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SADAQA offers support to daycares reeling under virus impact

By Rana Husseini - Dec 23,2020 - Last updated at Dec 23,2020

SADAQA, a non-profit organisation, in partnership with MADAD Fund for Women, provided immediate support to daycares that have been affected by COVID-19 work halt ( Photo courtesy of SADAQA)

AMMAN — SADAQA, a non-profit organisation, in partnership with MADAD Fund for Women, provided immediate support to daycares that have been affected by COVID-19 work halt. 

The support is intended to help these daycares re-open and remain operational to continue to provide nursery services to children of working families in the area, SADAQA core team member Randa Naffa told The Jordan Times on Monday.

“This support has come as a response to the emergency needs of the daycare sector that presented itself because of COVID-19,” Naffa noted. 

The halt of business during lockdown has “wreaked havoc on the daycare sector, an already weak and disenfranchised sector, and has done irreparable harm to many daycare centres, including employers and caregivers”, she added.

“Supporting the sector will ultimately support working mothers and people with family responsibilities who depend on childcare services to be able to hold on to their jobs and sustain their livelihoods,” Naffa stressed.

SADAQA advocated for an emergency response to the childcare sector through both the government stakeholders and SADAQA’s donor partners, added Sahar Aloul, a core team member at SADAQA.

These entities ultimately responded in reallocating some programmatic funds to direct support for daycares that adhere to a number of standards SADAQA and its partners put in place for offering support,” added Aloul.

“We hope that this kind of support would be expanded and mainstreamed into a governmental mechanism to support the existing daycare sector to sustain daycares services to working mothers and families,” Aloul told The Jordan Times.

“We also hope that this will encourage business owners to comply with Article 72 and establish workplace daycares across Jordan to increase the number of care service providers to women wishing to enter the job markets and to maintain their positions,” Aloul added.

Article 72 of the Labour Law now stipulates that companies with 15 employees with a total of 10 children under the age of five should provide daycare or a suitable alternative.

The entities that were offered direct financial support by SADAQA included 35 daycares in East Amman, Azraq, Ajloun, Jerash and Deir Alla, according to a statement by SADAQA.

These establishments are part of the geographic locations of the project SADAQA is implementing with the support of the European Union, through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis, the EU MADAD Fund, and a consortium led by EuroMed Feminist Initiative, the statement said.

Nancy Bashmag, owner of daycare, also said that “SADAQA is the only organisation, or entity that supported us for that matter as daycare owners in these circumstances to overcome the challenges we are facing due to COVID-19”.

According to the Ministry of Social Development figures, only 450 daycares out of a total of 1,427 nurseries in Jordan were able to reopen after the work suspension ended, the statement said. 

Many remained closed due to their inability to pay piling debts and bills during the lockdown, while others were unable to afford the expenses of compliance with the Social Development Ministry guidelines and requirements for returning to work, including the COVID-19 tests, sanitisation, doctor visits, among others, according to the statement.

Women’s economic participation remains one of Jordan’s main impediments standing at a meek 13.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared with men’s economic participation, which was at 54.3 per cent during the same period. Moreover, women’s unemployment rate was recorded at 24.1 per cent compared with 17.7 per cent for men, according to the statement.

SADAQA, throughout the exceptional circumstance that the labour market is experiencing due to COVID-19, has been advocating for a series of measures to redistribute the unpaid care work load between women, men and the state in general.

SADAQA has issued several policy papers and recommendations to the government to include in “defence orders” and government recovery programmes, namely, to consider the caregiving sector as an “affected sector” that requires providing solutions and support programmes. 

The support, as SADAQA suggests, can come through reallocating amounts in donor-led projects and programmes that have been previously slated to support early childhood programmes, the Social Security Corporation (SSC) and “Hisab Al Khair” to COVID-19 mitigation response action, offering direct support to the caregiving sector, to both owners and caregivers who have been highly impacted. 

SADAQA also called for expediting the approval of the amendments made to Article 42 of the SSC pertaining to allocating support to daycares and working mothers to support enrolling their children in daycares through the Maternity Fund.


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