Providing affordable, safe daycares for preschool children in Nairobi's slums Background
In 2013, ICA launched a self-financed social enterprise, Tiny Totos, with the objective of working with existing slum-based daycare managers to improve their ability to to provide affordable, stimulating and safe services to preschool children. Our goal is to establish a country-wide franchise of Tiny Totos daycares that are recognized as providing the best services available for lower-income urban working mothers and their children, to influence policy formulation where a vacuum of neglect currently presides, and to provide foundations for a better future for the children in Tiny Toto centres' care.
In Nairobi's slums, children live in desperate conditions, walking a fragile path to an uncertain future. 70% of families are headed by single mothers who work daily in menial jobs to support their families. With no formal daycares or even policy in Kenya, mothers have few options: leave their children with neighbours, with unregulated and often neglectful informal daycare providers, or lock them up alone at home. Without adequate supervision, slum children can be hurt, burnt, raped, killed, or at best, neglected. Daycare managers wanting to provide better services lack investment or management capacity to do so.
We are working with existing, informal, but value-driven and committed slum-based entrepreneurs to help them provide affordable, safe, professional childcare services. Working in partnership with existing daycare ventures, we will set standards for slum daycares through a combination of training, investment and grants.
In late 2014 Tiny Totos was awarded a $100,000 USD grant from Grand Challenges Canada to support our work over the next 18 months. Grand Challenges' support through its Stars in Global Health stream is allowing us to expand the number of daycares we are partnering with from 2 to 8, and increase the range of support we can provide them in terms of equipment, investment and training. With Grand Challenges' vital and much appreciated support, we look forward to testing and refining our model of business intervention and improvement over the course of 2015.