New initiative for working mothers Â
Three Rwandan ladies have come up with an on-site day care program where mothers would stay with their babies at workplace through employer sponsored care.
Their justification is that, women are more present in Rwandan workforce and childcare needs have to be taken into consideration, to decrease anxiety for some parents, improving their ability to concentrate on their jobs.
â€œYou have no idea how itâ€™s painful to leave a-3 month old baby at home after maternity leave. A number of mothers opt to resign from their job instead of leaving a child at a delicate age,â€ said Lulu Karangwa, a mother and co-founder and Managing Director of KHU Family Care Solutions.
The program targets children from 3 months to two (2) years. It does not target mothers in offices only; rather, mothers from any work place can also seek the service.
In case a father works in the same area with the mother, it will also be a good opportunity for both parents to provide affection to the child; an element that is highly lacking in present generation and does affect most children psychologically as most do develop various poor behavior amid what sociological specialists call â€˜social Isolation/lonelinessâ€™.
Karangwa suggests that the program founders have a formula where an employer and employee can share costs on this service, an element with a mutual agreement for the benefit of both the parent (s) and the facilitator.
An employer would provide space-a room at workplace, while interested mothers/parents would bargain with the service provider an amount of money to pay a day care professional.
To go about this, KHU intends to reach out to institutions and sell their project to both the mothers and the employers.
Beneficiaries of the service will be bringing their children and find all requirements at workplace. The mother will need to walk to the next room to breastfeed.
Considering the benefit of breastfeeding to both mother and child that Health Experts and sociological scholars do insist on Mother-child relationship for better physical and moral growth
According to the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion in Rwanda; the program would contribute highly in promoting families and participate in building a better society.
Minister Oda Gasinzigwa was approached as the initiators presented the program to the Ministry and said, it is a promising initiative that her Ministry shall study and offer some support where necessary; the Minister has not given any precise support though she admitted it was a good one.
Mothers might also be served lunch in the same place to maximize contacts with child, but that needs be discussed between two parties. â€œAgain for mutual benefitâ€
In case the institution cannot have a vacant room for this project, the service provider will have two alternatives; one is to rent nearby the workplace or to do a consortium crÃ¨che whereby two or three institutions will have their children in one place.
Karangwa said, they will need the program to be sponsored by employers and employees for it to be sustainable and a long time solution for working parents. Having considered a nutrition component as one of necessities in the program. It is a program that combines an academic, social, and nutrition items as Key elements. Most importantly according to Karangwa;
The Ministry of Health has also been contacted but officials said they need to think about it and find out how conducive it would be to the public health particularly both Mother and child health. The Ministry officials though it was a vibrant Idea.
Meanwhile, several government institutions have been approached, â€œbecause, not only we are serving mothers, but we will contribute to employment once we start,â€ says Karangwa.
Rwanda is looking for 200,000 jobs every year, but for the last two years, the country created only 160,000 jobs annually.
KHU Family Care Solutions requested support in training of family-care professionals at National Employment Program (NEP) which is implemented under Workforce Development Authority (WDA).
â€œThe project is good. We are still at planning stage; looking into how we can train required people,â€Abdallah Nzabandora, head of NEP said.
The project owners are targeting to employ â€˜Aâ€™-level as well as a Bachelor degree graduate girls. One care giver will be responsible for 3 to 4 children.
Karangwaâ€™s education background is business and so are her two partners.
â€œWe have seen the program successfully implemented by Safaricom in Kenya,â€ says Karangwa.
She further said, the program shall run an international Montessori education; an educational approach developed basing on children emphasis on personality development, independence, freedom within limits; and respect for a childâ€™s natural psychological, physical, and social development.
This one however is to be brought in favor of Rwanda environment and it would focus on upbringing a better generation stressing on both family bond (children & parents) and socio-economic model that suits a working class particularly Mothers in all sectors of economy.