The National Forum on Early Childhood Development has stressed the need for Tanzania to heavily invest in young children for the country to smoothly achieve its vision 2025.
Addressing media practitioners at the Biennial National Forum on Early Childhood Development here on Monday, executive director of the Tanzania Early Childhood Development (TECDEN), Mary Kabati said it was high time the country seriously channeled more resources into consolidating children’s welfare.
She said: “When we invest in children, we improve learning, earning and living for everyone, ” adding: “Working with partners, we can seize this moment to improve the lives of young children and build a better society for us all.”
Tanzania’s vision 2025 an indepth assessment of Tanzania’s history and direction, states the country’s desire to be a middle-income economy in just 13 years.
“Today’s young children are the workforce to deliver that vision, and if we fail to invest in their future now, we’ll fail to achieve our nation’s ambitions,” she told the gathering, which drew senior government officials, activists from local and international civil society organizations and among others.
“We applaud the government’s efforts to push forward with this agenda, because an investment in Tanzania’s young children is an investment in its future. Children who have received vital
services in their first few years do better in school and stay in school longer than children who do not. They are able to get jobs with better wages as adults.”
According to recent study in 73 countries, developing countries that invest in early childhood development can see up to a 17-fold return on that investment.
“We urge the government and its partners in civil society to move swiftly to implement relevant policies and programmes. Everyday we fail to do so we fail to fortify Tanzania’s most precious resource: our children. It is imperative that good intentions now turn to decisive action for only by doing so can we secure our future,” she said.
“A government’s greatest responsibility is to ensure the health and welfare of its youngest citizens; its children,” said Lisa Jordan, executive director of the Bernard van Lee Foundation.
“The time is now and the opportunity is ripe for Tanzania to put the needs of young children first and we’re proud to offer support and tangible commitments alongside what we hope will be decisive action for children on part of Tanzanian government.”