Kidogo Kidogo means “little by little” in Swahili. Kim and Kristen Waeber created their company, Kidogo Kidogo, with the aim to help lift the financial barrier that prevents women in Tanzania from having access to mobile-technology.
In Tanzania only 36% of women own mobile phones.With a world that is more connected than ever before, Kidogo Kidogo is working to ensure that the women who are leading families, founding businesses, and building thriving communities across Tanzania are also connected. When you buy a case, Kidogo Kidogo buys a phone (or phone credits) to give to a woman who could not otherwise afford it.
Kim recently reached out to me about Kidogo Kidogo and their mission. I loved their cases, their meaning, and wanted to share it with you! These cases are the perfect accessory for summer!
I had a chance to ask Kim some questions about Kidogo Kidogo, see what she had to say:
1. Why did you start Kidogo Kidogo? And what inspired you?
The idea for Kidogo Kidogo actually came from my sister Kristen. Having spent a lot of time working in the telecommunications sector in the developing world, she knew a lot about the value that a mobile phone played in people’s lives. After having read a report by the GSMA called Women & Mobile a Global Opportunity, she learned that women in Africa were 23% less likely than men to own a mobile phone and that the main barrier to ownership was the cost of a handset. When she called me with the idea to get people in the U.S. to contribute to buying women in Africa mobile phones by purchasing iPhone cases, I loved it and Kidogo Kidogo was born.
2. What has been the response of customers as well as women in Tanzania?
The support we have seen has been really inspiring. Our close friends and family were all very supportive of the idea as we worked on it for about a year before any cases were sold. People really have been responding well to the idea and it has been really reassuring to see all the e-mails coming in from people who have heard of us and have suggestions or want to let us know of other organizations we can reach out to. The women who have received these phones have been thrilled. These are women who own businesses and have families. They are hard workers who know the difference a phone can make in their lives. Being located in some rural parts of Tanzania, they now have access to mobile money accounts, access to market information for crops, they can now order items from suppliers versus walk to the fields to buy products, so they are saving time which can be applied to other aspects of their businesses. These phones also provide a way for them to talk to their families who may not be located close to them. They are always beyond appreciative.
3. Where do you see Kidogo Kidogo going in the next couple years?
We would love to see Kidogo Kidogo keep expanding. Both in the countries we reach women in and the number of iPhone case styles and designs we offer. We are even thinking of branching into other types of cases for phones other than iPhones. Another important thing for us is to help the development community to understand better the impacts of mobile phones. We are committed to having an impact assessment done to see how these phones are really impacting these women’s lives.
4.What has been the most challenging and rewarding experiences during this journey?
Surprisingly, I think the most challenging part of this whole experience has been communicating to people why a mobile phone is so important in these women’s lives. When people ask us, we sometimes jokingly respond they should try not using their phone for a day and then they will have the answer. Phones these days in our lives have almost become part of us. On an almost daily basis, I use my phone as my alarm clock, to listen to my music, to keep track of my money, to stay in touch with my friends and family, and to stay entertained. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live, a mobile phone improves your life. The most rewarding part has undoubtedly been delivering these phones. Hearing the women’s stories and goals are wonderful, and knowing that we are helping them to have something that was so aspirational is great. It’s what keeps the long days worth it!
I hope you join me to help Kidogo Kidogo and buy your phone case today!
Interview with Kim Waeber and information from kidogokidogo.com