3 questions to Véronique Jenn-Treyer
On a mission in Burkina Faso from January 22 to February 8, Véronique Jenn-Treyer, Director of Planète Enfants & Développement, went to meet the women we have trained to be childminders over the past two years.
She tells us about their journeys and perspectives.
What happens to women trained as childcare workers in 2020 and 2021?
Of the 300 women we trained, 250 obtained a certificate recognized by the Burkinabe government. This is already a great source of pride for almost all of them who have obtained their first diploma! This year, our mission is to accompany as many of them as possible in setting up their own daycare center or to help them find a salaried job. About forty women, alone or in groups, have launched a dozen daycare centers. I visited three of them in Pabré, Saaba and Zagtouly, two communes and a neighborhood on the outskirts of Ouagadougou. They welcome between 11 and 22 children each.
What is the initial feedback on the daycares you've visited?
All the childcare providers I met were unanimous: they meet a real need for childcare. One of them told me that a mother managed to get a new job by freeing herself from the care of her baby; that another would like the daycare center to be open on Sundays too. One childcare worker is even thinking about a solution for mothers who work at night in nearby drinking establishments and who, because they cannot afford childcare, have their children sleep at their place of work. I have also met some parents who have reported to me that they leave their children in complete confidence and appreciate this type of service. All this feedback reinforces the need to develop this type of childcare in the country.
And what are the challenges ahead?
While the Pabré daycare center is fortunate enough to be housed in a house made available free of charge by the town hall, this is not the case for the other two centers, which must pay rent. All the expenses added up, the childminders still do not pay themselves a salary (childcare costs amount to 300 FCFA for one day - 0.45€ - or 7,500 FCFA for one month - 11.45€). This is a major challenge for these women who take in children as early as 6:30 a.m. and keep some of them until 6:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. Our partner Entrepreneurs du Monde supports them in managing the budget of their establishment to find the best balance.
We also need to continue to advocate with municipalities to include early childhood development in their annual plans and provide free space for childcare providers, for example.
While I have noted real efforts by the daycare centers to welcome children in good hygienic and safety conditions, they must now improve their activities and equipment to further stimulate the children. We will help them in this sense.
Finally, all these actions must have a small impact! In order to extend the profession in the country, we are looking for training centers, for example, to provide training. And, very importantly, the current law only regulates day care centers that welcome more than 10 children. We are currently working with the Ministry in charge of social action and the family in Burkina Faso to define a legal framework for day care centers. This is a great challenge for the development of children and the emancipation of women, in which PE&D and its partners are proud to play a key role.
> Learn more about the project for the creation of the maternal assistant channel