2017 Young Entrepreneurs Awards Winner: Sabrina Natasha Habib

Initiative: Kidogo

Country of impact: Kenya

A social enterprise building a network of quality, low-cost daycare services to help women get to work, while giving their children the best start in life.

Back in 2012, while working for a non-profit, Sabrina visited an urban slum outside Nairobi. The women accompanying her wanted her to see an informal baby care centre. What struck her first was the smell – of urine and faeces. As she slowly stepped into the dark space, her foot hit something on the floor– she was horrified to discover it was a baby. Despite there being 20 babies there, all awake, there was total silence.

"It could have been me"

Sabrina’s parents were born in East Africa and the experience led Sabrina to think, “it could have been me”. She learned that this US$1/day service was the best childcare option for working mums in urban slums, who needed daycare in order to work. It got her wondering how she could offer a higher-quality service at the same price point.

Empowering 'mamapreneurs'

And so in 2014 Kidogo was born. The project built a ‘hub and spoke’ model – owning and operating best-practice ‘hubs’, which act as centres of excellence for high-quality, play-based early childhood services at less than US$1/day.

The Kidogo team also identify ambitious women running informal, unlicensed daycare services, whom they call ‘mamapreneurs’, and engage them in a two-year social franchising programme. In these ‘spokes’, the mamapreneur gets training, mentorship and tools to help her improve the quality of care, while earning a dignified livelihood.

To date, Kidogo has provided over 1 million hours of quality childcare in Nairobi’s informal settlements. Its ambition is to be the largest network of childcare and preschool services in East Africa by 2025.

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