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    071576

    Ethiopia: providing child care within farmers' cooperatives.

    Haregot A

    In: Child care: meeting the needs of working mothers and their children, edited by Ann Leonard and Cassie Landers. New York, New York, SEEDS, 1991. 19-24. (SEEDS No. 13)

    In Ethiopia among the Melka Oba Farmers Producers' Cooperatives which are 120 km from Addis Ababa, child care was managed by the cooperative itself with the assistance of UNICEF and the Integrated Family Life Project (IFLE) interagency committee in 1983. Funding was used to employ a consultant to train child minders and establish the center, pay the cost of training, purchase resource materials for the training, equip the creche and kindergarten, and buy tools for construction of play items. A villa was donated to house the day care program. 8 child minders were selected for their interest in children and their educational level. Training was for 8 months. The child care center has flexible hours to accommodate working mothers and allows breast- feeding visits during the day. It is open to children aged 45 days-6 years, and includes a national preschool curriculum and immunization and health care services. As a byproduct of the center's activities, a family planning, health, and family life education program are operating. The evaluation in 1985 found that there were many reports of improved health among the children and less anxiety for the parents about child care. Production has increased and absenteeism has fallen. Pressure was applied successfully to obtain a local elementary school. A literacy program for adults was also begun. Of the problems encountered, the most difficult was persuading men, who felt that there was not a child care problem and that the women took care of it, to share in child care responsibilities. IFLE and UNICEF replicated the effort in Melka Oba within the Yetnora Agricultural Producer's Cooperative in Dejen, Gojjam Region. 12 lessons learned from this experience are identified: 1) child care needs must also take into account the interrelated needs of working mothers, infants and young children, and child care providers; 2) child care must be accessible, available during work hours, affordable, and trustworthy to mothers; 3) high quality care must have an appropriate curriculum; 4) local women should be trained as providers; 5) need is dependent on the child's age; 6) providers need payment and support; 7) community involvement increases commitment and learning; 8) byproducts are parent education and more schooling options for siblings; 9) teaching needs to be learner centered; 10) no 1 solution is best; 11) quality of care must be contextually judged by mothers and the community; and 12) political commitment is necessary.
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