Your Details

Your job title:

CEO / Founder

Your organization name:

Tiny Totos Kenya

When was your organization founded?


In what city, town, or region are you located?

Nairobi, Kenya

In what city, town, or region is your organization headquartered?

Nairobi, Kenya

In which countries does your organization currently operate?

  • Kenya
About You

Why are you applying for The Elevate Prize?

Quality, affordable childcare gives mothers and children a fair start in light.  Poor childcare undermines them.  We see this in Africa, where mothers and children's potential is stunted every day by the lack quality childcare, diminishing prospects for children, families and societies alike.  In 2020, the urban advantage has been flipped on its head.  Children in Kenya's slums have the worst health indicators in the country, suffering more deaths, malnutrition, stunting and disease than urban affluent or rural children.  Women in slums earn the least of all citizens, and are the worst educated, with 80% working in the informal economy.  

Life got even harder for Africa's women and children in 2020.  Despite the threat of COVID, single mother with children have no choice but to go work and earn what they can to feed their families.  With no state supported childcare, these mothers rely on women-run informal daycares to provide childcare.  Though unregulated and substandard, Nairobi's 4,000 micro daycares are the only childcare services available.

If we win Elevate, we will use funds to digitize, disseminate and scale our proven, profitable childcare business accelerator, so no women or child's life's potential is undermined because of poor quality childcare.

Tell us about YOU:

I'm here because I’m a working mother of 3, Skoll Skollar in Social Entrepreneurship with an Oxford business degree who can afford great childcare, allowing me to build Tiny Totos knowing my girls are well cared for. I am also mother of a 4th daughter born prematurely after I jeopardized my pregnancy because of work, who died in a hospital in Africa that was ill-equipped to save her.  This traumatizing experience left me wracked with guilt that I had put my daughter's life at risk by prioritizing work.  But over time, guilt and grief were displaced by empathy for other mothers who don’t have the choice to choose their children’s safety over work, and who face the daily heartbreak of having to leave their children in substandard daycares in order to put food on the table.  Slum daycares are often no better than glorified bus stops, places children are known to drown in buckets, wander away from, get electrocuted in.  As mothers, we want the best for our children. My vision for Tiny Totos is that we can enable all mothers to work and earn to their full potential with peace of mind, thanks to safe, affordable, reliable childcare.


Video Introduction

Pitch your organization.

The market failure Tiny Totos is looking to solve is the absence of affordable, reliable and standardized childcare that lower-income mothers in lower income communities can rely on to go to work.  We believe that by unleashing the entrepreneurship potential of the informal market, this problem can be solved.  The childcare market failure and vacuum of supply is currently solved by informal babysitters, women with the least prospects of formal employment and typically the worst education, who decide to be childcare givers not by vocation, but by default.   They do this primarily to earn a living, but their income is so fragile - reflecting the poverty of service provided - that the vicious circle of underpayment for underperformance locks them, the women whose children they look after and children themselves in a seemingly inescapable cycle of poverty.

What Tiny Totos does is aggregate and upgrade daycares in the informal market, through a platform business approach.  We dignify babysitters not as beneficiaries needing charity, but businesswomen needing capital, technology, network and knowledge to upgrade and diversify their standards of service.  When they do, they earn more, mothers enjoy quality childcare, and children can look forward to bright futures of their own.

Describe what makes your work innovative.

Our innovation is to innovate what others overlook - substandard but widespread childcare that speaks strongly to supply and demand.  We transform struggling informal babysitters into upgraded, standardized childcare entrepreneurs delivering quality, affordable, sustainable standards of childcare. By giving informal babysitters the tools they need to transform services, we create a cost-effective, market- and community-based solution to the childcare crisis.

The core elements of our model consist of:

1. Tailored training to upscale informal childcare businesses – Tiny Totos' ‘business in a box,’ delivered in person and digitally.  

2. Building an engaged community of users so members themselves can drive replication and scale - via peer meetings, whatsapp groups, by phone and radio.  We are building a complimentary online community and portal to house all digitized learning materials. 

3. Harmonized, instant field data and continuous M&E. As we scale, we need CRM systems to track field data and maintain quality and user engagement. We have built a phone app for managers to track clients and revenues, and are expanding digital functionality. 

4. Broader livelihood benefits. We finance and sell aligned products (fortified porridge, clean cookstoves, smartphones) giving mothers more reasons to attend daycares, while building network stickiness, reach and impact.

How and why is your organization having an impact on humanity?

Our 6 years’ experience in building a market-based, scaleable, model has shown that we can transform the informal childcare childcare market with tailored business support, network and access to capital to yield locally-embedded, self-sustaining upgraded childcare services.  Our goal is to build a market-based model that leaves the benefits of improved standards and return from elevated childcare in the hands of users and suppliers, and builds sustainability and earned revenue prospects from the childcare member network at scale that we have built.  While this transformation will not happen overnight, and will need grant capital to build the systems and reach the scale, our network already has proven its ability to attract private sector partnerships able to generate revenue to support costs of our childcare network.

  In terms of headline achievements so far, these include:

- 100 member businesses

- 10,000 children benefitting from elevated childcare service to date, with 89% displaying improved development indicators and 74% meeting health milestones - higher than national standards

- Increase in revenue 158% for partners; 208% increase for those selling meals

-  Unique, user-focused customized tech tools, intervention, branding materials

- Finalist, 2020, UN Equals in Tech; Finalist, 2020 EEP Project of the Year

Select the key characteristics of the community your organization is impacting.

  • Women & Girls
  • Infants
  • Children & Adolescents
  • Rural
  • Urban
  • Poor
  • Low-Income

Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your organization address?

  • 1. No Poverty
  • 2. Zero Hunger
  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 4. Quality Education
  • 5. Gender Equality
  • 6. Clean Water and Sanitation
  • 7. Affordable and Clean Energy
  • 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • 10. Reduced Inequality
  • 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities

Which of the following categories best describes your work?

Economic Opportunity & Livelihoods

Solution Team

  • Emma Caddy Founder, CEO, Tiny Totos
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