ChildFund Sri Lanka has recognised the importance of supporting care-givers in building a strong foundation for nurturing care and towards early childhood development, and has as a first step signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka (VTA) to standardise the existing knowledge and skills of selected individuals to obtain a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Certificate.
The signing of the MOU took place recently between Eranga Basnayake, Chairman/CEO, Vocational Training Authority of Sri Lanka, and Nalaka Siriwardena, Country Manager, ChildFund Sri Lanka in the presence of senior officers from the VTA and ChildFund Sri Lanka, both organisations said in a media release.
Mr. Basnayake, stated, “In agreement with the request from ChildFund Sri Lanka we are conducting training towards a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Certificate in Childcare to selected child caregivers ensuring a more systematic and a recognized vocational training as well as professional empowerment.”
Mr. Siriwardena said, “ChildFund is extremely pleased to have signed an MOU with the VTA to provide formal and recognised training for ‘Lead Mothers’, who have the potential to deliver knowledge and advice to their peers. Our ‘Lead Mothers programme’ is evolving to a social enterprise for childcare which provide economic opportunity in the sector of care giving and to provide quality services which facilitate age-appropriate growth and development for children. The programme has positively contributed to the enhanced knowledge of parents and caregivers resulting in changes in behaviours and attitudes of parents towards both nutritional development and cognitive development of children. This qualification will strengthen their skillset and help to transform children’s lives.”
The first apprentice training course is scheduled to commence for 15 mothers in the Madamulana VTA Centre in the Hambantota District. ChildFund Sri Lanka has provided the necessary infrastructure facilities including the training equipment and the course fee for the participating adult trainees. Based on the MOU, VTA will deliver relevant and flexible training strengthening caregivers with knowledge and skills to ensure the participants are able to provide responsive care and early learning development, while also improving their employability. Participants will receive the National Certificate at NVQ Level 3 in the occupation of Child Care Giver.
The selected participants are individuals engaged in ChildFund Sri Lanka’s ‘Lead Mothers’ programme, who are trained volunteer mothers and already key facilitators within the community acting as peer educators, mentors and change agents.
“Recognised as one of the most successful interventions of ChildFund Sri Lanka thus far, the ‘Lead Mothers’ programME promotes knowledge on positive parenting and strengthening mothers’ engagement in child nutrition and development which is then cascaded within the community by trained parents and caregivers who share their knowledge with their peers,” the release said.