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Sabrina Natasha Habib awarded The Prince of Wales Prize for 2017

London - Sabrina and projects from seven other finalists receive financial and tailored mentoring support from Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards winner Sabrina Natasha Habib

Unilever and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership announce Sabrina Natasha Habib, of Kidogo, as the winner of the fourth HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize.

Kidogo provides high quality childcare for less than a dollar a day in the urban slums of Kenya. Using its network of ‘mamapreneurs’ Kidago provides training, mentorship and finance tools to improve the lives of women and ensure high quality care for children.

Sabrina Premji, CEO Kidogo said:"I'm thrilled to have won the Young Entrepreneurs Award! The work we're doing at Kidogo helps young children get the best start to life, it helps women have peace of mind knowing that their children are in good hands and it helps businesses who see less absenteeism, better productivity and are able to attract and retain female talent. We're really excited about expanding our impact across East Africa through a partnership with Unilever."

The Awards support and celebrate inspirational young people from all over the world who have initiatives, products or services that are tackling some of the planet’s biggest sustainability challenges.

Unilever CEO, Paul Polman said: “The finalists in this year’s awards have all demonstrated their passion and determination to create new ideas and new business models for the changing world. I am more convinced than ever that helping young people, and in particular, social entrepreneurs is the right thing to do. With strong mentoring and a helping hand, there is no limit to what young people with purpose can achieve”.

Dame Polly Courtice, Director of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership said: “I am always inspired and encouraged by the young entrepreneurs that these awards attract. Tomorrow’s challenges will need leaders with different mindsets and approaches to that which created today’s economies and societies. These young social entrepreneurs have precisely the mindsets, values and energy that we need from our future leaders and deserve our full support and encouragement to take their ideas to scale.”

This year, 1,339 entrepreneurs from 128 countries entered the competition, with the finalists sharing €100,000, along with tailored one-to-one mentoring sessions for 12 months provided by experts from Unilever and the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

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About Kidogo

2017 Young Entrepreneurs Awards: 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.

Find out more about Kidogo:

About University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) (Opens in a new window) brings together business, government and academia to find solutions to critical sustainability challenges. Capitalising on the world-class, multidisciplinary strengths of the University of Cambridge, we deepen leaders’ insight and understanding through our executive programs; build deep, strategic engagement with leadership companies; and create opportunities for collaborative enquiry and action through our business platforms.

About Ashoka

Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries. For thirty years, Ashoka have supported social entrepreneurs with solutions that address society’s most pressing issues. Ashoka’s vision is a world in which everyone is a Changemaker - a society that responds quickly and effectively to social challenges, and where each individual has the freedom, confidence and societal support to address any social problem.

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