Interventions: This study will evaluate two interventions, 1) subsidized daycare and 2) subsidized daycare plus quality improvements, using two treatment arms and one comparison group.
Intervention 1: Subsidized Daycare
The costs of formal daycare can be prohibitively costly to mothers with low earning potential, such as women living in the informal settlement areas of Nairobi. Subsidizing daycare could lower this barrier to economic engagement and encourage mothers with young children to enter the labor force or work longer hours, thereby increasing their household’s total income. Such support may be particularly beneficial to disadvantaged women such as single mothers and recent immigrants who are expected to have the least social support in helping with their childcare. Women in this arm of our study will receive a full year of vouchers for free daycare services at selected local facilities. Participating daycares will also receive modest monthly cash transfers to compensate them for the additional monitoring and help them accommodate a possible increase in their number of enrolled pupils.
Intervention 2: Subsidized Daycare at Improve Daycare Facilities
Given the low quality of some daycare centers in the informal settlements, some mothers may be reluctant to place their children in daycares regardless of the costs. To test whether the availability of affordable and high-quality daycares increase women’s engagement with the workforce, we provide quality improvements to half of the daycares we are subsidizing. These quality improvements include the training of all childcare providers in each selected center using an adapted program used by the Aga Khan Foundation, which is based on UNICEF/WHO’s Care for Child Development (C4CD) model, an Early Childhood Development (ECD) intervention. The C4CD intervention provides information and recommendations for cognitive stimulation and social support to young children, through sensitive and responsive caregiver-child interactions. The C4CD package guides health workers, caregivers, counsellors, and parents to build stronger relationships with their children, solve problems in caring for their children, and learn how to be sensitive and respond to the needs of the children. Childcare providers will also receive training on nutrition, child security, toy development, hygiene, sanitation, adequate sleep, and record keeping. The training will be covered in 5 full-days (after 2 days of a needs assessment pre-visit by the master trainers). Refresher training would also be offered half way through the intervention period. Two District Centres for Early Childhood Education (DICECE) officers will also be assigned to Korogocho area to check in and reinforce the learnings with caregivers through daycare visits, and act as the go between our project and the county government. Daycares in the quality arm will also receive material supplies in the form of mattresses, potties, padlocks (to increase security), and materials to build portable hand washing stations, toys, and teaching tools