Narta Neziri Nuka is a young mother of a 9-month baby girl. In a few weeks, Narta’s maternity leave ends and she goes back to work. Like many other women in Kosovo who find themselves this situation, Narta was faced with the child care options available to her. She had to make a decision, which proved to be not so easy.
According to a survey on demand, supply and options for childcare availability in Kosovo, conducted in 2016 by Kosovo Women’s Network, only an estimated 15.5% of Kosovo children use childcare. Public care services currently in place are insufficient to meet the demand, especially in the capital city, Prishtina. On the other hand, reliance on family members providing unpaid care services is prevalent.
It may sound mundane but with the changing social dynamics, demand for quality childcare service in Kosovo is increasing. Paired with high unemployment rate among women, estimated at 36.6%, and even higher percentage of women who are economically inactive, the childcare services provided by the private sector, become a huge opportunity for employment.
To tackle the issue from both ends: equip women and men with skills to help them find jobs as childcare providers, and by these services save women’s time on reproductive tasks thus increasing their productive role, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Kosovo, through the Promoting Private Sector Employment project, partnered with the Women’s Business Association SHE-ERA to deliver a specialized training program for care services, including childcare.
92 people, of whom 2 men, have now graduated the program. They are the future childcare providers to be hired by families or educational institutions. These trained childcare providers put skills essential to bringing up children to the benefit of all, working alongside parents, families, and other members of the community. With their services, they will help free up the time of women otherwise spent in unpaid care work, thereby enabling these women to get paid work outside of their homes. This is a contribution to women’s economic empowerment.
When Narta heard about the training program by SHE-ERA, she decided to hire one of the newly graduated childcare providers. “I like the fact that this service provides security, and trained providers” she said. Narta interviewed several candidates but she knew right away that Besarta was the right one for her baby. Besarta Berisha, currently studying for her master’s degree in sociology of education, is happy with the new job. In October 2017 Besarta signed the employment contract. Both are about to embark on a new journey, each in the professional paths they have chosen.
After all, innovation is not just about codes and app development; it is rather about introducing a new product or service that provides a solution to needs and demands out there.