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Gender-sensitive ’kindergarten’ policy improves beans and chickpeas in Ethiopia

Photo by: Ministério do Desenvolvimiento Social – MDS via flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

A kindergarten for children of female employees of the Agricultural Commodity Supplies (ACOS) factory in Ethiopia, is helping boost the productivity of the workers of the factory. This, in turn, leads to an efficient and profitable value chain for common beans and chickpeas.

ACOS grain exporters are one of the main stakeholders aggregating and processing common beans and chickpeas in the Adama area of the Great Rift Valley region of Ethiopia.  The factory, with a processing capacity of 40,000 tons/month is a major employer in the region. Women workers, many who have young children to care for, form a critical part of the factory’s workforce.

It was observed that while they were at work, the workers were constantly worried about the safety, comfort and care of their children.  The factory management was recording low levels of productivity from these women, because of the clash between their child-care needs and their focus on bean and chickpea sorting work. To address this issue, the factory management came up with an innovative solution that was responsive to the women’s needs in the context they were in.

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How a gender-sensitive ’kindergarten’ policy has boosted beans and chickpeas in Ethiopia