Serene Haven Public Daycare Project

What we Do

Reducing the disproportionate drudgery of unpaid care work on women and girls through Collaborative Action on Child Care

Serene Haven recognises women and girls disproportionately contribute to unpaid care work, particularly childcare. This is a major drawback to the achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. Early childcare is an intense 24-hour activity that reduces the mobility of mothers, making it difficult for them to engage in their daily income generation and social welfare activities to improve their wellbeing. Many working mothers are unable to return back to work after childbirth. The problem is even more compounded when school-going adolescents get pregnant. Most end up dropping out of school to take care of the infants. This leads to feminisation of illiteracy, ignorance and ultimately poverty.

Serene Haven has pioneered in employing infant and baby daycare centres to empower girls and women and eliminate unpaid care work. The organisation runs the Serene Haven Rescue Centre and school for vulnerable teenage mothers in need of care and protection. The boarding school is the first in the world with an in-house daycare to admit school- going adolescent mothers and their babies. The infants receive care and supervision in the daycare while their mothers attend classes. The school offers remedial teaching to teenage mothers in their last trimester and first few post-natal months after which the babies are left under the care of babysitters in the Serene daycare centre while their mothers rejoin public school. The program has helped hundreds of out of school teen mums rejoin school.

Building on our experiences, we have designed an innovative and ambitious infant and baby care program that is aimed to harness energies, competencies to work with all stakeholders in eliminating unpaid care work. We are convinced that well- equipped daycare centres domiciled in the already existing public ECDE centres would provide a safe and stimulating space for new mothers to leave their babies and return to school and work. It is for this reason that the organisation seeks to equip, start and supervise the running of 151 daycare centres in the 151 villages in which we have operations. The daycare centres will be in Nyeri, Laikipia, Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties. The project will also be used to provide learning agenda for policy advocacy for innovation, collaboration, diversification and financing of baby and infant care.