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Lily | Founder - Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre

The Charity

Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre
Kibera, Nairobi

Little Rock is an Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Development Centre is dedicated to providing a nurturing environment for vulnerable and disabled children in the Kibera Slum in Nairobi, Kenya. Little Rock was founded on the belief that all children, no matter what their social and economic background is, are capable of dreaming and achieving great things in life, if properly nurtured. 

Little Rock Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre

Women in Development

Lily Name
Founding Director

Can you briefly describe your current role, perhaps a typical day?

I oversee the running of Little Rock and attending meetings on behalf of the organisation.
Is it common for a woman in Kenya to start up or run a development organisation? As a woman did you find it easier to relate to the needs of your beneficiaries – the children and their parents/carers? 

There are not very many women running development organisations. It was easy to relate to the beneficiaries, because I did a survey in the neighbouring schools to get the statistics of drop out levels, and reasons why children had dropped out. I also did door to door interviews with the children in the Kibera, Nairobi, and asked why they were not in school.

What challenges did you face when starting Little Rock? 

The main challenges are finding funds for running the programs, a lack of support from the Government, the high number of needy cases who live below poverty line here in Kenya, and the lack of equipment. As well, of course, as the disabilities of the children. Gender is also a challenge - people are not confident that an African woman can run a programme successfully. 

What would you say are the benefits you’ve experienced working in the development sector?

The biggest benefit is seeing the end product who are the beneficiaries of the development, in our case children. Seeing children being able to go through early childhood education is our benefit.
A job in the development sector can often mean more modest salary and sometimes a change in lifestyle. Do you think this is easier for a woman to adjust to these changes?

Yes. In Kenya, there is a saying that when the woman is empowered, the nation will prosper.

What are the main issues facing women in Kenya and the developing world?  

Lack of forums which empower the women to tackle their issues, for example in education, and health. I don't think that development programmes are adequately addressing these issues yet - we must work harder.
Who or what has been the greatest influence/inspiration on your career in development?

Seeing and achieving academic excellence in the children’s performance has been my greatest inspiration, and knowing the difference we are making in the children we are serving.
What advice would you give to other women considering starting a career in the field?

They should be ready to work hard to achieve the best results. Anyone interested in starting this kind of career must also be committed. Good management skills are a must, and you should be open to the diversity of all team you are working with.