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County, private sector to enhance early child-hood learning

Nakuru County government in partnership with private sector is promoting early childhood education in informal settlements through establishment of day-care centers to enable more children access early-childhood learning.

The County government is working closely with private organizations including Kidogo Franchising organization, which has established a network of corporate-owned and franchised early childhood centers in Nakuru slums where women pruners are trained on holistic curriculum, health and nutrition programs and friendly spaces that could serve the local communities.

Kidogo Franchising Coordinator in Nakuru Bonface Wanjala said by combining early childhood care and education with income generation for women, the enterprise was helping break the inter-generational cycle of poverty among the slum dwellers.

The venture, he added, was enabling children in the informal settlements gain access to early childhood learning to unlock their potential in adulthood, while the care-giving mothers engage in income-generating activities.

Wanjala said they have trained women pruners in Kaptembwo slums, who were now running day-care centers under the organization supervision with the help of the County’s Department of Health who visits the centre to monitor sanitation and other health related issues.

The programme, he added had provided more children with access to early childhood learning in addition to better baby health status and nutrition through a robust feeding program and early detection of key health issues among the little learners.

Wanjala observed that day-care centers were increasingly becoming a refuge for slum mothers who cannot afford the high cost of hiring house-helps following the increasing awareness among domestic workers on employment laws such as minimum wage, health care-cover and other allowances.

“House-helps have been enlightened on the minimum wages and rights, that makes most of the people in slums unable to afford to employ them,” said Wanjala.

“Availability of day-care centres which offers services at a friendly cost to slum dwellers, enable the locals meet other family needs such as school fees, food and shelter with ease,” said the coordinator.

The programme ensures that all children at the day-cares are registered, which according to Wanjala enables them to make a follow-up to assess the health progress of the learners and that their parents are made aware of their children progress.

Wanjala said they are looking forward to starting a ‘business in a box’ micro-franchising initiative that will enable local mothers as “mama pruners” to establish new, or formalize their existing, child-care centers with quality service to create a stable income.

He added that the business in a box would help the “mama pruners” to start or grow their own micro business using the micro-franchising model to improve their economic potential and gain the financial literacy skills.

The Child-Care Facilities Bill 2019 gives a parent right to know how his or her child will be disciplined and be given a copy of the discipline policy upon enrolment of the child.

Parents will now have a right to visit the facility at any time while the child is there and will also be entitled to know the qualification of care givers.

By Esther Mwangi and Charloth Chepkemoi

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