Intervention Case

Skills System

Taking deliberate steps to trigger systematic transformation: How Liway helped make childcare a productive employment opportunity for the urban poor

This case study uses process tracing to estimate LIWAY’s impact on formalising and scaling the provision of childcare training in Addis Ababa.

The LIWAY team identified childcare as a dual-impact opportunity to improve the livelihoods of low-income women in Addis Ababa. On one hand, as the primary caregiver, accessible childcare services are necessary for allowing women to join the labour force. On the other hand, it presents an opportunity to create jobs for low-skilled women as caregivers who otherwise have limited opportunities for jobs and income either due to low educational attainment or low availability of jobs and other socio-cultural limitations. Two teams in LIWAY worked in the childcare sector in parallel, the labour team focused on inclusive access to childcare while the skills team’s work, which is the focus of this case study, was on improving the quality and supply of trained childcare workers.

LIWAY’s market analysis of childcare training showed a wide range of supporting functions and rules influencing the performance of the market. There were challenges related to the training provision such as training, teaching, and learning materials (TTLM), trainer capacity, and training facilities, as well as a lack of market-level support functions such as market linkages, information, and partnership and engagement. The team decided to focus on three interrelated constraints that it believed, if addressed, could have the most catalytic set of outcomes for the sector, these are – (1) poor quality of training curriculum; (2) poor connectivity to formal jobs; and (3) limited availability of training providers.

In response to these constraints, LIWAY designed a series of interventions sequentially:

  1. Partnership with NAVE training college to update the nanny training curriculum.
  2. Build partnerships between employment agencies and training providers so that trained nannies have formal access to better-quality jobs.
  3. Advocacy initiative to improve awareness about nanny training and encourage other training providers to offer this course.

The intervention has generated clear benefits for the trainees. 1,286 target beneficiaries have secured jobs following the training, most of whom were unemployed for a long time prior to joining the training. Nannies working in private households earn between 2,500 to 5,000 ETB (45 to 70 USD) and those working in childcare centres earn between 4,500 to 6,000 ETB (80 to 107 USD). LIWAY’s engagement in the sector has also started showing several early signs of systemic transformation, such as:

  • Lead partner NAVE has evolved into becoming an industry leader and change agent.
  • There are eight new training institutes offering the nanny training using training-of-trainer (ToT) and curriculum support from NAVE.
  • Training providers and employment agencies are collaborating to connect trainees to domestic and overseas job markets.
  • Training institutes and employment agencies are jointly testing innovative financing models to make the training accessible to low-income women.
  • There is greater recognition of childcare as a formal profession and demand for the training has increased.

While the growing demand for care workers in the domestic and export markets provided critical stimulus for this intervention, LIWAY’s claim to the results is clear. LIWAY and its lead partner initiated or supported almost all the critical steps in how the market has grown, showing that these are attributable to LIWAY. The nanny training was unrecognised before LIWAY started working on it and brought it to everyone’s attention. There are/were no other programmes working on improving this training other than LIWAY, which means it is unlikely that this change would have happened without LIWAY support.

There is important learning for LIWAY and other MSD programmes in why this intervention has been able to generate these results:

  • Skilling needs to be market driven.
  • Building a bridge with employers is key to ensuring skilling leads to jobs.
  • MSD programmes need to be vigilant about the market to remain relevant and grow.
  • Crowding in rarely happens fortuitously, it needs deliberate effort.
  • MSD programmes should ‘Empower’, not ‘Indulge’ partners.
  • Cross-pollination within a programme can be an asset.

Nearly three years into the implementation, the childcare training market looks vastly different from what it was before. There is greater demand for the training, a greater number of training providers, a greater degree of partnerships and collaborations in the sector, and employees securing better-paid jobs, thus proving the viability of the model. However, it is still early days, so the programme will continue to evaluate how the market is evolving and how the partners adapt their activities to respond to market needs. But most importantly, in the coming months, LIWAY will continue to deepen its understanding of the impact, assess the viability of the revenue model, and improve quality assurance of the training to improve overall resilience of the model and ensure the programme’s impact can continue to multiply over time.