Building the first holistic children’s center in Ethiopia

We are on the journey to build a holistic children’s center in Ethiopia. The first of its kind; the child care, child health and training center aims to improve the nutritional status, the health and the early childhood development of children under five in marginalized urban-poor communities. While our pilot project will be in Ethiopia’s capital -Addis Ababa- we aim to build similar centers throughout Ethiopia within 6 years.

Fact 1: A well-nourished child has higher chances of growing up to be a responsible adult. You are what you eat, right?

Fact 2: Lower-income families have limited access to basic human needs including being able to provide nutritious food for their children

Fact 3: Commonly families in these communities also incur the socio-economic burden of being a one-income household.

What problems are we solving? Our center aims to pilot a sustainable and scalable model of a unique integrated service that offers:

  • The opportunity for all children to have access to nutritious food
  • Quality early childhood development programs
  • Support marginalized mothers by offering health care to their offsprings
  • Capacity development training and tools provided for the mothers
  • A child care program enabling these marginalized mothers to work thus securing their economic integration, empowerment, and contribution to the households’ income.

We were able to secure 450 m2 of land located inside a health center in Nifas Silk Lafto Sub-City (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia) donated to us by local authorities. Our center will host:

  • a child care wing focusing on early Childhood Development using the Montessori program
  • a health care wing with dedicated pediatric care, malnutrition treatment area, growth monitoring and breastfeeding corner
  • a fully integrated training area open for all community members to come and learn about nutrition, health, breastfeeding and gender issues
  • a kitchen and dining wing where nutritious meals will be cooked daily for the children and cooking classes focused on child nutrition will be given to parents.

Are we sustainable? To foster the community’s sense of ownership and secure sustainability the center will receive monthly contributions of USD 7 from beneficiaries that can afford it. For the beneficiaries that cannot afford this amount, the center offers in-kind contributions from them that also feeds into our sustainability plan. The center is able to provide mothers with the luxury of time to work. Fact 4: in Ethiopia, the average child care sector – with no focus on nutrition or with a platform for capacity development – charges USD100/month.