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  • Writer's pictureAlex Dye

Kidogo Headlines Day of Care Event Hosted by the Executive Office of the President in Nairobi

This July, The United Nations named October 29 as International Day of Care and Support to recognize the often undervalued contributions of paid and unpaid care and domestic work to economies.

To commemorate this milestone in Kenya, the Executive Office of the President convened the government agencies and leading organizations involved in care work. Kidogo was instrumental in planning the event and our team and model were prominently featured. This marks a huge step in Kidogo’s 10+ year journey toward getting governments worldwide to recognize childcare as a public good, which is subsidized for the poorest families.

The Nairobi event was hosted by Hon. Harriette Chiggai, the President’s Advisor on Women’s Rights, in collaboration with the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN), Global Development Incubator (GDI), Oxfam, Kenya’s National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), The Ministry of Labour, and Kidogo. Hon. Chiggai’s office is involved in coordinating and advancing women's rights across different sectors of government.

Videos featuring Kidogo parents and Mamapreneurs, caregivers from Kidogo’s network, played to open the event. It was an honor to have these important stakeholders set the tone for this monumental occasion and to bring their voices directly to the highest levels of government.

Additional Mamapreneurs and members of Kidogo’s team attended and spoke in-person. Mamapreneur Rael Ndende (below), who joined our network in 2019 and runs a centre in Nairobi, spoke about the importance of accessible and quality childcare for children with physical disabilities and learning differences. Rael spoke from her personal experience as both a caregiver who ensures accessibility in her centre and the mother of a disabled child.

Kidogo’s Director of Policy and Partnerships, Elaine Wacuka Hurt (below), was a featured speaker on the topic of how the need for childcare was exacerbated during the Covid 19 pandemic.

“Unpaid care work limits the type of work women can engage in, including their financial security. Without quality, affordable childcare, the child in the home will not get a quality upbringing, which threatens their future potential, which includes hitting the right milestones” - Elaine Wacuka Hurt

Attendees had the opportunity to see what Kidogo means by quality, play-based care through our pop-up centre display, pictured below.

The event also included a high-level panel discussion on the findings from a new Time Use Survey developed by Oxfam and the KNBS to capture time spent on unpaid care and domestic work, which falls disproportionately on women. This tool is essential for valuing the critical contribution of uncompensated care work to GDP by introducing a new way to quantify it.

The next phase of the Survey will see the inclusion of a valuation of unpaid work through the development of Household Satellite Accounts, a technique used to measure the contribution of unpaid domestic and care work to Kenya's GDP. Alongside these developments, Kidogo and ECDAN continue to advocate for donors and policymakers to:

  • Increase financing for early childcare systems and providers;

  • Embed early childcare support programs into the public sector for greater scale and sustainability;

  • Support the development of standards, competencies, and tools to define and measure quality for home-based early childcare providers globally.

Hon. Chiggai’s Keynote speech described what the Executive Office of the President is doing to recognize and improve the care economy in Kenya, particularly where it intersects with issues of women’s empowerment. Hon. Chiggai highlighted that her office is open to working with solution-oriented organizations like Kidogo that can address systemic challenges like access to quality and affordable care and achieve joint instead of fragmented successes. As childcare does not currently fall under any one ministry, our goal in the coming months is to build on the dialogue started at today's event to establish an official home for the cause within the Executive Office.

After a decade of working alongside our Mamapreneurs to bring quality, affordable childcare to their communities, this was a new level of recognition for their important contributions, not only to the children in their care, but to the national economy. Today’s event marks a monumental step forward in creating the thriving future for women and children that Kidogo envisions.

Above: Hon. Harriette Chiggai and Kidogo Mamapreneurs celebrate the inaugural International Day of Care and Support in Nairobi, Kenya.

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