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Talking Stickers: Creating an Educational & Linguistic Bridge for Haitian Immigrants to Improve Economic & Cultural Opportunities in Chile

Using customized digital ‘Talking Stickers’ to help Haitian children & families prosper educationally, linguistically & culturally in Chile.

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional insights gathered from Beneficiary Feedback in this field

Draw & Describe Idea User
Ideal user is Haitian student aged 4 to 9-like the child in the above picture. Secondary beneficiaries are other children of the same age, from the other 18 nationalities who study at Chile’s most multi-cultural school, Liceo Miguel De Cervares School. Pictures on this page were taken on July 3, 2018. The school is keen to use TS to promote inter-cultural understanding between its culturally diverse student body.

Why does the target community define this problem as urgent and/or a priority? How is the idea leveraging and empowering community assets to help create an environment for success? (1000 characters)

The immigration experts I spoke with note Chile has never had a major immigrant population that does not speak Spanish. Government is concerned with how to help Haitians learn Spanish & better understand Chile so they can have better opportunities.

To address challenges it’s critical to foster partnerships with orgs working with Haitians. In this stage, my focus has been working with these orgs to better understand how TS can be used to help Haitians. I am better understanding how to bring TS to as many people as possible, by leveraging the power & expertise of community assets. I have met with & gained support/insights from Fundación Soñadores, Fundación Limit-less & Fundación Fré. I have been introduced to Chile’s school that has the greatest % of immigrants. Here, with their teachers & psychologist, I tested TS to understand how we can use TS as a bridge to create cultural understanding between Haitian children and the 18 other nationalities attending this school.

How does the idea fit within the larger ecosystem that surrounds it? Urgent needs are usually a symptom of a larger issue that rests within multiple interrelated symptoms - share what you know about the context surrounding the problem you are aiming to solve. (500 characters)

I see 3 key drivers to the surge of Haitian immigrants in Chile: 1. Recent change in US immigration policy greatly limiting Haitian immigration; 2. Chile’s formerly lax immigration policies combined with its robust economy/job market make it attractive; 3. Haiti has extreme poverty. 59% live below national poverty line (US $2.41/day), another 24% live in extreme poverty < $1.23/day. The October 2016, Hurricane Matthew impacts to Haiti only added to Haiti’s challenges (World Bank 2018).

How does the idea affect or change the fundamental nature of the larger ecosystem that surrounds it (as described above) in a new and/or far-reaching way? (500 characters)

TS's short term benefits are kids/parents will have an effective tool to bring them together & learn Spanish-impact in weeks. Over school year, TS will show benefits to children by increasing their exposure to high quality vocabulary from parents/educators to greatly improve academic performance, social integration-supporting Peace & Prosperity. TS enables educators to create custom content to create low-cost, high impact innovative education. Jpal is confirmed implementation/valuation partner.

What will be different within the target community as a result of implementing the idea? What is the scope and scale of that difference? How long will it take to see that difference and how will it be sustained beyond BridgeBuilder support? (500 characters)

By working with partners we max the people we reach & minimize costs. Our pilot school has 1,600, 80% immigrants (1,280), we can reach ~1/5=320. In the 2 foundations we plan to pilot TS we could reach 250 children/month/foundation-500 children/month + parents = ~1,200/month, more funds=we reach children. TS leading to improved Spanish occurs in weeks, improved academic performance verifiable in <1 school year. Once benefits verified, ~$2–$5/month/child fee will make TS financially sustainable.

How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

I always planned to leverage relationships with foundations working with Haitians. However, I had also planned to try and do some informal TS testing with Haitian children. I approached Haitians in the street and tried to inquire if they might be interested in TS. I soon realized that many Haitian’s had too great of a language gap to work with, without the support of someone who speaks Creole & Spanish. This motivated me to speak with [ http://somosfre.cl ]. They told me they can connect me with women who are ex-teachers form Haiti. If funded we will hire ex-teachers to lead our TS projects.

Also, the school I tested TS at has Chile's >% of immigrants, ~1280 of 1600 are immigrants. School is excited to both help Haitian children, but also to test how TS can be used to bridge understanding across the 19 nationalities-especially helping Haitian/Latino integration. Jpal has confirmed they will be implementation/validation partner for validating impact on our beneficiaries.

What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years? (You can attach a timeline or GANTT chart in place of a written plan, if desired.) (1000 characters)

*Identify & refine beneficiaries in Chile-currently doing, finish by Oct.
*Make partnerships with foundations supporting beneficiaries. Now developing relations with Foundations: Soñadores, Fré & Limitless. Soñadores plans to introduce us to Servicio Jesuita [http://www.sjmchile.org]. One of Chile's largest foundations focused on helping immigrants-a key benefit they offer is Spanish classes.
*Find Haitian's who are ex-teachers to implement TS programs in school & foundations. Start in Oct–Nov.
*Market TS programs at foundations/school(s) start Oct-if funded.
*Jpal just confirmed they will lead implementation/validation of this TS project. Official start in October-9 to 30 months depending on project size/funding.
*Promote project to media to showcase TS impact-during program implementation.
*Seek corporate (Claro interested)/gov sponsorship to reduce costs/support project long-term to create entrepreneurial opportunity for beneficiary population to promote TS to immigrants.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of roles and responsibilities for each entity). (Feel free to share an organizational chart or visual description of your team). (500 characters)

TS provides its app/services

LMDC school offers TS to students

Fundación Soñadores (FS), plans to introduce us to Servico Jesuita a Migrantes (SJM) www.sjmchile.org. SJM sees ~250 immigrants/day

Jpal is confirmed implementation/validation partner.

Fundación Fré (FF) focus is Haitians. FF has said they will help connect us with Haitian women who are ex-teachers who can deliver TS. With funds, 1 Haitian teacher between LMDC & if FF approves @ FF. Also, 1 teacher @ SJM IF they approve

What aspects of the idea would potential BridgeBuilder funds primarily support? (500 characters)

-Subsidize TS costs ~$2 to $5/month/child-depending on quantity
-Startup costs, training, customer service
-Pay wages for Haitian teachers to do TS at 1 school & 2 Foundations http://somosfre.cl/ interested & POTENTIALLY at Jesuit Foundation [ http://www.sjmchile.org ]
-Buy tablets for TS programs (~150 tablets) & 100 basic smartphones for for single mothers/marginalized TS users.
-Expert advisors from foundations/academia
-Funds for confirmed Implementation/validation partner-Jpal

In preparation for our Expert Feedback Phase: What are three unanswered questions or challenges that you could use support on in your project? These questions will be answered directly by experts matched specifically to your idea and needs.

1. Our initial proposal is strongly focused on benefiting Haitians. We are still dedicated to keeping the focus on Haitians, however, in our outreach with immigration experts and the school we tested with, we realize there are many other immigrants who could also benefit from TS. Our question is, considering the above, would it be detrimental to our proposal if we considered broadening our beneficiaries to other marginalized immigrants, ages 3 to 8, especially children who likely are at risk of falling behind academically due to unstable/challenging conditions?
Note, we would still keep our outreach at foundations strongly focused on Haitians but at Liceo Miguel de Cervares School, with its 80% immigrant population from 19 nations, we see value in using the app to bridge understanding and knowledge between the culturally diverse student body.

2. I have met with Institutional Relations and Sustainability management at Claro Chile and they are potentially interested in supporting our project if project is funded. Claro is a major Latin America TELCO and could be a good partner to scale out Talking Stickers into other regions of Latin America. If Claro becomes officially interested in supporting TS and wanted to test/pilot Talking Stickers with another group of beneficiaries, do you know any Latin American children (outside Chile), aged 3-9 years old who are highly marginalized and in need of early education support to help them succeed in their studies? Does Bridge Builder Challenge have any concerns if Claro provides additional funding, or other forms of support to this Bridge Builder Challenge? If so, we will not involve Claro with this proposal.

3. If we are able to successfully test and validate a TS project with a school + 2 foundations and we reach ~1,500 beneficiaries and it's proven to provide major benefits, how could we get government to support a much larger TS pilot to get TS into schools/other institutions? Insights for scaling out into LATAM?

Final Updates (*Please do not complete until we reach the Improve Phase*): How has the idea evolved or responded to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase and any further insights provided if you participated in the Expert Feedback Phase? (1000 characters)

On July 11, 2018 I met with Institutional Relations and Sustainability manager at Claro Chile (a Pan Latin American TELCO). They are interested in learning more about TS and considering how they potentially could support Talking Stickers. A partnership with Claro could help get us significantly reduced prices on tablets and/or refurbished smartphones to share with children in schools and foundations. We will formally explore Claro support if awarded funding.
As noted in our Letter of Support, immigrations experts in Chile are developing an app, Migrapp, to help bring together immigrants and those helping immigrants-we are keen to better understand how this app could be used to support/promote TS so we can more efficiently connect Talking Stickers to beneficiaries.

After piloting TS with schools and foundations & creating awareness/demand for TS, we are interested in working with social enterprise, algramo.com, to find stores who could distribute TS to our beneficiaries.

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

Our expert advisor, Matthias Scheffelmeir provided an interesting idea. He suggested that if we work with a large organization, like a Government Ministry or a large NGO, we could think of Talking Stickers more as and open source platform and simply have government pay us a modest fee to enable financial sustainability of Talking Stickers-our projections require US $2 to $5/student/month (cost depends on the scale), for TS to be financially sustainable. These funds could come from grants, government support, user fees, etc, we are very open to identifying innovative financial ideas to enable us to bring Talking Stickers to as many children as possible. Matthias also talked about how we could use TS as a 'white label solution' to help governments or organizations support beneficiaries. This fits well with our long term strategy of having a very large user base so we can minimize the cost of Talking Stickers, so we bring its impact to children who need it the most. To test a white label solution, TS will offer over the counter medication instructions, precautions and dosage information in both Spanish and Haitian Creole-with a focus on medicines most commonly used by low-resource children. Algramo (algramo.com) one of our strategic partners, recently opened a new branch of operations [https://fraccion.cl] that aims to lower the cost of essential medicines for low-resource families. We would like to test this white label solution with Algramo's Fraccion (who works with 7 pharmaceutical labratories) to bring added value to Fraccion's low cost medicines.

By talking to education experts working in low-resource settings, we have identified an additional institution we could use to enable Talking Stickers to reach more low-resource children. In Chile there are daycare like facilities (Jardin Infantils-Infant Gardens), for 1 to 5 year old children. The lowest-income families get free state sponsored childcare. Since these facilities serve tens of thousands of children in Santiago, they could be an effective distribution channel for Talking Stickers to reach low-resource children-so we can help them become better prepared for primary school. If awarded funding, we will pilot Talking Stickers with several Jardin Infantils, in areas with high populations of Haitians.

Lastly, just today, August 15, 2018, we have formal confirmation that Jpal [ https://www.povertyactionlab.org ], will be our implementation and validation partner for most of the potential ideas proposed in this proposal. We are very excited about this as Jpal has one of their main offices in Santiago de Chile. Most importantly, Jpal is one of the most respected and scientifically rigours evaluation partners in Latin America. We are extremely proud and excited to have Jpal confirmed as an implementation and validation partner.

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

We have added more detail to how we would use funding
Year 1: Measurement & Evaluation of Talking Stickers among 50 Haitian families-Outcome Impact verification (before scaling for language development, employment, integration into society and general mental health wellness of Haitian immigrants in Chile)-this would be overseen by Jpal. While doing this also set up TS drop in program at Fré Foundation-across the street from our school program. Set up pilot trial of TS at state sponsored daycare centre to test impact and viability of using TS at daycares-an impact opportunity that long-term could reach tens of thousands of low-resource children.

Year 2
Business viability, distribution, customer feedback, pricing models–impact 500 Haitian families (10 new families/week)
Measurement & Evaluation of Talking Stickers in a larger sample – 250 families

As noted above, a major development that greatly strengthens the impact potential and validation of our proposal, is that today, August 15th, Jpal has confirmed they will be an implementation and evaluation partner for most of the ideas presented in our proposal.

Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

In 2017, 105,000 Haitians, ~1% of Haiti migrated to Chile. Many arrive with a suitcase & a plan to find a job & new life in Chile. A major obstacle is the vast majority speak very little Spanish. Currently, aid orgs believe there are ~134k Haitian's trying to integrate into Chile. Without Spanish, all opportunities are greatly reduced.

Our app, Talking Stickers (TS) can teach Spanish to Haitian children & their parents. Also, by age 3, low-resource children lack 30 million words–compared to high resource children. TS is designed to erode this vocabulary gap. TS turns a basic smartphone/tablet into a powerful tool to teach customized language (Haitian/French to Spanish). TS works with ANY language, the target population designs the content to compliment local culture/curriculum. Our app enables teachers, parents or kids to have their voices recorded on customized stickers. We use technology to make learning more interactive, fun & effective. We connect classroom education (teachers), with learning at home (family). Interactive singing, talking, reading & playing make our app fun for Children–this spills over into education for the parents! In our Kenyan & Indian pilots, TS lead to children being exposed to an additional 6,000 words per day & parent/child interactions increased by 42 minutes/day. Over a year, this would erode the vocabulary gap of low/high resource children by ~70%.

As an immigrant who has lived in Chile for 5 years, I know Chilean Spanish is challenging & without it, employment & cultural integration is greatly impeded.

If funded, we will work with charities helping Haitian's integrate into Chile. Funds would be used to to get an impact verification partner like Jpal. Funds would employee ex-Haitian women teachers to design TS content to have cultural relevance, so they can work as paid entrepreneurs promoting TS to bridge opportunity for them & the new Haitian's integrating into Chile & children waiting to enter the new school year.

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Primary beneficiaries are Haitian immigrant children, in Chile, from 2-10 years old. Secondary are the children's family-most who speak very limited Spanish. Any other children, regardless of language/nationality, from low-resource setting are additional beneficiaries. Lastly, the Haitians paid to design/promote TS content will be key beneficiaries. Chile has ~134k Haitian's striving to start a new life in Chile-most arrived in past 6-24 months, from rural Haiti.

Since <25% of parents speak advanced Spanish, TS offers a double–dividend, through educating Haitian children, we engage their parents & enable parents to learn Spanish. We will enable Haitian entrepreneurs to promote TS and to also curate culturally customized language content for their fellow Haitians. We will turn the users of TS into the content providers. Enabling knowledge & opportunity to be passed down to ease linguistic & cultural integration, while earning an income by helping fellow Haitians integrate into Chile.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Our team has doctorate/master's level backgrounds in neuroscience, business, engineering & international development, we apply science into the technology that we develop & make it turnkey so it can be adapted into any language/culture. We are a for profit social enterprise using technology to improve early childhood vocabulary to elevate children/families out of poverty. Our applied neuroscience research shows robust correlations between limited vocabulary in the first 3–6 years & poor cognitive outcomes/academic performance. TS is a highly scalable/customizable EdTech solution that helps low-resource children/parents, improve their language skills & cognitive development to help them reach their potentials. Many NGO's/gov programs strive to create similar impact to TS but they rely on donations. TS is an ultra low-cost market based solution creating transformative educational impact that will allow local entrepreneurs to promote and profit from TS in a financially sustainable manner.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Pilot: I have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users.
  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

Talking Stickers is a social enterprise creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem striving to become the world's best technology for low-resource children to increase their vocabulary, regardless of what langue they speak, so disadvantaged children are ready for primary school and a more abundant future.

We strive to make turnkey educational opportunity that bridges language & culture to create maximized systemic social impact for the lowest possible cost.
Our website: https://www.attollose.com

Expertise in sector

  • 3-5 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered social enterprise.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

The CEO of Talking Stickers (TS) was working on his doctorate in Systems Neuroscience when he realized some neuroscience fundamental to TS. Reinforcement is critical for brain networks especially for learning a new task or language. Diverse experience is important for learning to happen in the brain networks. Exploration through play provides this diverse experience that TS provides children. TS merges technology & neuroscience to help low-resource children maximize their potential.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

I have insightful perspectives from living in Santiago for 5+ years to date. Over the past 1.5 years, I have noticed a major increase of Haitians in Chile. Near my home there are construction projects that employee Haitians. This allowed me to get to know some of them & hear their stories firsthand.

Fundamentally, TS is designed to benefit low-resource 2–10 year olds increase their vocabularies so the have improved academic performance/social development. If children lack vocabulary they can develop anti-social/mental health complications-both erode future PEACE & PROSPERITY–as studies suggest is now occurring in Ethiopia, Palestine & Syria.

Many Haitians speak very basic Spanish, to PROSPER & integrate peacefully into Chile & maximize opportunity, they need to speak Spanish. TS is an ideal tool to create huge benefits for Haitian children & even their parents, by teaching them Spanish & helping to integrate them into Chilean society so they can PROSPER in PEACE.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

We met 2 leading immigrant focused foundations-Soñadores & Limitless. We tested Talking Stickers at Liceo Miguel De Cervares (LMDC), a school with the greatest % of immigrants in Chile-Soñadores introduced us to LMDC. We will request Jpal to work with us to help maximize/quantify the impacts of TS. The above 2 foundations & 2 universities are developing an app, Migrapp, to help immigrants in Chile. See support letter, Migrapp, is likely interested in promoting TS programs that we aim to offer at LMDC + other locations.

In India, we are now working with Global TIES for Children (steinhardt.nyu.edu/global-ties/) to help us improve/validate impact of TS-see attached letter
"NYU Prepilot". With impact validation, we can enter new markets + build strategic relationships easier to scale faster into other parts of LATAM.

Claro Chile is potentially interested in supporting TS pilot-could be lower priced technology or support from their foundation aprende.org

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Haitians in Santiago are a fairly homogenous group, most live in a few key parts of the city and they generally stick together=easier to connect with to promote TS. They have a reputation of being very hard workers, striving to fit into Chilean culture. For these reasons, we feel TS is an effective technology that can help improve educational/linguistic opportunities for Haitian children so they can peacefully proposer into Chile, while enabling parents/children to learn Spanish together.

Geographic Focus

Santiago-pop 6.5M–focus 134k Haitians. Spanish content developmet sets up LATAM expansion potential.

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

Project length depends on level of funding. For US $100k, project duration would be ~9 months. For $200k we would implement in ~1.5 years.

For $400k+ we would implement project within ~2 years & pilot into a highly marginalized population outside of Chile. We would request input from our expert advisors from the challenge and Jpal to identify children, outside Chile, who greatly need support to help them become better prepared for primary school.

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Team (3)

Brian's profile
Brian Bauer of Algramo

Role added on team:

"I work with both Talking Stickers and Algramo. Initially, I had not thought that there could be synergies between the two social enterprises, however, I realized that Algramo's 1,700 stores spread across Santiago's low-income neighbourhoods can offer contact points for Talking Stickers to reach areas with high densities of Haitian immigrants who can benefit from Talking Stickers. In turn, Talking Stickers can provide modest income generation opportunity to storekeepers who promote TS."

Brian's profile
Nicole's profile
Nicole null

Role added on team:

"Hi Nicole, I believe this is Nicole from Thread International (TI). If you are not from TI please disregard this message. I spoke with our team and if we are funded, we would like to use part of funds to do a modest pilot for TI so you can try Talking Stickers risk free for your beneficiaries. If this is of interest to TI, I am happy to discuss how this could best work for you and your beneficiaries. Best, brian.bauer@attollose.com"

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Attachments (6)

Support Letter to Talking Stickers-JPAL.PDF

Talking Stickers is honoured that Jpal is willing to be the implementation and evaluation partner for Talking Stickers Bridge Builder proposal. See attached Support Letter from Jpal for additional details.

NYU prepilot.pdf

This is a Pre-Pilot Research Report from NYU's Global TIES for Children that discusses one of our pilots currently occurring in India. The evaluation is being reviewed by Dr Hirokazu Youshikawa who is an advisor for the UN SDG related to early childhood education. We are honoured to have experts like Dr Youshikawa being involved with our Talking Sticker pilot. This document gives insight into our science based impact verification methodologies.

AttolloSE Talking Stickers PPT CC.key

A brief slide deck highlighting key objectives of Talking Stickers (TS) and the applied neuroscience & pedagogy integrated into our app. These slides showcase how TS makes learning fun and brings benefits to children and their parents. It explains how and why this is so important in low-resource bottom of the pyramid (BoP) setting. Most importantly, it explains how and why our technology is able to create an impactful linguistic bridge & learning opportunity spanning across language & culture.

Letter_of_support_TS_signed.pdf

This is a Letter of Support from two of the Foundations that I met who are deeply involved with serving the immigrant community in Chile. The Founder, María Luisa Sotomayor, of Limitless has significant experience working with UNICEF on ICT technology that has reached over 2 million children. As well, José María of Soñadores Fundación has many connections across experts and orgs dedicated to helping immigrants in Chile, we are grateful for the strong support both foundations have provided TS.

June3 References_Partners.docx

There was not space to properly reference the science and reports that backs many of the claims made in our proposal. For this reason, we have included a document that notes some of the key references we researched to validate claims made in the proposal. We also included a brief write up about people and organizations we met in the Bridge Builder challenge who could be potential partners for future collaboration.

Haitian Immigration Chile.jpeg

This figure shows the recent surge of Haitian's entering Chile. These figures validate the need for low-cost solutions, like Talking Stickers (TS), that can be used to help improve linguistic, cultural and economic integration into Chile. TS can reduce integration barriers and provide a sustainable livelihood for the Haitian population in Chile-by allowing Haitians to help Haitians. It integrates the new family to the local education system without the risk of kids being out of school.

62 comments

Join the conversation:

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Photo of Brannon Veal
Team

I really enjoyed your idea, even though I am commenting late in the process. I appreciate the its simplicity and impact most of all. I would be interested to know how you all plan to lower the cost of manufacturing. What I appreciate the most is that talking stickers provide an immersive and tactile experience for language learning. Best of luck in your endeavors. I see this as a novel solution that can help many children learn a non-native language. I am an engineer by training. I would be more than willing to provide pro bono support to you project if you need. You can contact me directly or through linkedin.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Brannon Veal Hi Brannon, thank you so much for your interest in Talking Stickers and especially your offer to consider pro-bono work!

I will do my best to address your questions. Firstly, in regards to lowering cost, our business model is essentially a software as a service (SaaS) model. This means that once we have the app developed (as we have), it's near zero marginal cost to add new users. There are costs for printing stickers but they are modest and can be further reduced by printing on paper and using a glue stick to make stickers. Our current business model predicts financially sustainability, so we have operational funding, at $2 to $5 per child/month. Simply put, the more students we reach, the closer to $2 we get and perhaps with massive scale we could get below $2/month/child. Also, when we get really big, we will have improved impact verification, which will make it easier to have third parties (governments, corporations or foundations) provide additional support for Taking Stickers so we can reach more children, for the lowest possible cost/child. The focus and objective of TS is not for us to become rich financially, but for us to become rich by impacting the lives of as many low-resource children as possible-from as many cultures and languages as possible.

One comment about learning language is that indeed Talking Stickers can help children learn a second language. However, this is not the focus or the primary benefit of Talking Stickers. Our primary benefit is helping young children, from low-resource settings, build their vocabularies so that they are ready for primary school. By 3 years old, on average, low-resource children have a 30-million word vocabulary gap over children from high-resource settings! Simply put, Talking Stickers exists to reduce this vocabulary gap. The reason being that this vocabulary gap often leads to many root cause sources of poverty and lost opportunity that are too common in much of the Global South.

In regards to your offer to potentially do some pro bono work for TS that is immensely appreciated! I passed on your LinkedIn info to our CEO and he is keen to chat with you to see if we can make a win-win situation. Lastly, I see your are in Harvard's Sustainability program, I graduated from that program last year. If you have any questions about the program, my favourite classes, professors, etc, I would be happy to have a chat with you.

I just sent you a LinkedIn contact request. Best, Brian

Photo of Brannon Veal
Team

Thanks I got it. I look forward to speaking with you. Is great to connect with another HES Alum.

Photo of Anubha Sharma
Team

Hello
I would be very interested to know about your work in india. Is there an option available to help hindi speaking children improve their vocabulary in English, in fact other indian languages as well. this tool could be of great help for us in our program as well. Do let us know. Good luck with your project.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Anubha Sharma Hi Anubha, thanks a lot for reaching out and your interest in Talking Stickers. I read over your project, it sounds really interesting and truly impactful for children living in poverty. I have been to Mumbai and was alarmed by the sharp transitions from extreme wealth to extreme poverty. Great idea to bring resources, expertise and understanding between people. I just had a quick chat with the CEO of Talking Stickers and he would be happy to have a chat with you to better understand how Talking Stickers might be able to work with your project. If you would like to speak to him, send me an email and I will introduce you to him, via email, and you guys can work out a time to chat. My email is brian.bauer@attollose.com
In regards to your question about Talking Stickers in Indian languages, so far we have developed and used Talking Stickers with Hindi-English and Telugu-English. I hope that addresses your questions, best of luck with your project! Cheers, Brian

Photo of Anubha Sharma
Team

Thanks so much for your quick revert and your comments. I would love to connect with the CEO of TS to discuss possibilities, sending you a mail from anubha.axf@gmail.com

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Anubha Sharma I just sent you an introductory email to Lak Chinta, the CEO of Talking Stickers. It would be great if you guys have a discussion to determine if there might be opportunity for win-win collaboration with Talking Stickers. Best, Brian

Photo of Anubha Sharma
Team

Thanks Brian, spoke to Lak, awaiting his email on proposal for use of his product. Do ask him if it is possible for him to introduce us to the person at Pratham who is handling the partnership at a decision making level.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Anubha, Great to hear you and Lak had a chat. I have not directly worked with any projects in India, so I don't have contact info in regards to Pratham. However, I passed on your message to Lak, he is making up proposal for you which he will get to you by early next week. Take care and have a great weekend. Best, Brian

Photo of Matthias Scheffelmeier
Team

Thank you for the great work you do and for your effort! The idea and approach you describe sounds very feasible, fairly easy to scale and affordable; all of which are positives. I do wonder though if you've done some work around measuring & evaluation already as to if and how this approach does indeed benefit the children and increase their language abilities in tangible ways - in the above proposal it says you're planning an evaluation for a bit later, which makes me wonder if it may be a good to idea to first pilot a smaller project, evaluate it really well and only then move into the scaling phase. Also I did very much like your reference to "fostering partnerships with existing organisation" in Haiti, which in my eyes is absolutely critical. Trying to scale this by yourself will take much longer, if even successful in the first place - I'd much rather look at this as something that should be super easy to integrate and incorporate into existing approaches, institutions or infrastructure. Also, concerning the monetisation and funding of the approach I do also think it's fair enough to start with grant contributions from Foundations (you'll probably need the time to prove your case and not for profit investors and donors can help you with that), however it seems there may in fact be some great ways to monetise the app and the overall approach, e.g. by partnering with other educational institutions, educational material publishers, education ministries and such that would most likely benefit hugely from being exposed to your target group. As for the LATAM expansion the first initial thought that comes to my mind is that you should probably 'license' your app and maybe even allow for 'white label solutions' that you can provide other NGOS and partners across the continent. You may also, in the interest of the highest impact possible, think of your venture and the work you do in terms of an open source project and maybe just offer it for free to partners/institutions across LATAM; and finance your work via government or foundation grants, but actually keep your own Organization very small & lean.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Matthias Scheffelmeier Thank you very much for the excellent and detailed feedback! I will address your comments and suggestions.

Firstly, you state, "I do wonder though if you've done some work around measuring & evaluation already as to if and how this approach does indeed benefit the children and increase their language abilities in tangible ways." Based on this statement I think you misunderstood how important it is for TS to measure and evaluate how TS benefits children. Impact verification has always been a critical part of past pilots (in India & Kenya) and it would be a critical part of this pilot if we are funded. For example, Dr Hirokazu Youshikawa who is an advisor for the UN SDG related to early childhood education, is currently overseeing a TS pilot in India to help us validate and better understand how TS benefits children. In Chile, in the past, we did outreach with Jpal [https://www.povertyactionlab.org] to help us do randomized impact evaluations (they were interested but we did not get funding), if we are awarded funding we will be engaging Jpal to see if they can be our evaluation partner for this project. My apologies if this was not clearly communicated that measuring and evaluating impact is a critical aspect of our piloting. Above in attachments, there is a letter called, 'NYU prepilot.pdf' this letter outlines evaluation strategies NYU's Global TIES for Children, is using in evaluating a current pilot in India.
You made this comment, 'I'd much rather look at this as something that should be super easy to integrate and incorporate into existing approaches, institutions or infrastructure.' This very much is in line with Talking Stickers implementation approach, we have a technology offering that is easy to be integrated into exiting approaches, institutions or infrastructure. Furthermore, the digital nature of our intervention makes it highly customizable so it can fit ANY linguistic or cultural need and be customized to meet needs of local school curriculum.

Your ideas on alternative monetization strategies, once impact/benefits are robustly established with grants, are interesting and insightful. I had not thought of 'white label solutions' but with the correct partner this could be an effective way to implement our technology into a large beneficiary group. In my early stage outreach with a major Latin American TELCO, their corporate relations department also suggested they might be interested in helping to finance TS being integrated into low-resource school settings. One of the foundations I have been working with has connections to the Minister of Education and he said if we get funded and the pilot goes well, he would be happy to set up a meeting with the Minister of Education, so this would be an amazing scaling/impact creation opportunity. If we are able to have this meeting, I will carefully consider the advice you provided on monetization at a larger scale.
A quick question for you, one thing I find really exciting about Talking Stickers from an impact perspective, is their desire to hire/pay the beneficiary population to make sticker content and facilitate the printing/distribution of Talking Stickers. Do you have any ideas or suggestions on how we can most effectively do this, create entrepreneurial opportunities for content development and distribution? Do you know of any other Edtech or SaaS with social impact/job creation that strives to create entrepreneurial opportunities for its beneficiaries?

Once again, thank you so much for your astute insights and suggestions! Best, Brian

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Hi, Brian


Thanks for your response, finally please, when you were doing piloting in Kenya which language ,you used for testing your idea? I am learning, I have understood as you have explained.Thanks

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Hi Geoffrey, in Kenya the pilot was in just English. In our India pilots, Hindi, English and Telugu were used. Take care, all the best, Brian

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Hi, Brian

This is a power business model I have enjoyed reading it. Also I wish to learn from you, a part from the use of the app,is there another way you are going to involve, look about 134k Haitians against maybe 50-100 smartphones, this is less or it has good impact .Because of that number, may I learn from you how you will reach the whole population? Thanks

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geoffrey mosigisi Thank you for your interest in Talking Stickers. I have done an informal survey with Haitians in Santiago and talked to a couple people from foundations who work with immigrants. Most said that a significant percentage of Haitians in Chile have access to a basic smartphone. My guess is 80% have access to a smartphone. The primary idea is for children to use Talking Stickers at school or at drop in style programs occurring at foundations. At both school and the foundations, we plan to have tablets and each tablet can serve 1-3 children-1:1 ideally, but up to 1:3 is ok and there are benefits from co-learning and sharing by non 1:1 student to tablet ratios.
So basically, all children will have access to the app and a tablet during the day...the benefit of the smartphone is that the child can bring the classroom home and connect the child's teacher to the child's parents-for this to occur there needs to be a smartphone in the family. If we find many children do not have access to a smartphone we will consider increasing the number of cellphones that we procure. On this note, Claro Chile, a large TELCO is potentially interested in helping support our program...we hope to get wholesale pricing on smartphones and tablets, or maybe even some other more significant benefits...any benefits we can get from a TELCO will increase the benefits we can provide to our beneficiaries...I hope that addresses your questions. Best, Brian

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Hi, Brian

Thanks for answering the question but I have another one. When children are learning to know the language-Spanish,is it going to be the same program taught to their parents?,I wish to know how will you deliver, children may be taught in school how about their parents?, parents will they be tested? what will cause them may be to learn and be interested in knowing the Spanish - if they are working, how will it be easier for them to study?Thanks.

Best wishes

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Hi Geoffrey, the Talking Stickers are stickers with a QR code, this code has a recorded message related to the sticker. The idea is the children will bring these stickers home and 'play' with the parents using the stickers and the parents smartphone. In the process, the stickers, which can be programmed to have the same message in both Spanish and Haitian Creole (really ANY language) are heard by the parents and the child. This encourages children to bring the classroom to the home and get the parents involved in the child's education.
In Kenya and India our TS pilot projects showed parents and children increasing their time spent learning together by about 42 minutes per day! The type of play/learning with Talking Stickers is the type of actions that reinforce learning and do things like help one learn a new language.
You ask what will cause the parents to be interested in knowing Spanish, the answer is living in Chile. The vast majority of people (99%) in Chile speak Spanish, other languages, even English is rare. I have first hand experience knowing how critical it is to speak Spanish as I have lived in Chile for 5 years and arrived here with very basic Spanish. Simply put, if the parents do not learn Spanish, everyday life will be much more difficult and economic opportunities (employment) will be greatly limited. For example, think if someone does not speak Spanish and gets lost in the middle of Santiago (6.5 million people) how do they figure out where they are and get back home? From my personal experience, if you want to live in Chile it is very critical to learn Spanish. If you can't speak with people it drastically limits your ability to fit into and understand a culture and contribute to society and maximize your opportunities.

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Hi Brian:

I'm writing with some comments in response to the questions you raised for feedback. While I'm reasonably familiar with early childhood and dual language learners (and think this idea sounds fascinating!), I'm less well-versed in the Latin American context. Take only what feedback feels relevant and useful!

Q1: At first blush, I don’t see the danger in expanding to other immigrant groups as it appears Talking Stickers are not designed to be used with only one language or type of language. As you consider working in a more linguistically and culturally diverse school, you may be interested in this recent webinar from the Migration Policy Institute – “Effectively Serving Children in a Superdiverse Classroom: Implications for the Early Education System.” (https://www.migrationpolicy.org/events/effectively-serving-children-superdiverse-classroom-implications-early-education-system). Although this webinar focuses on the US context, it may be applicable as it considers how best to support language learners in classrooms where students speak multiple languages. In general, Migration Policy Institute may be a good resource, as it considers immigrant issues across the globe.

Q2: Since I am not a GHR employee, I can’t speak to your specific questions about how BridgeBuilder leaders would interpret other forms of support. Unfortunately, I am also not an expert in Latin America. I did, however, do some searching. I found a UNESCO report that suggests rates of participation in early education are particularly low in the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Paraguay. This report is from 2008, so it’s worth investigating whether participation rates have increased in those countries.

Q3: You’re smart to be thinking early about government funding. I’m not familiar with the Latin American context. In the U.S context, one approach to building the case for public funding would be to ensure that a robust evaluation accompanies your program. If a third-party partner can demonstrate that Talking Stickers provide the impacts you want, it makes a stronger case for public investment. The early learning field in the United States also has benefited from economic analyses that show the return on investment (https://www.impact.upenn.edu/our-analysis/opportunities-to-achieve-impact/early-childhood-toolkit/why-invest/what-is-the-return-on-investment/) from funding early childhood education and the strong benefits of bilingualism (https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/11/29/497943749/6-potential-brain-benefits-of-bilingual-education). This kind of social impact case building can also help spur public investment.

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Hi Erin null Thank you so much for the detailed and insightful feedback! It is very useful and much of it reaffirms ideas and strategies we are planning. I am curious if you are a member of the public / Open IDEO community or if you are one of the Expert Advisors? Thank you very much for the clarification and once again, thanks a lot for the great insights/advice.
Best, Brian

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Hi Brian,

This a super fun and exciting idea that harnesses new technology to create social change! My one question would be, since this app is geared towards children from low-resource families, how will children who do not have access to smartphones access the app?

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Hi thanks for the kind words and interest in Talking Stickers! You bring up a very good point. Our app can only benefit people if they have a basic Android smartphone or tablet. However, in Chile, an entry level basic smartphone that works with our app costs about US $40 and it is much cheaper with commitment to a plan for 12 months-which will be an option for some but not all. The minimum wage in Chile is about US $440/month. In Chile and many other parts of the developing world, people will invest in a smartphone even if they have very limited financial resources-as there are so many benefits a smartphone can provide. Informal surveys in Chile suggest most Haitian families have access to a smartphone. But definitely some of the families with less financial resources don't have access to a smartphone-my guess would be less than 20% of families do NOT have a smartphone.
We are proposing funding for tablets for the schools and foundations where we plan to do our Talking Stickers programs. Each tablet can serve between 2 to 4 children where they will have access to Talking Stickers free of charge. We are also proposing funding for 50 basic smartphones that we can give to single mothers or other people that are most in need. This enables the child to learn both at school and also at home on the parents smartphone...creating a bridge between school learning and the parents. Lastly, I am meeting with one of the biggest TELCO companies in Chile as they might be interested in providing us with major discounts on basic tablets and/or smartphones so we can bring TS to more beneficiaries.

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Hi Brian, i love this idea- what a fun and engaging way to get people to learn a new language- you probably already know duolingo, but if you haven't i really like the way they use stickers and games to teach you a new language. Since this is a community building app as well it would be fun maybe to have kids give each other stickers for things that might be relevant to their life in chile, just an idea :)

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Chloe Varelidi Hi thank you so much for the insights and kind words! I had a look at your project, it looks like an amazing idea and it appears you share many key values to us at Talking Stickers-especially that fun and engaging play is an extremely powerful and effective way for young children to learn and develop.
I know Duolingo and absolutely love it. However, you bring up an important point that I want to clarify. First and foremost, Talking Stickers is not designed to be a tool to teach a new language. The focus of Talking Stickers is to use play to develop vocabulary for marginalized children in their mother language. The reason being that having a limited vocabulary, even at age 3 or 4, can often lead to significantly reduced academic performance later in life, increasing the odds of dropping out of school and lead to anti social behaviour, essentially reduce ones future potentials.
With that said, in Chile, last year about 1% of Haiti migrated to Chile (~105k people) and very few of these immigrants speak more than basic Spanish. I actually just had a discussion with a 35 year old Haitian lady who has lived here for a year and she could hardly speak any Spanish. So for this beneficiary group, who is trying to start a new life in a Spanish only speaking country, we are keen to promote learning Spanish as a major secondary benefit...in reality for the parents, learning Spanish will be the primary benefit. In our pilot in Kenya, use of Talking Stickers increased parent-child time by 42 minutes per day...and I think there is an amazing bridge that can made by having child and parent learn a language together.
Back to your project, Talking Stickers is especially interested in bringing our app to the most marginalized children. If your interested in learning more about Talking Stickers to see if it could potentially be something that could be integrated into your project, I would be happy to address any questions [ brian.bauer@attollose.com ] or have a call with you. Best of luck to you and your project, it looks amazing and like it will truly create major impact. Cheers, Brian

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Chloe Varelidi I had a closer review of your proposal and it sounds like you are more focused on physical play and its benefits than the more psychological or digital type of play that Talking Stickers is focused on. I am sure both types of play provide huge benefits. With that said, perhaps Talking Stickers is less applicable to your project than I initially thought. However, if you become interested in additional types of play, like the digitized play that helps children improve their education opportunities, like Talking Stickers looks to foster, we are keen to see if we could collaborate...best of luck in the challenge! Brian

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hi Brian! thanks for the response, i understand better now :) I love the idea even more! Especially because parents and kids do it together, best of luck as well and let's keep in touch, maybe there are ways to work together in the future :) Heres' my email chloe [at] humanswhoplay [dot] com

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Thanks a lot Chole! Same with your project, after reading it in more detail, I like it even more...enabling a child to play while being in extremely challenging conditions is absolutely critical for psychological and physical wellbeing. If you think of a way Talking Stickers could be integrated into your project or know of other projects that it could be used in I am keen to hear from you. Best of luck with the challenge!

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Chloe Varelidi I found an interesting article about an innovator doing work to help low-resource children have increased access to play grounds...I thought you would find it interesting. Hope you value the article and best of luck with the challenge! Brian
https://hundred.org/en/innovations/playground-ideas

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Hello Brian, interesting idea and approach! Beyond helping haïtian immigrants learn spanish, have you though of other ways of leveraging or extending the projetc to include more aspects of assimilation/integration into the Chilean fabric? overall, this is really cool.

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Richard Seshie Hi Richard, thank you so much for your interest and kind words for Talking Stickers and the great question!
For this phase of the project I reached out to a
[ http://www.fundacionsoñadores.org ] and they have connected us to an amazing school where we very much get to include more aspects of assimilation/integration into Chilean society with immigrants. We are doing our user testing at a school called, Liceo Miguel De Cervares (LMDC). This school has the most immigrants of any school in Chile-80% of the students are immigrants making up 19 different nations. In general, Chile is culturally very homogeneous, an average Chilean school has <10% immigrant population and maybe students from 4 or 5 countries.
So at LMDC they are excited to use Talking Stickers to help bind everyone together and share inter-cultural awareness across the different cultures in each class. They are even interested in using Talking Stickers to develop customized content that will strongly appeal to autistic children-standard school content often marginally appeals to autistic children-so the school psychologist is excited to experiment how Talking Stickers can be used to help stimulate his autistic children. The director of the school even noted that with the 6 primary Latino nations in the school, they often have 6 different ways of saying the same thing which creates a lot of confusion between students/students, teachers/students and parents/teachers.
An example of integration of Haitian culture into Chilean culture that the director of the school is excited to implement, via Talking Stickers, is that in Chile it is illegal for the school to allow younger children to walk home from school alone-they MUST be picked up by a certified/approved caretaker-generally the parent. Chilean parents and most other Latino cultures understand this requirement. However, apparently, Haitian culture is much more relaxed and provides their children with a lot more independence than Chilean children and thus many Haitian parents expect their child to walk home alone-which the school legally can't allow. This has created a lot of problems as some Haitian parents and children do not speak adequate Spanish for them to understand this legal requirement. Now with Talking Stickers, we have a Haitian janitor who is fluent in Spanish and Haitian Creole and he is making a Talking Sticker that explains this to the child. If we win funds and can implement our project, the parents of the child will be encouraged to download our app and use Talking Stickers with there child at home-in which case, the child could bring the Talking Sticker home, the parent scans it and they have a speaker of their native language explaining that they are required to pick up their child from school. For now, we are just working with the school janitor-who is very happy to work with me and the school psychologist so he can help the Haitian children...but if we win funding, I have met with foundations who will be able to put me in contact with Haitian women who are ex-teachers but unable to teach here in Chile (their certifications not recognized/language limitations) and we will pay them to work as teachers helping Haitian children and their families better understand Chile, develop vocabulary and work towards improving their Spanish...sorry for the verbose message, but I am excited about how rewarding this phase of the project has been. Best of luck to you with the challenge! Brian

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Hello Brian Bauer of Attollo's Talking Stickers 

First of all congratulations on being selected for the shortlist. I have read through your project and some of the comments and have some thoughts and questions. My mother is a half Japanese and did not come to the United States until she was 5. When she started school in the U.S. both her and her mom knew very limited English. My mother learned english in school and my grandma learned English through my mom and her siblings. All that to say from semi personal experience I believe you are right on track. I would love some further insight you expressed:
1. It say Haitians will benefit from designing/promoting talking stickers. How much involvement in the design process will the local population participate? Could it translate into other design projects? What skills will they gain? When talking about promotion and sustainable income how long do you predict a local could make an income? Would it be a primary income or a secondary income?
2. Culturally speaking how open are Haitians to technology? You speak in one of the comments below about the affordability and usefulness of technology but even within the U.S. their are pockets of people resistant to technology, especially when it comes to young children. However in my short time spent in South Korea I believe Talking Stickers would not face resistance.
3. Though my grandma learned English through her kids it was never enough to allow her gain access to higher level employment. I believe there were several factors that caused this but mainly starting to learn English at 30 years old she was never confident enough in her ability to be competitive for other jobs. My mom has had a very successful career. Do you see Talking Stickers having a better outcome for adults or is the overall goal for the children?
4. What will be the cost of the app? One of the hurdles our project is realizing we have to overcome in the user feedback phase is that the cost of internet would deter people from using our program (even though it would have a significant return on investment.) When people are in survival mode it is hard to think about the big picture.

I apologize for so many questions. I am very curious about individual thought processes in design, I am also working to create economic sustainability in our program which I believe adds and extra layer to think through. Lastly, I actually collaborate with a designer of an educational app for high schoolers and your input helps me to be a better resource to him as well.

I look forward to your response!

Best,
Christina

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@Christina Schwanke Thank you very much for your interested in Talking Stickers and your astute questions and congrats to you for being shortlisted! I looked over your project and it sounds really interesting...I especially like the potential scale of the issues you are addressing-urban/rural challenges occur basically everywhere. One suggestion for your project could be leveraging the ability of people to work remotely via technology/ICT improvements. There is no doubt that moving forward, technology will help make it easier and more productive to work remotely. I think this innovation in technology that can/should significantly support your project is something to carefully consider. For example, I met Talking Stickers at a conference in Dubai, I work based out of Santiago, Chile for Talking Stickers who is based out of Toronto Canada and I am currently working on a project here in Chile and we are planning another project in the Middle East-technology is the key that allows me to work via distance and I can work from a city or from a rural location.
Anyhow, back to your questions....
1. It say Haitians will benefit from designing/promoting talking stickers. How much involvement in the design process will the local population participate? We are planning to find, via foundations working with immigrants, Haitian women who are ex-teachers, ideally with advanced Spanish, we will pay these women to deliver the classes to the Haitian students. There will be basic oversight to help them understand how to use the technology optimally, but we will encourage them being free to be creative and make content that is culturally relevant and that forms a good base for the children to better understand the Chilean curriculum that they will soon be exposed to. So basically, they will have major involvement in the content creation. However, the app is developed, using human centred design, and it is complex to change the software, so they will have minimal impact of the how the software actually functions....but, if they had ideas for improving the user experience we would definitely consider it for future upgrades...

What skills will they gain? When talking about promotion and sustainable income how long do you predict a local could make an income? Would it be a primary income or a secondary income?.......skills gained for the teachers would be applying the use of technology to help foster children to be more dedicated students (fun and play make learning more easy and sticky). We will also employee people to print, cut out and distribute stickers-this is lower skilled work, but still and additional earning opportunity.
The app can bring benefits for children as young as 2, as old as 10. As well, it can benefit not just Haitians but ANY community, including Spanish speakers, as the PRIMARY benefit of Talking Stickers is not to learn a second language, but to develop a language base in one's mother tongue-especially for children from marginalized communities. If the use of Talking Stickers goes well, considering that the teachers will likely be working with foundations dedicated to helping immigrants, it is probable there will be demand for the services in the future...the amount of income/employment opportunity will be correlated to the benefits and impact Talking Stickers creates. If we can have major impact/benefits and have these benefits clearly validated, it is probable the teachers would be able to have Talking Stickers as their primary source of income...however, we are essentially in the pilot stage of validating and testing our app in Chile, so it is premature to speculate on the size of the employment opportunity it can create.
2. Culturally speaking how open are Haitians to technology? From informal surveys in the street most of the Haitian's TS would be aimed at, parents aged late teen to 40, most seem interested in having a smartphone. We are trying to get a TELCO to help us subsidize tablet or smartphone ownership to ensure the those without disposable incomes for smartphones can have improved access. Studies show that most children are keen to play with tablets and can fairly quickly figure out how to use the technology...our app is designed to be very simple so that even children can figure it out easily with minimal instruction.
3. I agree trying to learn a language at age 30 is very difficult-I know this from personal experience. I am confident TS will help a child to rapidly learn Spanish and become fluent. But to be fair, I am not as optimistic for the parents. That said, I think learning Spanish with their child will be major motivation for them to try hard and advance their Spanish as much as possible...might be interesting to try and gamify the language learning experience between the child and their parents.

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4. Cost of the app will vary according to disposable incomes of the beneficiary. We are designing the app to be as low cost as possible and to have a flexible cost so we can enable the most marginalized children to use and benefit from our app. We are looking at charging a penny or two per sticker in populations with very limited incomes. Other models would be having a school pay ~$4 to $5 per family/month to access the app. When we have very clear impact verification established for our app it will help us attract capital that could be used to subsidize the cost, potentially even remove the cost, for children living in extremely marginalized environments with extremely limited household incomes.
I hope that addresses your questions. Best of luck to you in the challenge! Brian

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Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions thoughtfully! I also appreciate you looking at our idea. You are right on the money when you talk about improving technology. This is actually a problem that is relevant with some of our end users and not others. Affordability is more of a problem. That being said we are already planning on working with internet providers to increase access in areas where it is limited. The explanation is a bit more complicated then I am prepared to discuss but it is in the works.
The only thought I had was regarding the purchase of the app. As a mom I am very hesitant to buy apps or pay monthly access fees. I wonder if there are for profit companies that would benefit from the end result of the app that would help you make it free to users? Even advertisers? Just an initial thought.

Good Luck with your project!

Christina

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Hi Brian Bauer of Attollo's Talking Stickers great to have you in the Challenge, you might find some interesting inspiration and ideas for collaboration from some of the Ideas in the Education in Emergencies Challenge: https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/education-emergencies/top-ideas

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@Ashley Tilman Thank you very much for the suggestion Ashley. I will definitely have a look. Talking Stickers is currently considering a project where the focus is education in emergencies. Your advice is very valuable and helpful, thank you so much. Best, Brian

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This is an interesting idea, Brian. Can you elaborate on immigrant access to this app or phones in general? By this, I mean have you facilitated a way for immigrants who do not have a phone to access TS?

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Hi Kate, thanks for the question.

Most Haitians that I have seen have a cellphone. That said, perhaps some of the newer immigrants who have not yet found work do not have one. My research shows an average Haitan in Chile earns ~US $400 to $700 per month. Technically, minimum monthly wage in Chile, for all adults (including immigrants), is US $440. Lowest cost cell phone is just under US $40. So considering cellphone cost, relative to earnings the technology is likely within reach for most. That said, if we can lower the cost of, or ease cellphone ownership, especially for the lowest income immigrants, it would be very impactful and it is something we are exploring and if via will allocate a small percentage of the grant to subsidize cellphone ownership. In particular, if we did this I would favour offering a higher percentage of subsidized cellphones to women with children. If we could reduce the cost of a $40 cellphone down to around $20, it would significantly increase the number of people who could benefit from owning a cellphone. Lastly, a cellphone is clearly beneficial for using our app, but there are many other benefits a cellphone can provide so it most definitely is a very critical high-impact piece of technology to carefully consider.

Once again, thanks for your question. Best of luck to you in the challenge! Brian

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One more quick comment. Curious to hear if you think this distribution strategy is viable. If we get some cellphones to sell at about half price ($15 to $20), we don't have the resources to distribute the cellphones. So our plan would be to find a charity dedicated to working with supporting Haitian immigrants integrating into Chile and provide them with the phones and let the charity/foundation manage the sale and distribution of cellphones. Do you think that is a viable means to distribute the cellphones? We are also planning on using the charities/foundations to help us promote our app to the Haitian communities and ultimately to have them find Haitian entrepreneurs who can promote and personally capitalize off our app, by promoting it to Haitians as a tool to help their children be better prepared for primary school, while at the same time helping parents become more fluent in Chilean Spanish.
If you have any comments or advice greatly appreciated. Best, Brian

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Hi Brian,
My apologies on the delayed response. Thanks for the clarification on cell phone accessibility.

I am an intern associated with the "Tackling Child Labor in Plastic Collection in Haiti" project, so I am no expert. That being said, I will give you my opinion. I think using a charity as a medium to manage and distribute the cellphones could be a viable option, however I have two major questions. My first question is who in the charity would manage and distribute the phones? My second question is: have you found a charity that has the funds to distribute the phones? I'm not well versed on the cost of shipping in Chile nor know if you are shipping in the immediate area or all over Chile, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I would assume it will not be cheap.

Also, I'm wondering if you have considered a way to make your project sustainable, as it seems ones funds are gone, phones can no longer be distributed.

Best,
Kate

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Hi Kate, thank you for the challenging and insightful questions.

I agree that having a charity to distribute the phones is likely the best solution. I have done some outreach to charities in Santiago who are helping Haitians integrate into Chile. Santiago, almost 7 million people, makes up about 40% of Chile's population and accounts for something like 70% of GDP, which means a lot of Chile is packed into a small area. This means for the amount of smartphones we would have distributed (guessing 250 to 500) we would not have to ship any, they would all be given out in person by the charity. I don't like the idea of giving something for free, I prefer to charge a small price, to increase the perceived value of the product. As well, if we charge say 50% of the cost of the $40 smartphone (or even more of a subsidy in special cases), we could give a few dollars to the charity per phone, for administrative efforts and the left over funds could be recycled into buying more phones-which partly addresses your financial sustainability question. But really, in Chile, we have a strong economy and there are a fair amount of jobs, minimum monthly salary is US $440. So, $40 smartphones are likely viable for a lot of Haitians in Chile. Our subsidized phones would be more for special cases, say unemployed, single women with children, just arrived with very limited financial resources, some type of special challenge etc, but my guess is that right now most Haitians have access to a smartphone-especially if they are employed.

For us, making the effort to lower the cost/ease of accessing a smartphones is important as it helps ensure the most financially challenged have the opportunity to benefit from our technology. I have a friend who is an executive, here in Chile, at one of Latin America's largest Telco, if we are shortlisted, I am going to reach out to him and see if we can figure out a way to get access to basic smartphones at a lower cost, to maximize the amount of people we can help acquire a smartphone. Lastly, I think a smartphone is actually a very high priority item for many immigrants, even those with very limited financial resources, as it allows them to do so many things, many of which can help with things like finding employment, so beyond having the phone to use our app there are many other significant impact benefits people can gain from cellphone access.
Best of luck to you and Thread International with the challenge, I love your project! Brian

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Your initiative is very interesting! Would you ever consider expanding beyond the Chile-Haiti connection?

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Team

Hi Vicky, Thanks a lot for your interest in Talking Stickers.

To answer your question: absolutely! We have designed our technology to be highly adaptable to 'plug into' any cultural/linguistic context. The focus being to help low-resource (low income) children 3-6 catch up on the vocabulary gap that they often have compared to higher income children. Filling in this vocabulary gap has been shown to significantly improve future academic performance, even integration into society, so we see this as a very critical root-cause solution to improve opportunity for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Talking Stickers so far has been formally tested in India and Kenya, but the idea is the local educators customize the content (the talking stickers-that can sing and tell stories) so that the children get the exact content they need, with the voice of their parents or educators. There are modest costs to enable the idea to be financially sustainable long-term, so we can spread the idea around the world, but the costs are structured to be viable for people in emerging economies so they should be accessible to a wide range of potential users.

Once again, thanks a lot for your interest in Talking Stickers and best of luck with the Bridge Builder Challenge! Brian

Photo of Angi Yoder Maina
Team

Hi Brian Bauer of Attollo's Talking Stickers 

When Talking Stickers was formally tested in Kenya, who was it tested on? Refugee kids in our refugee camps, urban refugees, kids in informal settlements, or who? Were you working with a local Kenyan partner?

Very interesting concept and product. Good luck with it in Chile.

Angi.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Angi Yoder Maina 
Thanks for your interested in Talking Stickers.
To be honest, the Kenyan project occurred prior to me working with Talking Stickers, so I am not sure of the details. I have reached out to my team so I can answer your questions. But being the weekend, there might be a delay in getting back to you.
That said, we usually work with children from fairly marginalized environments as they are the ones who can receive the greatest benefits from Talking Stickers...I will get back to you as soon as I hear back from my colleagues in Toronto. Best of luck to you in the challenge! Regards, Brian

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Angi, I heard back from my team. In regards to your questions, for our Kenyan pilot we worked with Aga Khan East Africa in low resource informal settings in Mombasa. Cheers, Brian

Photo of Angi Yoder Maina
Team

Hi. Thanks for following up.

It makes sense, as Aga Khan is one of the innovators here in terms of education. Good luck with your work, it seems to be a project with many different types of applications globally.

Angi.

Photo of Vicky S.
Team

I feel very excited about your initiative. I really hope it continues and eventually expands to other countries. There are a lot of children who would greatly benefit from it and even the parents could learn a thing or two!

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Vicky, thank you so much for your kind words and support of Talking Stickers! What I find really exciting about TS is that it is very scalable into ANY language and it is designed to be very accessible for even the poorest of the poor–the people who most need something to help them in reaching their potential. All too often, solutions are aimed at lucrative middle class + market spaces, we are proud to be focused on benefiting children, from all over the world, in low-resource setting. Best of luck to you in the challenge! Brian

Photo of Animesh Prakash
Team

Hi Brian. This look like a great idea and very innovative. From the video, it seems you have also worked in India. The best part is that it transfer a basic phone to a powerful tool, to teach language. Also I was wondering if, the tool is divided according to the age group of the children or it is general for all age group?

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Animesh,
Thanks for your interest in Talking Stickers! Yes we have worked in India in the past, we are actually currently doing another project in India. TS can benefit any child, but it is especially critical for children in lower resource settings, so we focus trying to deliver TS in low or middle income economies.
For your question about age, TS is ideal for children from ages 3 to 6. In many cases slightly younger or older child can enjoy and learn from Talking Stickers, but our focus, and where the greatest impact occurs, is in that 3 to 6 year range. Best, Brian

Photo of Luz Gallo
Team

Hi Brian,
Great idea. Language is key to any child's development. I wanted to know more about the involvement of the parents in this idea? How do they learn to manage the app and items? Who teach them?

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hola Luz, Thanks for your comment and question. The app has very friendly UX, in fact, the app is primarily for 3-7 year olds and people in this age range can typically figure it out without too much effort. Basically it is designed for people with minimal experience with apps and technology-the video helps explain how the app works. We take a very human centred design approach where the users help with the design process-this UX evolves/improves as we pilot Talking Stickers into new beneficiary groups.
In terms of the actual content that we customize to each unique language or cultural group using our app, we work with the teachers/educators working with the specific language/cultural group-ensuring the content is customized to the exact needs of the group, who the app is designed to benefit. Furthermore, we use entrepreneurs from the group benefiting/using our app to promote our app and profit from it to promote the benefits it creates to their community. We see this as a way to foster entrepreneurship in marginalized communities and a way to maximize the impact creation of our app via enabling its financial sustainability and future scalability. I hope that addresses your questions, happy to address any additional questions. Cheers, Brian

Photo of chris
Team

Hello Brian, does your project design take into account children with learning disabilities and whose learning progress is not on par with peers?

How well do Haitians integrate in Chile? Are their conflicts arising from attempts to integrate? Do you foresee conflict stemming from Haitians' attempts to integrate?

On the whole the idea is promising given its premise of deploying technology to address social schisms.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Chris, thanks for your interest in Talking Stickers (TS). The great thing with TS is that the content is customized by the educator. Meaning if a child has a learning challenge the educator can work with their team to figure out how to best address those challenges and deliver a sticker that talks and sings in a manner that is most likely to stimulate/benefit the child based on the child's learning challenges.

Some of the newspaper articles on Haitian's integrating into Chile note a few minor integration problems between the Haitian's and mainstream Chilean culture...one major issue is that Chile is a very homogenous society and very much only Spanish (apart from an indigenous langue in the South of Chile). I also know from personal experience, some people (definitely the minority) get frustrated when foreigners don't effectively speak Spanish. So I really do think an absolutely critical part of Haitians integrating into Chilean society is learning Spanish. I think one of the biggest strengths the Haitian's have is that they are very hard workers who seem dedicated to getting the job done. Chilean's are noted in several media sources as saying the Haitians are noted to be very good workers. From speaking with some Haitians on the street, a lot of them are really happy to be in Chile as the security, quality of life and economic opportunities are greatly improved in Chile.

Photo of Charles Betterton, MSCED
Team

Greetings Brian. I am looking forward to connecting and exploring how we might somehow collaborate since our underlying missions of youth education and empowerment seem synergistic. Actually while I admit that I don't fully comprehend your app, from what I do see it needs to be APP-lied world-wide! Congratulations on your ongoing progress and the recognition your team received from the Hult Prize! Best wishes for your success in this fundraising initiative.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Charles Betterton, MSCED Hi, thanks for the kind words and interest in Talking Stickers!
We are keen to seek out collaboration with values aligned people or ideas. One key issue to consider with Talking Stickers (TS) is that the benefits they provide are focused on young children, generally 3-6 years old, but in some cases up to 7 or 8. The idea behind TS is that in low-income families children often lack exposure to vocabulary, by age 3 there is often a 30 million word gap between high and low income children. This gap often has major impacts on a child's future. By filling in this vocabulary gap, we believe we can help children reach their potential. If low-income children are robbed of potential at this critical age (the brain is 90% developed by age 6), later in life it can lead to poor academic performance, anti-social behaviour, even mental illness.
The great thing about talking stickers, which you addressed, is that they are designed for scalability so they can go world wide! Our current mission is to benefit 10 million low resource children. The team that has developed TS have deep backgrounds in neuroscience and psychology, but also a deep knowledge of business, which is key to ensuring we can scale out the idea, in a financially sustainable manner and benefit marginalized children all over the world...if you want to discuss collaboration feel free to email me at brian.bauer@attollose.com
Best of luck to you in the Bridge Builder Challenge! Brian

Photo of Charles Betterton, MSCED
Team

Thank you Brian for your detailed response, your email address (mine is ceo@universityforsuccessfulliving.org) and for the LinkedIn Connection too. I would be happy to join your team if that would be of interest and we would of course welcome you on our team if you're interested.

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

Hi Charles, Thanks so much for the offer to join the Talking Stickers team...I am fairly new to contests like this and to be honest, I am not sure of what joining teams is suppose to achieve. With that said, to me, it seems logical that we should join teams if we can work together or support each other....if you are interested in using Talking Stickers with low-resource children, I think it would make sense to join our team. Or perhaps you have other skills or ideas that might create value for Talking Stickers...I am keen to hear if you have any ideas and if you are interested in using Talking Stickers? I would be interested in joining your team if you feel I have stills that would create value for your organization...do you have any ideas on how I can create value for your organization? Thank you in advance for you input and best of luck with the challenge! Brian

Photo of Paul Ennis
Team

Brian - I do not just add people to my 'Team' without their permission. And, teambuilding here within the OpenIDEO is valuable. If you would like to join each other's 'Teams' I would appreciate that level of engagement and support between us. For my 'Team' members I post a brief Bio on their listings so we all know a little bit about who each other represents and our backgrounds, etc. You can send me that info via e-mail if you'd like @ paul@rtmn.info Thanks for your consideration. - Paul

Photo of Brian Bauer
Team

@Paul Ennis, thanks for reaching out and offering to 'Team' up. To be honest I am fairly new to this Open IDEO platform. I have had a few ideas want to join my team and I just reached out to one...for all these ideas they are potential partners that can use/implement Talking Stickers...not sure if you would actually use Talking Stickers. However, since we work in a very similar space and we ultimately strive to accomplish similar objectives, just with different means, and we can share information, I think it makes sense to 'Team' Up-so thanks for the invite! I'll send you the info you requested via email. Best, Brian

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Team

Brian Bauer of Attollo's Talking Stickers 

Hi Brian,

I really like that Talking stickers has been able to help parents and little kids to learn languages.

I think one of the advantages fro Haitians while learning Spanish is that both French and Spanish are Romance languages. Even though they might not completely be mutually intelligible, it is possible to correlate many words.

I have been reading articles on how kids learn new things without any external help. Zone of proximal development is a concept which says that kids will be able to understand things if they are able to relate the new things to what they already know.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_of_proximal_development

Another thing I found was in any language can be motivating, focused, and fun. This applies to anyone, eve when they do not know the language. There is a published work by Arla J. Good and collaborators which performs a study on kids regarding this.
(they hyperlink below doesnt work, but you could download the pdf by pasting the link below in any search engine)
http://digital.library.ryerson.ca/islandora/object/RULA:1495/datastream/OBJ/download/The_Efficacy_Of_Singing_In_Foreign-Language_Learning.pdf

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Team

Rodney Lobo Hi Rodney, thanks a lot for your interest in Talking Stickers and for your insights. I think you raise a really valid and critical point about French making Spanish a lot easier to learn. I have lived in Chile for 5 years and have met several French speakers and they always seem to have picked up Spanish well. I think a big part is the verb conjugation. So with a little help from Talking Stickers, Haitians should be able to pick up Spanish easier than people from other language families.
Thank you for the articles on linguistics, I will check them out. Best of luck to you in the challenge! Best, Brian