Programme launched to strengthen childcare ecosystem in Nairobi and Kisumu informal settlements

Kenya News Agency News & Updates February 23, 2024

A local Non-Governmental Organisation has rolled out a programme to strengthen childcare ecosystem at informal settlements in Nairobi and Kisumu.

The Organization of African Youth (OAY) under its new programme dubbed, ‘Tunzo Bora,’ seeks to enhance the employability and well-being of young mothers through social and technological innovations that strengthen the daycare ecosystems.

Sheila Chepkirui, the OAY Head of Programmes, said young mothers in these areas faced several socio-economic challenges due to poverty and marginalization that were exacerbated by COVID-19.

“This noble project will improve quality, child development, access and sector connectedness. We have noted that most women are facing barriers to access decent jobs and education due to challenges in the daycare ecosystem including quality, supply, affordability and early child development,” emphasized Chepkirui during the learning and stakeholders’ workshop held today at a Kisumu hotel.

The organization supports demand creation for daycare services and linkages to opportunities for enhanced well-being of young mothers and their children.

She added that with the assistance from Global Affairs Canada and the Support of the World University of Canada (WUSC) since September 2022, the project seeks to strengthen the capacity, enhance access and quality of childcare services in Kenya in line with relevant guidelines; for the best interest of the child.

The organization identified existing evidence gaps by focusing on under-35-year-old women who have been trained in Responsive Care Giving and Early Childhood Development Education (ECDE), and who went ahead to open their centres.

OAY had established that there was less focus on children below 4 years who were not yet ready to be in school while Curriculum Based Competence (CBC) only takes care of those above 4 years.

“We noted that traditionally, childcare was done by older women while younger people, especially those under 34 years old did not perceive it as a business or a professional career. Similarly, there has been less sustainable capacity building among younger women as most organizations in the sector offer one-off training without focusing on mentorship and coaching,” said Chepkirui.

She however stated that most young women were only trained on responsive caregiving as potential employees and not employers thus not exposing them to opportunities of centre ownership.

Wilkister Odora, the ECDE Director of Kisumu County reiterated that there is already an ECDE Act which would take care of how Daycare and ECDE facilities within the county could be managed.

We already have come up with regulations that are going to guide on the affordable registration fees. One will pay Sh2,000 for the first year, and then after that pay Sh2,000 for permanent registration for the next five years,” Ms Odora clarified.

This is aimed at ensuring that young children are safe from Child Trafficking and that most daycare facilities remained operational without closing prematurely.

While applauding the good work of the caregivers, she encouraged closer collaborations with all the stakeholders, championing the expansion of the facilities to other estates and not focusing solely on informal settlements.

The Tunza Bora project carried out a Baseline Survey on Care Economy which covered 33 childcare centres in Nairobi and Kisumu among which 63.6 percent (n=33) were home-based facilities, 24.2 percent were centre-based, while 12.1 percent were primary school-based childcare facilities.

In the report’s findings, 62.5 percent (20) of surveyed childcare facility owners were untrained in caregiving services. Most of the childcare facility owners had learned on the job and through observation in other similar childcare facilities.

It further revealed that a majority of 94 percent of childcare facility owners who had been trained reportedly undertook basic, short-term relevant training by NGOs, and only 1 respondent had attained formal ECDE training and qualification at certificate level.

“Only 9 percent (3) of the facilities surveyed reported being able to offer first aid services in case an accident occurred within their facilities. The results revealed that 35.5 percent (n=31) of the childcare facility owners worked alone without helpers,” explained Maureen Owino, OAY Kisumu Coordinator.

She observed that about 41.9 percent (n=31) employed two (2) adult workers to help them run the centres while 12.9 percent employed only one person.

The OAY report pointed out that about 6.5 percent employed three staff and 3.2 percent of the childcare facility owners interviewed had employed five adult employees. On average, the ratio of teachers (workers) to children was 1:13.

The workshop’s proposed objectives were to share project feedback, impact and best practices, the County to share updates on the regulation of the childcare ecosystem and specifically sensitize daycare owners on the registration of facilities.

In addition, partners shared learning and best practices in line with the Childcare ecosystem.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *