Kidogo has been named a top 10 finalist for the Klaus J. Jacobs Best Practice Prizes 2022, a set of three awards each worth CHF 200,000 ($208,000) that honor outstanding achievement and practice in advancing quality education. Kidogo, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, was set up to tackle Kenya’s childcare crisis, which has a lifelong impact on children’s physical and mental health, educational performance in school and subsequent employment prospects.
Kidogo provides practical help to mothers living in Kenya’s informal settlements (where over 60% of the urban population lives) who face the difficult decision on where to leave their children aged up to five years when they go out to work. They often leave their children in the hands of young siblings pulled out of school, or that of an informal daycare that is often unlicensed and unsanitary with untrained caregivers. This does more harm than good, subjecting children to poor nutrition and hygiene, neglect and even abuse, that reduces their lifelong developmental potential during their most important early years.
Micro-businesses run by ‘Mamapreneurs’
Kidogo solves this problem by using an innovative social franchising approach to identify, train and support female entrepreneurs, known as ‘Mamapreneurs’, to grow their own early childhood education micro-businesses. Kidogo’s network of Mamapreneurs provides quality childcare and early childhood services in their local communities for an affordable fee, and each daycare is profitable and self-sustaining. This enables children to receive quality early childhood education during their essential first five years of life, when 90% of brain development occurs.
Over eight years, Kidogo has become the largest childcare network in Kenya with 538 franchised Kidogo Mamapreneurs serving around 11,000 children. Each direct impact on a child has an indirect multiplier effect of three (improved household impact on mothers and older siblings). Kidogo’s holistic approach, including nutrition interventions, has led to a 32% reduction in wasting and 23% reduction in stunting in one year. 80% of children in Kidogo’s centers are developmentally on track and Kidogo has shifted the conversation: parents and early childhood workers now believe children begin learning at birth, not when they enter formal schooling.
The three recipients of this year’s Best Practice Prizes will be announced at a ceremony in Zurich on 30 September 2022. For the first time, the 10 finalists will convene for a co-creation event, taking place on 1 October 2022. They will exchange knowledge and ideas on advancing learning, and will have the opportunity to partner with other shortlisted applicants to develop proposals for new projects. Two concepts will receive follow-on funding of up to CHF 150,000 ($156,000) each.