CECDI’s goal is to improve the quality of life of children 0-8 with special needs (orphans and vulnerable children most affected by poverty and disease) in Kyuso District, Eastern Kenya.
The project is premised on the fact that indigenous knowledge and practices occupy an integral position in child care ecology and therefore should be strengthened by fusing modern and traditional methods in strengthening the child care environment. The strategy of building on indigenous community structures and empowering communities had an apparent surge of inclusive engagement in response to early childhood development needs and child protection. This brought about a sense of community pride at their achievements; evidenced with the completion of 17 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Community Child Care.
WEMIHS implementation strategy focuses on empowering the ultra-poor households by bridging the gap in the provision of care and support for children under five by establishing community managed child centres that provide integrated care and support services for children under five. Significant progress was made in responding to greater access to the most essential services for early childhood development in the targeted marginalized communities mainly through the delivery of essential maternal and child health care services, skill transfer training and mentorship, mobilization of community partnership and resources in response to early childhood development needs such as stimulated early childhood learning and child protection, referrals and linking services and opportunities.
Cumulatively, the project achieved over 70% improvement from the baseline in all the 4 result indicators i.e.; coverage on immunization, increased uptake of family planning and reproductive health services and greater access to HIV testing and counselling. Training in good agricultural practices focusing on drought resistant crops and on nutrition using locally available foods such as sorghum, resulted in improved household food security and more nutritious meals for children.
Cumulatively, the project achieved over 70% improvement from the baseline in all the 4 result indicators i.e.; coverage on immunization, increased uptake of family planning and reproductive health services and greater access to HIV testing and counselling.
Apparent is evidence of changing gender roles as well as some cultural practices with regard to child care at both the household and community levels. Whereas child rearing was traditionally a woman’s role, men are now more involved and share in child care and rearing responsibilities. Additionally, an unprecedented number of women have taken up leadership and decision making roles as demonstrated by the 85% of the community groups now being led by women drawn from the most vulnerable households. Engagement in economic empowerment activities have significantly increased women’s access to saving and loans facilities thus leading to improved mechanisms of coping with poverty and famine. WEMIHS’ investment in strategic partnerships and collaboration with key actors at the sub-county level was crucial in ensuring accessible and efficient service delivery as well as generating increased demand for services in this marginalized community.