Kidogo is a social enterprise that provides high-quality, affordable early childhood care and education for families living in Africa’s urban slums.

CEI Plus Status

Program Results Status
Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting

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Kidogo is a social enterprise that provides high-quality, affordable early childhood care and education to support the healthy growth and development of young children living in Africa’s urban slums.

Mothers living in urban slums have to make a difficult decision each day about whether to stay at home with their children or to go to work in order to put food on the table. As a result, their young children (0-5 years old) are often left at home alone, under the care of an older sibling who is pulled from school, or in congested, unsafe, and unsanitary local “baby-care centers” with untrained caregivers. At the same time, UNICEF estimates that 200 million children globally fail to reach their full potential due to lack of sufficient care during the early years, with only 12% of children in Sub-Saharan Africa accessing formal early childhood programs.

Kidogo is piloting an innovative “hub-and-spoke” model to sustainably deliver high-quality early childhood programming to families living in urban informal settlements.  They establish community “hub” centers that serve as best-practice models for early childhood care and education in the informal settlements. These centers offer safe and stimulating physical environments, trained early childhood development (ECD) caregivers from the local community, and a health and nutrition program, as well as an exploratory play-based curriculum using learning stations and child-centered strategies. Kidogo also prides itself on ensuring child development occurs within a culturally appropriate context by actively engaging the broader community, sourcing locally available resources and services, and engaging parents in effective child development practices.

Additionally, Kidogo works to improve the quality of local baby-care “spokes” through a micro-franchising program that delivers training, resources (e.g. curriculum materials, branding support, etc.), and ongoing support to “mama-preneurs” running their own baby-care centers. Their innovative "business-in-a-box" model ensures improved child development throughout the communities served while also empowering local women to start or grow their own child-care micro-enterprises.

In essence, Kidogo has three key functions:

(1) Establishing corporate-owned, community-based ECD centers in Nairobi's informal settlements

(2) Designing a customized curriculum combining global best-practices with local child-rearing techniques

(3) Providing capacity-building to local caregivers and informal child-care and development centers on the principles of ECD


To date, there is no proven, financially sustainable child-care model in Sub-Saharan Africa’s informal settlements. Kidogo combines the sustainability of early childhood development “hubs” with the scalability of micro-franchised “spokes.”Within the informal settlements, there has been a historical model of handouts and free service provision, which initially translates to a reluctance from parents to pay for Kidogo services, which is required for a sustainable program.

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