In 2014 Emma Caddy (OS 1990) founded Tiny Totos, a Kenyan registered social enterprise that provides elevated, affordable and standardised preschool care for children and working mothers in slums. Today, Tiny Totos supports 60 centres for thousands of children and families in Nairobi. Emma has an MBA with Distinction from Oxford’s Said Business School where she was a Skoll Scholar in Social Entrepreneurship. 

Like many places in the world, Kenya is in lockdown with a disproportionate impact on the poor and deep concerns as to how children and families living in the slums will cope. 80% of the workforce in Kenya is employed in the informal economy and the majority of our families have no savings or social support networks to fall back on. In Nairobi, where 2 million people live in crowded settlements, we have to find practical measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus.

We are currently repurposing our strategy - of transforming the lower-income childcare market - to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 on the communities we work with, while many daycares are closed and families forced to stay at home.

The coronavirus crisis has forced us to think creatively about how, like most community-focused social enterprises worldwide, we can still deliver business and learning support in practical and impactful way, despite social distancing norms. Our core activities include improving access to health and hygiene such as hand washing stations in every daycare, nutritional support with food donations, and information and guidance on child education, mental well-being and general tips on how to navigate Covid-19.

We have provided take home play packs and digital guidance content delivered via WhatsApp for the children in our network; advice, counselling and support to managers and parents alike such as a 24 hour free hotline, text tips and home visits by community health volunteers equipped with full personal protection equipment. We are collaborating with the Nairobi City Council to ensure accurate information is available to communities framed in ways they can understand.

As we adapt our model to a more tech-based approach, we are taking the opportunity to understand the extent to which technology can replicate discontinued face-to-face activities such as leadership coaching and mental support.

You can find out more about our Covid-19 response here