Sitota daycare service unlocks employment opportunities for women

Coloring with chalk

The Livelihood Improvement for Women & Youth (LI-WAY) project, funded by SIDA and implemented by four consortium members (MercyCorps, TechnoServe, Save the Children and SNV), contributes to sustainable poverty reduction and social stability in Addis Ababa through improved livelihoods. The project aims to increase incomes of 200,000 people (50% women and 75% youth) through increased access to wage and/or self-employment opportunities.

LI-WAY’s labour market diagnosis shows that women’s domestic responsibilities especially childcare, prohibits them from getting a new job or from maintaining their existing job. Existing commercial childcare services have limited coverage or are unaffordable for unemployed and low-income women. In addition, the growth of these services is limited due to operational and regulatory challenges.

Addressing this constraint, required the consortium to find a committed partner(s) who was willing to test affordable childcare services for low-income women. During its partners' assessment, LI-WAY identified Sitota daycare centre as one of the interested partners. During a pilot, a new service model for low-income women was tested, as well as their willingnes to pay and place their trust in the service. By using the child daycare service, low-income women will have more time to search for or maintain a job.

Sitota Day Care Service

Emebet, as a mother, has been forced to quit her job because of the lack of affordable childcare services. For this reason, Emebet decided to open a daycare business and named it 'Sitota' (Gift). The centre became her source of income while providing a service to other women who were struggling to conciliate domestic tasks with work.

Sitota is the only licensed daycare facility in Woreda 10 of the Nifas Silk sub-city in Addis Ababa. After achieving the necessary operational standards, the daycare centre opened in September 2017 with a loan of ETB 100,000 (€3,100) from the Addis Credit and Saving Institute to initiate the business and rent a house for a monthly fee of ETB 5,000 (€155) from an ‘edir’, a community based social self-help organisation.

Sinota accepts children between the age of one and four years and charges a monthly service fee of ETB 800 (€24) per child for a full day service from Monday to Saturday. In the beginning, it also required parents to cover certain costs like food, clothing and sanitation. These costs still represented a challenge for the mothers. Emebet, willing to support other women in need, searched for opportunities to turn her existing childcare service into a new and innovative business model. With support from the LI-WAY project, she designed various types of service fees (ETB 200-500 per month) that are being tested to assess feasibility, affordability and willingness to pay. Initially, the model is tested with 35 unemployed or underemployed women in order to give them the opportunity to use their free time to look for better employment opportunities and consequently improve their livelihoods.

Hopefully, Emebet's business will grow and many women will use her service and engaged in income-generating activities. “I am happy, I finally got the chance to work with a programme that has similar ambitions to mine. I am very grateful to the LI-WAY project, which shared my challenges and facilitated the pilot intervention”.  She also added, “With the support of LI-WAY, I can confidently say that I will solve the challenges faced by these women through affordable daycare services, creating more free time for them. They will eventually earn a better income and ensure better lives for their families.

If the pilot is successful Emebet plans to offer the childcare service to more users. The project hopes to scale a successful model to other daycare service providers. Learn more about LIWAY project.