The National Development Plan published by the government in February 2013 states in its eight point plan, of direct and indirect measures to attack poverty:
• Introduce a nutrition programme for pregnant women and young children and extend early childhood development services for children under five.
We are hard at work ensuring The Early Care Foundation’s 5 year strategy supports the NDP, while continuing to address the specific needs of the communities in which we work and specifically that of the 0-5 year olds. The Early Care Foundation’s Enterprise Development Incubation Programme is a good example.
Companies direct their Enterprise Development spend to The Early Care Foundation’s programme which takes owners and staff of informal creches through a three-year process of training, resource provision and mentoring. This year will see 35 of these home-based creches complete their incubation process.
By the end of the year the staff qualifications, the centre’s daily programme and administration will all be compliant with requirements of the Child Care Act. This achieved, they are able to run their centres as sustainable small businesses which provide an on-going service for the pre-school children in the area.
A further 12 centres have been signed on and we have a waiting list of crèche owners ready to join once funding becomes available. The success of this programme is that it brings more women into the economy while providing for the needs of the local pre-school children.