This profile is part of a series that captures how Root Capital’s Gender Equity Grants are transforming the lives of rural women. Read more here.
“If I am not able to stay home with my baby because I must work, then I have to leave him with someone else,” says Rachel Gathoni. “If the sitter had somewhere else to go then she [might] even just leave the children to roam.”
Unfortunately for Rachel, the community surrounding The Village Nut Company—where she has worked as a sorter since 2014—had no childcare facilities. At 14 months, one of her sons was developmentally delayed, unable to walk on his own. The stress and care burden caused Rachel to miss 8-10 days of work per year. Until, that is, her employer used a Gender Equity Grant from Root Capital to construct and staff an on-site daycare for the children of working mothers.
Rachel was one of the first to enroll her youngest child in the program. “Now we are mentally ok; we are comfortable,” she says. When her youngest son entered the daycare, he was not yet walking. Staff worked one-on-one with him, using plastic chairs to help stabilize him as he learned to move—and a month later he was walking on his own. “He can even play-fight with the other kids!” He is also learning to count and sing songs. “If we were at home,” Rachel says, “we wouldn’t have time to work on all that.”
Now that her son is well taken care of and near enough that she can communicate easily with those providing his care, Rachel says she barely misses any work days. As a young mother, this is a blessing. As she puts it: “The daycare center means I have peace of mind that my child is being looked after.”
Starting in 2016, Root Capital partnered with Value for Women to help three Kenyan businesses design projects to improve their inclusion of women and enhance workers’ quality of life. Read more about the project here.