Kisumu County Assembly is set to pass an Early Childhood Education and Childcare Facility bill by 2023 to streamline the operations of all Childcare facilities within the county.
The new bill will be a game changer in the childcare sector as it aims to regulate the baby care facilities by ensuring they are registered to enhance quality standards for child protection.
Kisumu County ECDE Director Michael Adar speaking during a stakeholders’ workshop noted that the bill, which is in final stage, would transform the childcare sector, as it caters for the various needs of both children and caregivers.
The bill, he added, would enhance administrative services, promote special needs, ensure development of playing grounds for children and ensure that all the childcare personnel and entrepreneurs are trained and qualified to handle the young children.
Matters of children, he said, should not be taken lightly hence the bill proposed the need for all caregivers and entrepreneurs to undergo training and at least have the bare minimum qualifications to operate and run a childcare facility.
“Some caregivers have a habit of giving the children alcohol and sleep inducers to make them fall asleep as they do other duties not related to childcare. This is abuse of the young ones thus the reason why when the bill is passed, it will help in weeding out these untrained caregivers and oversee that matters of the children’s welfare is satisfactory,” said Adar.
Mr. Adar also highlighted that as the children are put together, childcare facilities should consider putting up programmes aimed to build the children’s foundation in education.
He encouraged the parents to consider a number of factors before enrolling their children in the facilities.
Among the factors included are admission criteria in the facilities, if the programmes are geared to prepare their children for pre-primary education, their expectations and whether the facilities offer adequate child protection citing that learning starts at six months when the child responds to sounds and other forms of communication.
Organisation of African Youth Kenya (OAY) National coordinator Michael Asudi explained that in an effort to help uplift the childcare sector, they started a project under the name ‘Tunza Bora’ which aims at strengthening young women owned childcare micro-enterprises, sector opportunities relating to childcare, employment creation, possible micro-enterprises training needs and interventions.
Mr. Asudi explained that the project will do a landscape analysis to determine how many facilities are within their targeted areas (Nairobi and Kisumu), thereafter offer entrepreneurial skills to the caregivers and link them to psychosocial support to help them know how to balance their roles as well as equip them with nutritional skills to enable them take care of the malnutrition.
“The Tunza Bora project will engage at least 2000 young women aged 18-24 years in the childcare system. 32 childcare facilities both home based and facility based within Nairobi and Kisumu will also be engaged to test new ideas and promote positive change in the childcare sector,” stated Asudi.
He further explained that out of the thirty-two facilities, at least 10% will be operated by Person with Disability (PWD) or catering for children with special needs and another 10% will be facilities having any form of registration or legal compliance.
Immaculate Achieng, an entrepreneur in the childcare sector reiterated that despite having a homecare for children under three years which supports her financially, some parents have proved to be strenuous to deal with hence making the venture difficult to operate.
“Some parents leave their children under the care of caregivers and fail to pick them at the agreed time. Some of them fail to mention the ailments their children are suffering from thus putting the child in danger and the caregiver in a dilemma in case of an attack. Many times, the caregivers are blamed and sued for negligence yet it is the parents’ fault,” noted Achieng.
She however encouraged the county government to prioritise the children’s welfare and ensure that childcare facilities are up to standard, located in a safe environment.
She also urged parents to be responsible for their children and make sure that before they enroll their children in a facility, they must do due diligence to make sure that their children will be taken care of by a trained and qualified caregiver.
By Becky Galyns and Jane Beatrice