Multi-stakeholder dialogue on childcare economy in Lebanon - ESCWA
22-23 June 2022
Workshop

Multi-stakeholder dialogue on childcare economy in Lebanon

Location
  • Beirut, Lebanon
Contact information
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The National Commission for Lebanese Women, in partnership with ESCWA, UN Women, the World Bank and the Arab Institute of Women at the Lebanese American University is organizing a national multi-stakeholder dialogue on childcare Economy.

The meeting aims to develop a national strategic vision on women's economic empowerment and childcare economy that would serve as roadmap to frame efforts in this field. The topics being discussed cover care-related national legal and policy frameworks; knowledge and data to advance care economy and policies; capacity-building and training to advance care economy; and investments in care economy.

The sessions bring together representatives of the National Commission for Lebanese Women, relevant ministries and high commissions, international non-governmental organizationsnon-governmental organizations, international organizations, syndicates and donors.

Outcome document

  • The importance of perceiving childcare as a standalone sector requires an approach that balances the child's need for protection and care and women's choice to actively participate in the economy.
  • Strengthening the concept of childcare in ministries is a priority to integrate the sector related issues into national plans and strategies.
  • Advancing childcare sector necessitates coordination among all stakeholders including services providers in private and public sectors, relevant ministries, and local associations to improve the standards of available services, avoid duplication and build on the existing efforts.
  • Advancing childcare care services and policies requires interventions at various policies and strategies levels to set and monitor the standards related to the services, frame and regulate all available childcare services, regulate the work environment in the sector, introduce needed changes in the social protection programmes to account for unpaid childcare as well as to ensure that needed capacities are made available.

Throughout the dialogue, representatives from various ministries, agencies and organizations emphasized on the importance of developing an advanced legislative arsenal that may help to improve women's economic participation through solutions and measures related to childcare namely maternity, paternity and parental leave, breastfeeding, flexible work arrangements as well as addressing unpaid care work under social protection and legally framing the services provided at homes. The interventions stressed the importance of accompanying laws with implementing and enforcement decrees.

In addition to the importance of legal reforms, the interventions stressed the need to build the capacities of women and men and raise their awareness on the social roles and childcare. Cultural beliefs remain a significant challenge for a large number of participants in addition to the misconception of the care role assigned to women, and the lack of considering motherhood as a social function. The interventions also stressed the importance of benefiting from best practices, especially the experiences of the private sector in providing good quality services.

The discussions highlighted the lack of university specializations related to childcare and the need to expand the educational programmes to include caring for children under three years old.

Participants highlighted the importance of exchanging information and experience among relevant ministries and authorities on the available services and the necessity of collecting data required to the regulation of the childcare sector.

The role of media in disseminating information and raising awareness about the available services was underlined. Similarly, the role of non-governmental organizations that provide childcare services in the coordination processes was also addressed.

The session was devoted to the capacity building and training required to enhance the childcare sector in Lebanon and presented the related efforts exerted by various stakeholders.

Participants discussed the challenges related to strengthening and retaining the capacities and resources in the childcare sector and highlighted the need to frame and regulate the work in this sector through orders and syndicates as well as collective contracts as in the education sector. Participants stressed also the importance of having clarity on the mandates in what relates to the zero to three years care.

 

 

The session addressed the issue of investment, due to its importance in developing the childcare sector in Lebanon particularly in light of the on-going financial challenges faced by both the public and private sectors.

Several suggestions emerged from this session, including the importance of improving the quality in the public sector and supporting private nurseries to continue their work, through several measures, including:

  • Providing subsidized loans for nurseries 
  • Securing basic infrastructure (electricity and internet, for example) Incentive measures such as exemption from taxes and fees
  • Enhancing the role for municipalities through direct interventions or financial support for nurseries and the implementation of child-friendly budgets.
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