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Empowering women through provision of quality childcare services


Women’s participation in the labour market is an important vehicle for increased gender equality and economic empowerment. One of the key challenges for women in Kenya, as in many low- and middle-income countries, is inadequate childcare support. Women spend triple the amount of time on unpaid care work compared to men, further contributing to wage inequality and lower productivity. Lack of childcare support compounds women’s disadvantage and further exposes them to economic vulnerabilities. COVID-19 has exacerbated this situation. Finding innovative solutions to this barrier is a key ingredient to achieving many of the Sustainable Development Goals.

While there is growing evidence that affordable childcare boosts the participation of poor working mothers in paid employment, little is known about what models are effective and scalable in low-income contexts. This project will be carried out in Nakuru County in Kenya and will assess the potential of a "hub & spoke” model of early childhood development as a scalable model for enhancing the economic outcomes of women in low-income communities. It will establish one hub and 20 spokes, with an embedded knowledge platform to generate insights on program effectiveness and scalability. It will actively engage key stakeholders both at the county and national levels throughout the project cycle to ensure findings from the research inform government policies for building back better in the COVID-19 recovery efforts.

This project is supported under the Growth and Economic Opportunities for Women (GrOW) East Africa initiative, jointly funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and IDRC. GrOW East Africa seeks to spur transformative change to advance gender equality in the world of work.

Project ID
Project Status
30 months
IDRC Officer
Paul Okwi
Total Funding
CA$ 684,000.00
Institution Country
Project Leader
Patricia Kitsao-Wekulo
African Population and Health Research Centre