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How the Amplify Team Prepared for the Zero to Five Challenge

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We're thrilled to be launching our second Amplify Challenge this week. Over the next three months, individuals and organizations from around the world will work together to design new and innovative solutions to support children's physical, mental and social development. 

As with any design challenge, asking the right question is incredibly important, so the Amplify team has been hard at work over the past couple months laying the groundwork for our second challenge. As we put the challenge out into the world in search of new and innovative solutions, we thought we'd give you – the OpenIDEO community – a quick look into what has been going on behind the scenes to prepare. 


After choosing early childhood development as the general focus for our second challenge, it was time to get more specific. In an effort to explore the challenges and opportunities that exist within this topic, we held a convening of subject-matter experts, non profits, social enterprises, designers and innovators in Arusha, Tanzania.

At the day-long workshop facilitated by designers, participants used the human-centered design process to share information and unearth insights about giving children the best possible start in life. Several themes emerged throughout the day, but none more strongly than the crucial role of parents and primary caregivers in children's early years. This convening – and the experts who attended – helped to shape our final challenge question and its focus on parents. 


Like you, the Amplify team started this challenge with research. As designers, we're not experts in early childhood development, so in order to start this challenge off on the right foot, we needed to get out there. 

In an effort to understand the challenges facing parents and children in low-income communities and where there might be opportunities for design, we conducted human-centered design research in Tanzania and Ethiopia. We met with families in their homes, visited organizations and medical clinics, spoke with local leaders and observed the day-to-day rhythm of both rural and urban communities. This research helped our team understand what Missions we need in the Research phase to lay the groundwork for this challenge. Head on over to the challenge to add research of your own. 


The OpenIDEO community is a vibrant hub of innovative thinkers, designers, makers and students, all connected by the desire to design a better world. Until now, though, that community has been composed exclusively of individuals with access to the internet. 

For this challenge, we know that many of the individuals in the communities that we are designing for lack reliable access to the internet – and in many cases the literacy skills to participate on the platform. In our first Amplify challenge, we prototyped the use of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology and community radio programming to bring these communities without internet access into the conversation. In our second challenge, we're piloting a more robust IVR system in rural India and throughout Tanzania that will allow parents in those communities to lend their insights and experience to the challenge. 

Now that you know what went into preparing for it, head on over to the Zero to Five Challenge and join the conversation! All children deserve a chance at the best possible start in life, and we'd love your help making that vision a reality.
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