Balancing Work & Family: A Diaspora Story


When Margaret Githinji realized she was pregnant in 2016, she knew that she needed a change.

As a successful advertising executive, her career was on the fast track. But long days that ran until 3 a.m. (only to return for 8 a.m. meetings) would not cut it with a baby on the way --and especially with a husband in the same industry.

“Having both of us completely zombied would not work for the baby,” she says.

Margaret knew that her next employer would have to be one that understood work-life balance. And having previously worked for four years in Sweden -- a country famous for its social benefits -- Margaret knew exactly what she was looking for by the time she connected with Kenyans Come Home.

“When you work outside of Kenya, companies tend to have a really good work-life balance,” she said. “Especially in sweden, where the benefits are really good.”

Today, she is the marketing and public relations manager at Azuri Technologies, a commercial provider of solar technology. She has helped build the company's marketing department in Kenya from scratch. 
Margaret says that her new employer has been pretty good at recognizing that she is a new mother. A prime example is when her boss allowed her to work from home when she had issues locating a nanny. 

But such allowances are not normal among Kenyan companies, she says. And for returnees used to receiving great benefits abroad, it can be frustrating navigating that balance once they move home. The maternity leave period for new mothers, Margaret points out as an example, is often too short.

Although she is content with her decision to move back, Margaret does wonder how she will manage when she decides to have a second child. 

“I am happy about my decision because home will always be home,” she says. “But the question remains what is changing in this country that would make people stay after they’ve come back?”