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Equity essentials: child care, healthcare, food & water

Action and insight as communities and partners respond to the pandemic.

Child care programs across the U.S. are barely hanging on, according to a new report by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). With providers in crisis mode, their future hinges on whether public assistance or emergency support is coming. WKKF grantee NAEYC surveyed child care providers in every state to understand challenges and amplify their voices. Provider insights are the basis for State-by-State Look: How Child Care Programs are Hanging On Until Help Comes, which features an interactive map and the state-specific findings showing the catastrophic nature of the current situation.

As working parents try to balance full-time employment and full-time parenting amid COVID-19 shutdowns, WKKF grantee the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) has been a leading partner for child care providers. NWLC’s Shana Bartley spoke at length with reporters at PBS NewsHour about the ways that child care providers—and caregivers more broadly—have been undervalued for too long. As she explains, “We have not understood and appreciated what care work is in our society, what it means for our economy and what it means for our future. This is the workforce behind the workforce. They power the economy.”

Long before the pandemic exposed economic and employment inequities, Southwest Creations Collaborative and Partnership for Community Action were laying a foundation for a new $20 million alternative economic development model to support local talent.  The South Valley Social Enterprise Center, a public-private partnership that will bring construction other permanent, living wage jobs to the heart of Albuquerque’s South Valley, is needed now more than ever. The center will house textile/manufacturing, office space and an engagement hub where families from across the region can engage in adult education, youth mentorship, childcare and job training programs for entrepreneurs.  

On the Navajo Nation, Duane “Chili” Yazzie, Shiprock, New Mexico Chapter President and WKKF Community Leadership Network Class Two fellow and others are using social media to address inequities and revive traditional farming as they combat the pandemic. A centuries-old part of Native American livelihoods, traditional framing practices are becoming food sovereignty farming practices new generations can access through video. Through continued efforts to restore water infrastructure inequities and provide clean running water, they are also restoring their traditional food systems during the pandemic avoiding driving hours to get food.

As Haiti grantee Build Health International (BHI) puts the finishing touches on a COVID-19 treatment center at Partner in Health’s University Hospital of Mirebalais, BHI personnel continue to share what they’ve learned with journalists and in their own articles. After BHI co-founder Jim Ansara was interviewed in a WCVB-TV feature about the organization, BHI posted two articles on Medium: one about the urgency of recognizing the human right to water, and another on lessons from building emergency infrastructure in Haiti.

In Mexico, Aristegui Noticias ran a story about a study of how the pandemic is affecting child and adolescent workers in Chiapas. Grantee Melel Xojobal conducted the study with two other organizations, analyzing the responses of 129 mostly Indigenous young people to questions ranging from how they spend their time to their worries to what they want from the government.

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