This article focuses on policy advocacy programmes in Nepal and Nigeria, instigated by ActionAid International with local women’s rights organisations and non-government organisations, and supported by the Institute of Development Studies, UK. These programmes aimed to challenge women’s unequal responsibility for care work and to influence policymakers to understand the importance of providing services to support them. One of the main components of these programmes was child care, a responsibility which most women experience 24/7 for at least two decades of their lives, and which profoundly shapes their lives and opportunities. We examine the processes through which each of the country teams have engaged with public policies on this issue, focusing on the similarities and differences in each context. Although the programme of activities has been implemented in much the same way in both countries, and each chose to focus on early child-care provision as the main policy demand, the partnerships and policy processes chosen differ greatly. Specifically, we distinguish between ‘critical engagement’ (in the case of Nepal), as compared to ‘constructive engagement’ (in the case of Nigeria). The article ends with some reflections on the challenges facing the teams during their work, and the implications and lessons that can be drawn from these two case studies.
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