To mark International Women’s Day 2019 Chiku Lweno, our Strategic Partnerships & Advocacy Manager based in our office in Tanzania discusses the steps Children in Crossfire are taking to promote the creation of a fair and equal world for women.
While researching for this blog, I thought I would start by finding out about the history of this day. A striking fact is that International Women’s Day, which began in 1909, was originally called International Working Women’s Day!
At Children in Crossfire we celebrate women’s rights to earn an income, however, as early childhood development advocates, we are also very aware of the dilemma and sacrifices that working mothers of young children have to make. “Who should I leave my child with?” “Will my child be safe for the 8- 10 hours that I am away?” These are some questions we noted from interviews with working mothers of Tandale and Manzese which are high density, low-income neighbourhoods in Dar es Salaam.
Due to inadequate quality childcare facilities, some mothers resort to leaving their young children in the care of other children, elderly family members or even neighbours. In the same neighbourhood there a few informal daycare centres responding to this need, at an average fee of 10,000-20,000 TSH (approximately £3-6) per month. One amazing example of true compassion this very significant day is of ‘Teacher Emma’ who runs a daycare centre in Tandale. Teacher Emma says she feels like she is providing a much-needed service to her community rather than seeing it as a business because “many parents cannot afford to pay the fees and those who do are not able to pay on time”, (Emma cares for the children regardless of when payment is received)
Teacher Emma’s story is a fitting tribute to the theme for International Women’s Day (8 March) this year, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, as it puts innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality. Through a special refresher training for early childhood education facilitators conducted by Children in Crossfire in December 2018, Emma was able to develop her skills to enhance her teaching programme in the daycare centre. Already she has started to transform her classroom with low-cost made teaching aids.
Through its country programme in Tanzania Children in Crossfire innovatively promotes provision of quality early childhood care at community level, family and government pre-primary classrooms.
Happy International Women’s Day!