Planete Enfants & Developpement (PE&D), an international child protection NGO based in Cambodia since 1984, has opened its first three Community-based Childcare Centres (CBCC) in Kampong Speu province’s Samrong Tong district to serve children of garment factory workers up to the age of three.

In a June 10 press statement, PE&D said the CBCCs were designed for child safety and equipped with adapted materials and toys to create a stimulating environment for them. The services are open six days a week to adapt to the parents’ work schedules.

So far, four CBCCs have been built and five locations for new centres have been identified. The project plans to open 14 CBCCs near the garment workers’ homes.

It said that since May 3, a total of 34 babies and toddlers have been enrolled for care. They are now slowly becoming familiar with their new environment, meeting their caregivers, discovering new toys and enjoying delicious and nutritious meals freshly prepared by CBCC cooks.

To ensure a high quality of care and the safety of the children, CBCC staffers are trained for three weeks by the team at PE&D on various subjects such as child protection and development, space management, care routines, first aid, cooking and so on.

“Quality early childhood care is key for the future of the children and their wellbeing” said PE&D country director Stephanie Selle. “I am so proud to contribute to this new service in Cambodia and grateful to the parents for their confidence”.

According to PE&D, the CBCC project is funded by the Japan Social Development Fund, administered by the World Bank and implemented by PE&D. It works closely with the government and the commune officials in charge of oversight of daycares.

CBCC is set up to provide high quality, affordable and sustainable childcare services for the children of garment workers. It enables parents, especially mothers, to have the opportunity to work and earn an income even when they have young children.

The Ministry of Health had previously encouraged state and private institutions across the country to establish breastfeeding rooms and child care centres.

Ministry secretary of state Prak Sophorneary said recently that establishing breastfeeding rooms and child care centres at workplaces would enable workers – especially women – to maintain their regular work schedules and reduce their concerns about caring for their children.