The Ethiopian government decided in 2016 that all government offices (federal) are obligied to offer early childhood supervision for their employees. Since 2017, PfC – in partnership with Ethiopian national authorities (with the Ministry of Women and Social Affairs as the coordinating ministry) – has been working for the establishment of early childhood daycares. During the period, 27 daycares have been established, approximately 300 daycare assistants have been trained, managers (directors) and 25 childcare supervisors trained.
Through our work on competence building and job creation for women in Ethiopia, we have experienced that the lack of good childcare solutions is a recurring challenge. In Ethiopia, traditionally it is a mother’s duty to stay at home and raise the children. Due to this, many women are prevented from participating in training programs / education or have to say no to job offers. Investments in the social sector, including daycare development, are crucial for women’s participation in the workforce.
An expansion of the daycare sector in Ethiopian will have a broad and positive societal effect. Firstly, the youngest children receive a customized educational plan in their first years of life – which is of great importance for their further development. Hot meals counteract stunting, which is a widespread problem in many low-income countries. Daycares will facilitate for women to participate in working life on an equal basis with men. A daycare development will also contribute to the creation of several new jobs in the formal economy for women and youth. Overall, this will contribute to more women being included in community building. They become financially independent and pay taxes to the common good.
However; it is a paradox that daycares never has been a focus area in Norway’s development aid; public or private. This, despite the fact that children, education, women and gender equality have been key strategic elements in the government’s action plans.