Having a baby is perhaps life’s greatest gift and a feeling one will always cherish. If not for economic limitations human beings will probably have no restrictions to the number of children they wish to have. This limitation over the years have been increasingly burdensome considering that women now constitute a larger portion of the working public and having to work 9-5 and if not longer, like their male counterparts. This huge responsibility can be quite emotionally wrenching when it is juxtaposed with baby sitting.
In the US most women mitigate this issue by opting to work from home or bring their children to work provided they have a space for babies to be taken care of. But this is by far a less adoptive strategy, especially in Nigeria, as many organisations will not accept it and even if management wants to is limited by the provision of the mostly archaic staff code. The alternative is to send the child to a creche or get a Nanny/Baby sitter at home. Unfortunately both alternatives are expensive to run and often bereft with its own unique controversies.
That brings me to the alternative of Setting up a Creche through a cooperative. A cooperative could be staff of an organisation coming together to set up one or even a Church or a group within a church. It could also be a group of men and/or women who are friends or family with a common economic objective. I remember when I had my first kid, my wife and I would always take her to a local creche in Ikoyi that was run by Union Bank. It was close to her office and was very convenient for us especially whenever the Nanny was away.
The logic is simple and easy to implement provided people are willing to see it through. By pulling resources together to start a creche some of the following advantages are obtainable;
1. Parents Can be more at ease with the running of the Creche as they own it and have a say in its operations
2. Parents are c0-owners of the Creche and as such will have the added incentive required to make it is a success
3. It is also another source of investment for the parents. Rather then spend money owning another Creche they can consider their cash as an investment
4. The Church or Organisation hosting the Creche can count this as part of its welfare responsibilities which in turn help boost religious participation and employee loyalty respectively.
5. Early investors in the Creche can continue to derive benefit of being a part of it even after their kids have long graduated.
6. It provides a sense of satisfaction and peace of mind for parents who have a lot of distrust for professional baby sitters or creche’s who only see profit maximisation is the number one objective
7. Proximity is almost rest assured as most the creche will be located at either parents place of work or at a worship centre which is typically closer to home