Founded in 2014, Kidogo is a rapidly growing non-profit social enterprise with a mission to unlock the potential of young children in East Africa’s low-income communities through quality, affordable, early childhood care & education. The science is precise: 90% of brain development occurs in the first five years of life, with the most critical gains seen in the first thousand days of life. And yet, most young children in the earliest years (0-3 years old) are left in undesirable conditions, particularly in urban informal settlements (slums), when mothers need to work. This leads to children entering school with poor developmental outcomes (health, cognitive, socio-emotional) and being locked in the poverty cycle.
Kidogo ensures that young children, regardless of where they are born, can reach their full potential. We translate global research & best practices into fun and engaging activities for babies and toddlers that can be implemented at scale in community childcare settings. Using an innovative social-franchising model, we equip women (“Mamapreneurs”) with the knowledge, skills and tools to start or grow thriving childcare micro-businesses serving their local community. Kidogo is currently the leading childcare network in Kenya, with over 500 childcare centres directly transforming the lives of nearly 11,000 young children in 32 communities in 7 counties. We are currently testing a partnerships model, where we extend the franchise model in collaboration with actors such as employers or local government.
The Kidogo Family is a fun, passionate, driven group of over 80 young (and young at heart) professionals reinventing the childcare system to unlock the potential of young children. As a rapidly growing organisation, we have doubled our reach yearly. But as we look to the future, we have ambitions to scale much larger, both within Kenya and across East Africa, and to reach 100,000+ children with high-quality early care & education!
About the Role
The Country Director's role is crucial and urgent to Kidogo’s growth. This role will help shape our operational model to deliver our impact in a lean way that will allow us to scale exponentially. You will be responsible for building systems and culture to drive scale, ensure we create and flawlessly execute plans and continue to grow Kidogo across Kenya and into new markets.
You will report directly to and work in close partnership with our CEO and Founder, who leads overall strategy, fundraising and global partnerships. In charge of all Kenya operations, you will manage and support the Management Team in Kenya, including Programs, Finance & Admin, and M&E, with overall accountability for achieving ambitious goals in Kenya.
Success in your role will mean building a roadmap to scale, translating the vision into action-oriented work plans, and ensuring strong execution across the board. Suppose you’re a passionate, driven leader looking for a new adventure and to create an extraordinary impact in the lives of children & families. In that case, this is the perfect opportunity for you!
Your responsibilities will include
Lead Strategic Planning efforts and Manage our growth
● Contribute to annual and long-term strategic planning efforts.
● Identifying & driving critical strategic and operational adaptations to our operating model to match and enable our ambitious growth plans.
● Provide thought partnership to the CEO & board around strategic decisions, partnerships, operations etc.
● Contribute to East Africa expansion plans & strategies for the future.
Build the Systems and Culture necessary to make the strategic vision come to life operationally
● Spearhead intentional experimentation and prototyping culture align with our 2022 theme “Intentional Learning at Scale”. This includes overseeing the creation of prototypes, setting the intention and goals for each and tracking progress and learning with the teams.
● Build and maintain systems and processes to support our franchising model, including rapid quality improvement, training & mentoring, and quality assurance at scale.
● Shaping team’s routines, norms and culture to enable significant growth and scale, e.g. communication, decision making, etc.
Overseeing all Kenya operations
● Ensuring creation and tracking of departmental work plans and budgets.
● Working closely with all departments and teams, supporting them in working towards meeting their goal.
● Strengthening organisational controls & communication to ensure efficiency & effectiveness.
● Closely supporting the Partnerships team to solidify and execute child care collaborations with partners (e.g. government, employers, etc).
Coaching and developing the management team & organisation as a whole
● Help build the capacity of the Management Team by providing coaching, regular feedback, and rigorous performance management.
● Support professional development through organizing team training/offsites, mentoring high potential talent, and creating a pipeline of future leaders.
● Bring your own skills and experience to bear, particularly in regards to articulating what it takes to scale a service organisation such as this one.
Who we are looking for
● You are passionate about creating social impact.
● You have been involved in designing or refining an efficient operational model for scale.
● You have at least five years of experience in senior management positions and have been involved in organizations at the tipping point of scaling.
● You have considerable experience working with low-income communities in Kenya, preferably in the urban informal settlements.
● You have previous experience managing a dynamic team, with a track record of helping people ● achieve ambitious goals.
● You have the solid financial acumen to ensure adequate resource allocation and efficiency, including budgeting, negotiating with suppliers, and financial management.
● You have strong past results in creating and implementing processes, the ability to influence adoption in the team and iterating based on what you’re learning.
● Preferably, you have some previous experience leading prototyping, lean testing, and human-centred design type work to drive learning (or are excited to learn these techniques).
● You are a leader with a passion for transforming bold ideas into actionable strategies and relish the challenge of applying a range of approaches to answer complex questions.
● You can draw upon your network of social impact organisations and professionals to support Kidogo’s mission & vision.
You will fit in well with the Kidogo Family, if you are:
● A natural leader: You inspire your teammates to stretch themselves, challenge their assumptions and constantly improve through direct mentorship, and serve as an example. You create a sense of mutual accountability, inspire action and follow up effectively to ensure momentum.
● Fiercely compassionate: You exercise empathy and treat all people with respect and dignity. You combine the urgency of getting things done while appreciating the complexities of working in informal urban settlements.
● Visualize the path to the goal: You are highly strategic. You understand how decisions get made; you can take in multiple inputs simultaneously, make decisions with imperfect information and chart a path forward for your team. You stay focused on the most important things, not getting lost in the noise.
● Adaptable / Agile: You have a willingness to learn and adapt. You are comfortable revisiting and refining aspects of a program and iterating based on lessons learned during the development lifecycle.
● Intra-preneurial: You see solutions, not challenges. You have a gritty, experimental spirit and actively find opportunities to reach our goals in more effective ways by exercising creative resourcefulness.
● Doer: You are efficient, organised and use your time effectively. You can juggle many projects of varying urgency and importance simultaneously and can prioritise effectively. You seamlessly balance both urgent short-term tasks with larger long-term projects.
● Wear multiple hats: You can see problems from different perspectives and can balance competing demands (i.e., sustainability and quality). You are also comfortable juggling detailed tasks one minute and more significant strategic questions the next.
The role is based in Nairobi (office in Kilimani), with occasional travel to our expansion counties (Mombasa, Kisumu). We will agree on a six-month probation period with mutually agreed-upon performance and learning objectives.
Shortlist (www.shortlist.net) is our exclusive recruitment partner for this role. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is closed, though early applications are strongly encouraged. If you believe you meet the attributes and skills above, please send a brief email with your updated CV or LinkedIn profile to:
Partner & Co-Founder