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Frequently Asked

What is Home Based Childcare?

Home based childcare (HBCC) is a form of non-parental care that takes place within the home of either the child or the provider, as opposed to a centre or school. Paid and unpaid forms of HBCC are widely used by families for many reasons including affordability, cultural relevance and accessibility. For example, in Kenya it is estimated that HBCC is used by 60-80% of all families, especially those of lower income.

What is NurtureFirst?

NurtureFirst (formerly the Home-based Child Care Initiative) is a global funder and capacity builder that works to build and improve “systems” that support home based childcare providers globally. “Systems” that we work to influence include, but are not limited to, instituting and changing policies, improving local and global practices that support providers, and increasing recognition, funding and resources for them.

NurtureFirst is hosted by the Early Childhood Development Action Network (ECDAN) in partnership with the Global Development Incubator (GDI).

What is “systems” change?

Systems change means to confront root causes of issues (rather than symptoms) by transforming structures, mindsets, power dynamics and policies. This is often done by strengthening collective power and actively collaborating with diverse people and organisations.

Why was NurtureFirst established?

NurtureFirst, established in 2022, is a response to the gap in support structures for HBCC providers (who form the majority of childcare workers in most countries). This gap was revealed in a global study conducted by Spring Impact - the report confirmed that despite the prevalence of HBCC providers, they operate with limited support and inadequate financial resources. The study recommended increasing investments for support programs for HBCC providers, creating a global learning community to spark innovative models and developing standards on quality for home-based childcare settings.

What is NurtureFirst’s vision, mission and objectives?

We envision a world in which all children through the first three years of their lives have the care they need to thrive, families have access to affordable, quality childcare options that enable them to work and childcare providers are adequately compensated and supported for their work

Our mission is to build responsive, coherent and financially sustainable systems that support home based childcare providers to deliver quality services to children and families.

To achieve our vision and mission, we are working towards the following outcomes:
  • HBCC providers have the information and support they need to deliver high-quality, culturally relevant childcare aligned to proven standards
  • HBCC providers are accessing government resources synergistically, including in areas of health, education, nutrition, and financing
  • HBCC providers are connected to & leveraging Civil Society Organization (CSO) services at County and National levels
  • HBCC providers can access and adopt sustainable funding models
  • Families have information and can access quality, affordable, equitable HBCC providers serving all children (including those with special needs) across geographies

Why focus on HBCC providers?

Based on research, home-based childcare is a preferred childcare option for many parents, especially in low-income countries, due to its accessibility, cultural relevance and affordability. HBCC providers are a critical workforce that are currently under-supported and under-resourced. We are centering our work on home-based childcare providers because…

  • They are the bulk of childcare providers serving most of our children, but are not formally recognized and are operating with limited resources
  • They are a workforce that already exists at scale, and can be optimized if the environment is enabling
  • HBCC providers are connected to & leveraging Civil Society Organization (CSO) services at County and Nationallevels
  • They hold the key to positive child development outcomes that will bring us closer to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality and education

Home-based childcare providers around the world are seen as informal workers, however are subsidizing a public service that is at the center of countries’ development - without home-based childcare, many parents would be unable to work and earn income, contributing to cycles of poverty for families and societies. The urgent need to focus on the benefits of high-quality home-based childcare cannot be underestimated.

Does NurtureFirst offer direct support to HBCC providers?

NurtureFirst does not offer direct support to HBCC providers. Instead, we are a systems catalyst, working with governments, funders, NGOs and commercial partners to create an enabling environment for HBCC providers.

Where is NurtureFirst implemented in 2023?

NurtureFirst is implementing system-change learning interventions in three counties in Kenya: Murang’a, Mombasa and Kisumu. The learning interventions began in October 2023 and will run until December 2024. We have plans to expand to Rwanda and India in 2024.

What are examples of system-change initiatives that NurtureFirst is implementing?

NurtureFirst is working towards facilitating the recognition of HBCC providers as a critical Early Childhood Development (ECD) public workforce in Kenya, as they play a key role in improving gender equality and child development outcomes. When governments, NGOs, funders and communities formally acknowledge the existence and impact of HBCC providers in society, it will drive an increase of policies, budgets and services that support quality childcare in home settings. To work towards this goal of recognition, NurtureFirst is:

  • Advocating for the recognition of providers as a critical workforce that is providing a public service that contributes to improvements in human capital investment
  • Mobilizing HBCC providers to enable them to advocate with their governments for greater support
  • Supporting the financing models for HBCC providers by creating costing frameworks and working with diverse stakeholders to unlock resources that will enable providers to earn a living wage from their work.

How can we partner with NurtureFirst?

We are always looking to partner with people and organizations who are passionate about the HBCC sector. Please contact the Executive Director, Lucy Minayo: if you are interested in partnering or learning more.