A New Brand of Women Entrepreneurs

Helping women in informal settlements control their own financial futures

Kidogo is a social enterprise dedicated to providing high-quality childcare and livelihoods for vulnerable women in Nairobi’s urban slums. In the Women’s Safety Challenge, Kidogo identified that one major barrier to women’s safety and empowerment is a lack of income they control themselves. 

Kidogo reasoned that it could put women on the road to financial independence by starting their own childcare businesses. And not only would these small childcare franchises benefit the women running them, but in creating safe places for all kids to get care, other mothers could seek work outside of the slum, knowing their children would be safe.

In February 2015, a team of Amplify designers joined Kidogo in Nairobi to explore the motivations, challenges, and aspirations of the women they deem to be prospective childcare providers.

Kidogo is empowering women to start their own childcare businesses.

Kidogo has run several prototypes and been recognized with awards from Grand Challenges Canada, Pearson, and Echoing Green.

Over the course of our research, it became clear that effectively caring for kids wasn’t the key barrier for women. Instead, it was a lack of business skills that was keeping women from attracting clients and running a stable enterprise. 

Armed with these insights, Kidogo and IDEO​.org developed a set of tools to support women in marketing their businesses, collecting payments, increasing the standard of care in their daycare centers, and managing costs.

The IDEO.org team's design research revealed that the biggest barrier to women starting childcare franchises was a lack of business skills.

Since 2015, Kidogo has introduced several aids designed to help women run their childcare centers. They include tools for cashflow documentation and analysis for care providers, a rotational system for enhanced teaching materials, and a chance to sell child-friendly products through the network. Kidogo’s work has been recognized by Grand Challenges Canada, Pearson, and Echoing Green, among others. Now, a pilot group of five women are currently running in-home childcare franchises using Kidogo’s tools in one of Nairobi’s informal settlements.

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