Kidogo is a social franchise that helps low-income communities in Kenya break intergenerational poverty and supports women’s economic opportunities through quality, affordable early childcare centers. Kidogo uses a franchise model to train and support women in running childcare centers, helping them learn business skills and become entrepreneurs, which Kidogo calls “Mamapreneurs.” In addition to uplifting the women who run them, the childcare centers help women in informal Kenyan settlements return to the workforce knowing that they have a safe and affordable place to leave their children. Kidogo also aims to improve children’s long-term learning and nutrition to ensure their success in the future. Kidogo charges a low franchising fee of $5 to $15 USD per month and relies on donations to sustain its operations.
Theory of Change
Providing quality childcare and economic opportunities for women helps build equality and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.
Women who join the Kidogo program go through a three-month training during which they are taught skills to support them in running their childcare business, ranging from early childhood development to financial literacy. To help childcare centers succeed, Kidogo provides crucial business skills and resources, such as cash flow documentation and analysis for care providers. Kidogo also provides a starter kit that includes mentorship, resources, and ongoing quality assurance to childcare centers so that female entrepreneurs are able to provide quality care for young children. As a result of the high quality services and business practices offered through Kidogo, Mamapreneurs increase their profits by $50‒$80 USD per month. To improve child nutrition and development, Kidogo integrates nutrition programs and systems to monitor children’s growth and has partnered with the Kenyan government to support its initiatives on child nutrition and growth.
Since its inception, Kidogo has supported over 800 female entrepreneurs, provided over 5,000 hours of training and mentorship visits, and franchised more than 530 childcare centers across Kenya. In its efforts to promote children’s well being and learning, Kidogo has helped decrease stunting rates by 7%, increase executive functioning by 9%, increase emotion regulation by 45%, and place 98% of Kidogo children in the top 5 in their class upon joining Primary school. In 2022 alone, Kidogo worked with over 18,000 children and their families and added over 260 new franchises. Within a year, Mamapreneurs are more than doubling their revenue by improving their business practices and quality, which, in turn, attracts more clients. In addition to providing services that help women return to the workforce, Kidogo has worked closely with the First Lady of Kenya and the government to promote women’s economic empowerment and child health and learning. In 2021, Kidogo signed an MOU with the government of Kenya to provide childcare to mothers in vocational training centers. Through its advocacy campaign, Kidogo also helped the Kenyan government pass the Children’s Act, which abolishes corporal punishment for children. Kidogo has also partnered with companies in East Africa to provide on-site or near-site childcare for employees in factories, offices, and plantations.