery at the service point.”

The participation of NACC to the Eastern and Southern African ECD workshop will in many ways help NACC:

“The ECD workshop has started producing immediate results; I was invited to attend the ECD consultation meeting of the National ECD Technical Working Group in the capital city Lilongwe. At the end of the meeting the Essential Package (EP) was adopted as a key resource tool. Save the Children has committed itself to implement it and asked me to help in training the Essential Package National Trainers and Supervisors.

We have also started discussing with other participants who came to the South Africa workshop and are interested to come to NACC with their staff to learn more.

The establishment of working relationships with other organizations in Malawi and outside Malawi who are implementing ECD programs will help NACC to improve its service delivery through knowledge and skills gained during the engagement.

The skills gained shall be transferred to the colleagues at NACC [and] Grant partners implementing ECD programs who are receiving funding from Firelight Foundation and the communities."

To learn more about NACC’s work, see previous blogs: Back to School in MalawiPlanting a TreeNamwera Group Efforts Soar to Unheard Heights



Firelight is able to support NACC through a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. For more information, please visit www.hiltonfoundation.org.

This blog was written by Mia Schmid & Saeed Wame, with support from Kristen Molyneaux