What is required for women to be fully participating in the formal economy?
Answer: Qualifications, rights, willingness to cooperate, investments and day cares.
Through PfC’s partnership projects in Ethiopia, where women received training and jobs were created, we realized that organized day care was necessary. The consequence of absence of day cares is that both poor and well-educated women have to say no when offered jobs. The toddler day care project was started in the autumn of 2017, as a collaboration between the Ministry of Women, Children and Youth (MoWCY) and PfC. Many other good forces in Ethiopia have supported the initiative, not least because the Ethiopian government had recently introduced a regulation requiring all government workplaces to offer day care to their employees, primarily women.
Thanks to a positive response from the Ivar Løge Foundation and the Grieg Foundation, PfC was able to plan a comprehensive project (Day Care Project) over four years, consisting of education of day care staff, curriculum development and training of day care assistants, design and models for concrete establishment of day cares, guidance for day care owners and management training for day care directors and policy makers in the ministries.
The pedagogical framework is taken from both the Montessori tradition and Norwegian day care practice, adapted to Ethiopian values and culture. The leadership training is inspired by Norwegian administration and the master courses for day care directors offered in Norway.
All 20 ministries and Ethiopia’s Planning Commission are represented among the participants in the course.
The first four Ethiopian Montessori educators went through a 14-month training under the auspices of Waterpark Montessori International and a consultant from PfC in 2018/2019. These four have after their trainingen organized and completed a 6-month assistant education for a total of 89 day care assistants. Everyone is now at work.
During corona, teaching has taken place online in groups. In May 2021, 60 new participants started their assistant education. Crucial to all education is the child’s best interests and the child’s right to positive self-development.
In May 2021, a leadership course was held in day care operations for employees in directorates, ministries and existing daycare centers in Ethiopia. The first part of the course was held in Addis Ababa in January 2020, while the second and last part of the course was held in May 2021. The participants were physically gathered, but the teaching took place using videos and live stream from Norway by Arni Hole (consultant for PfC). The training was facilitated and coordinated on site by PfC officials in Ethiopia. The feedback from the participants was very positive – and they look forward to applying what they have learned in their work in kindergartens in Ethiopia.
This project shows how partnerships can give lasting system changes.