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Alternative parent’s care in early childhood development

Connecting Families for better development of the children

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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

We initially thought about the idea based on our assumption, and experience in our personal and societal context. We also reviewed existing relevant documents to gather information to get an idea about available services and options for ECD in United States. However, we understood that the business model or the product should be usable or fit in US market at the end. We also proposed to implement (piloting) our idea in US in the early submission. Having feedback from mentor, we realized that substantial information was not gathered yet to know the feasibility of the idea as well as how to make this design human centered. After the mentorship program, we conducted a feasibility study among the proposed end users, alternative parents, experts, practitioners, and academia. By this time, we also reviewed the suggested documents of OpenIDEO and mentor to gather in-depth information. Based on the information we were able to collect for review in a short time, we reached in a consensus that this idea can be a noble one and effective model for ECD program not only in Bangladesh but also in the world. We are now more confident to test this idea in Bangladesh and after this piloting program; we can provide a business model that will be fit for targeted population in the US as well as other parts of the world.

Name or Organization

Disaster Management Watch (DM.WATCH), Bangladesh.

Geography

This organization is located in Bangladesh. Our innovation could be implemented in USA.

What is your stage of development?

  • New Innovator, with less than one year of experience in ECD

Type

  • Team

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Research & Early Testing: I am exploring my idea, gathering the inspiration and information I need to test it with real users.

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Specially working parents in low income families will easily find an affordable and intimate caring for their children within their community. They can concentrate on their work, can save money and time as they do not need to go to day care center. Intimate caring rather than commercial one very likely to contribute more efficiently in early childhood development for children of 0 to 3 years.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

Three types of alternative parents (1) Infertile but willing to nurture the children (2) Old people but physically fit, and (3) Interested parents who live alone to take care of other’s children will be our main focus. Who will be able to take care of other’s children and can earn money. We will develop a website for these groups where all can come together in one platform. Parents can find their nearest alternative parents to leave their children. Alternative parents will sign up to this website to show their interest to keep other’s children and parents will sign up to this website to show their interest to leave their children within their nearest house. When a parent wants to leave their children then they will search to find their nearest alternative parent and this website will show the nearest alternative parents and they will be able to communicate through this website.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

1. Quality care and early childhood development challenges 2. Cost of fostering children for low income working women often goes beyond affordability 3. Alternative parents that we proposed are living in some sort of loneliness as well as frustration

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

Promoting the health and well-being of young children is a challenge for millions of parents, policy makers, and other service providers. Early childhood development is one of the distinctive features of the science (Neurons to Neighborhoods, 2008). As a public issue, questions about effective practices in the care and protection of children confront basic traditional values in areas that include personal responsibility, individual self-reliance, and role of government involvement in people’s lives. The many changes in the world in the past two decades have changed the way we consider early childhood development. Many policies have changed at the country and regional level because of the scientific advancement. Besides, socioeconomic and demographic trends have created new challenges with greater percentage of children growing up in poverty. Now a major concern remains to know more about what children need to grow into healthy citizens leading them in order to contribute to social change. The home environment, including parent-child interactions and exposure to stressful experiences, influences the cognitive and socio-emotional development of children (Lancet, 2011). In Bangladesh, mainly two types of child care centers are currently available i.e., institute based and commercial for 0-3 years children. However, there are different types of care center are available in United States. For example, Family/home day care center, relative care, child care swap, child day care center, group family day care home, school-age child care program, small day care system, Center-based child care etc. However, the good news is that one style of child-care provider is not better than another. Ultimately, the best child-care provider will be the one who matches the family's needs and availability, who is trustworthy, and who can provide consistent, attentive care for your child. Besides, cost of fostering children is a considerable issue for low income family. We consider the value of children, because the future of any society depends on its ability to foster the health and well-being of the next generation (The science of ECD, Harvard University 2007). We also want to value the families who have no children (due to infertility as data shows 15% in Bangladesh, 2007), man and woman with willingness to take care of children, old age people with physical and mental capability with willingness to take care of children. We assume that except few, these people in three categories may have interest in fostering children. Study shows that fertility problem causes divorce or end of cohabitation (TrilleKjaer and et al, 2013), depression, identity crisis, even excluded in few societies. Through this project, the people who are very likely to engage themselves into humanitarian activities and social service will get the opportunity to fulfill their desire and serve the human. By this way, low income parents and their children will stay with parent-like man and woman with care.

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

The main beneficiaries will be children between 0 to 3 years. Ultimately, working parents will be benefited as they can go to their work without perturbation. Children will get parents like affection from the alternative parents. Alternative parents will be three types who will be benefited both financially and mentally. Three types of alternative parents include (1) Infertile but willing to nurture the children (2) Old people but physically fit, and (3) Interested parents who live alone to take care of other’s children. Alternative parents will get opportunity to spend their time with children. Infertile couple will get parenthood flavor for some moments. Old people who have children but lives far away from them will get some joyful moments with the children. Because children are so lovely, they can change anyone’s gloomy mood into happy mood.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

The idea will have a lasting impact on the children’s well-being as well as the families’ well-being. Gaps between future development for early childhood and rule of government will be minimized. Potential impact will be on countries overall economic development. Because parents will get relief from tension regarding their child’s early development during work. This idea may lead to a significant change because alternative parents who are deprived of children touch, will be able to spend a delightful moments with the children. Therefore, we could possibly have a systemic positive impact on the development of every child.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

Last few weeks, we trying to reach and talk more with the alternative parents we proposed in our early submission. As a developing country (Bangladesh), some of the alternative parents have their infrastructural and environmental supportive system to foster children. They can easily support 1-2 children at their house. Some of the alternative parents do not have that required facility to foster children in their home. However, many of them agreed to foster children in the center voluntarily. All these will require minimum cost for low-income working women to fostering their children.

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (5000 characters)

In our proposed project idea, we focused mainly on low income working women and their children of 0-3 year’s age group. We were trying to make this idea obviously economically cost effective for the end users in one hand. On the other hand, we focused on the people as the caregiver or alternative parents who are somewhat living in either frustration or unhappy or lonely lives. Consideration of these two issues leads our idea into a human centered approach. We reviewed the existing mechanism and child fostering system in Bangladesh through ground work i.e., physical visit and discussing with the parents, caregivers, administration of day care centers etc. Available commercial and institution based centers generally do not consider the economic condition of parents. Based on this information we found that this model will reach new users using old approach. Although we are addressing the approach of the model as old, we are engaging a certain group of people in the society as the caregiver who was never under consideration in the society especially in developing countries in the world. In that sense, the service providers are also new. Therefore, we are expecting this business model will new or different and useful for low income working women in the society.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

Alternative parents are a new idea which will help specially the children from low income family. A significant number of children will be in touch with parents (alternative) and will receive care for early childhood development. Through the website and further posturing in large scale, a wider society will be connected as we are always thinking about increasing the coverage and scale up this program. Proposed website will be developed in English initially. We may develop the website in Bangla language during scaling up. We propose to use other social media e.g., Facebook, twitter, online and/or printed newspaper/magazine etc. for reaching the target group. The enthusiastic alternative parents will serve as social worker. At the same time, they will enjoy the feeling of parenthood as well.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

Alternative parenthood as mentioned before is a new idea that can be implemented using existing infrastructural condition or minimum changes in the existing set up. Society can do it in existing set up merely adding few arrangements like training of alternative parents etc. We can measure the impact of this startup idea by five crucial points as described below: Need assessment: Through a feasibility study we identified that there is a strong need of fostering children of low income earning women in Bangladesh. Moreover, they do not have enough money to foster their children in the existing commercial day care center. Identifying alternative solution: Based on the need, we focus to bring both parents into a board to discuss and find out the best alternative solution for this problem. Thus the alternative parents and their volunteer support and service as the caregiver are considered as a primary solution. Identifying the profit level: We identified that some of the alternative parents will participate in this program with a sense of voluntary support for the children of their society. Sense of parenthood will work as a value for money in this regard. However, few other alternative parents and their operating cost will be provided by the low income working women. Therefore, we can assume that the business model will be affordable to that group of working women. Identifying the timeline: Identifying timeline for any project is inevitable. It is also important for project sustainability. Initially, we propose one year duration to test our idea. Identifying the resource to start: This is a human centered noble approach. As a development partner, DM.WATCH is excited to implement this idea. Initially, we will deploy our technical and program staff to startup. A one stop center for technical support, emergency response to any issue etc. After identifying and selecting the alternative parents and working women, we will provide general information and basic training to the alternative parents.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (5000 characters)

The business model we are assuming will be cost effective for low income family in any country including Bangladesh. Our end users are low income earning working women in this country. Therefore, foreseen barriers include – how much money against the service the end users will be capable and willing to pay. However, we assume that alternative parents (caregiver) may play a voluntary role in fostering children. They may require minimum cost.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (5000 characters)

One of our major goals of this program is to help to build a generation who can compete and contribute to the betterment for the future society in the world. In this context, low income working women especially in Bangladesh do not have sufficient opportunity to take necessary steps for early childhood development of their children. A large portion of low income earning women in urban area migrated from rural. They left their other members of the households in rural. Therefore, they have no option to foster their children at home. Because fostering children by paid maid servant comparatively costly and beyond the means of the low income working women. Few women bring their mother and/or mother-in-law to bring up their children resulted in additional cost. It is evident that many a mothers have to leave their job to take care of their children leading to economic hardship in their lives. Some working women have to carry on their duties with severe occupational stress. There is no such option in Bangladesh by which low income working women can ensure their children’s proper development so that they can continue their career without any disruption. Through our proposed idea those low income working women and their children will be benefited. On the other hand, we are considering the people in the society who are living in deprivation, hopelessness, frustration to some extent. They lack attachment with love, affection those are supposed to be essential for that stage of lives. Our idea was built considering those human issues.

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

Targeting a vision of becoming a growth assistance platform that works to initiate a new era of equity and sustainability DM.WATCH initiated its journey in 2013. DM.WATCH wishes to contribute in society as well as improve people’s livelihood situation, irrespective of ability, age, religion, ethnicity, creed, color, caste or gender through taking a mission of addressing development issues by reducing knowledge gap and facilitating sustainable development through in-depth research and projects. Since 2013 to till date, DM.WATCH has been working in different dimensions- • Child and youth development • Economic development • Poor governance, • Poverty reduction initiative • Education and Public Health • Urban planning and development, • Water resource management The firm has already accomplished various assignments with both national (IDEA, RFS, SEEP, BNWLA and BTS) and international organizations (Bernard Van Leer Foundation, UNDP, SNV Netherlands Development Organization, CARE, Netz Bangladesh, Save the Children, Plan International, Concern Worldwide, VSO and WaterAid Bangladesh) and with government agencies (UDD and LGED). As well, Disaster Management Watch has a very rich technical resourceful library which contains over 500 selected reference books, study reports, policy documents, resolution of national and global agreements etc. DM.WATCH currently conducting an assignments for designing cities that support healthy child development (Urban95 Challenge), Bernard Van Leer Foundation. This project is initiating an awareness campaign project to minimize the level of noise pollution in urban areas. In urban areas, noise pollution is a silent threat to early childhood development especially for the developing country like Bangladesh. Children who live in noisy environments have been shown to have elevated blood pressures and elevated levels of stress-induced hormones and report a diminished quality of life. In this project, a network was built with government departments and nonprofit organizations (are working on child issues) through National Level Public-Private Dialogue activities. By which coordination within organization and activist was built up and the project provided them necessary campaign material (Audio-visual documentary and radio message) to work with this issue. Apart from that some other assignments are as follows- • Study of IKEA Good Cause Campaign (Children on the Move) Project, Save the Children, Bangladesh. • Adolescent Health & Empowerment to Reduce Child Marriage, Save the children. • Situational Analysis of New Rural Sponsorship Program, Save the Children, Bangladesh. • Opening Space-Engaging Children in Local Governance and Social Change, BNWLA. • Child Centered Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) project, CPD. • Child Friendly Local Governance (CFLG) project, Breaking the Silence and BNWLA. • Child Rights Governance project, SEEP. • Public Toilet Demand Scan in Kushtia and Jhenaidah, SNV Netherl

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (600 characters)

We (DM.WATCH) have a large team including a pool of consultants for program and research activities. We will consult with expert for their advice to keep the project direction into right track. We also have planned to employ project based resource persons when required.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

We will propose a website for registering alternative parents as well as end users i.e., low income working women. Information about the website may be disseminating using print and online media. This is the most widely used media to reach the target population.

Would you like mentoring support?

  • Yes

If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters)

We need your suggestion on what will be the best way to disseminate the information about usefulness of this app among target people in USA.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

Recently we have worked in a research work for children aged 0 to 3 years titled “Designing cities that support healthy child development (Urban95 Challenge)”. The study focused on awareness building to minimize the level of noise pollution in urban areas. We have worked on child migration titled “Baseline Study of IKEA Good Cause Campaign (Children on the Move) Project” to prevent unsafe child migration with Save the Children. To prevent child marriage we worked with adolescent health

[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you prototyped.

[Optional] Video: You are invited to submit a 30-60 second video that introduces you and/or your team and your idea.

Mentorship: How was your idea supported? (5000 characters)

For the Early Submission of our project idea, we were supposed to gather primary information from the proposed stakeholders in the project. However, we could not cover all the relevant stakeholders in the early stage. We did not think comprehensively about the feasibility of our proposed idea. We were in a little bit confusion on where we will implement our idea. We also had limited strategic action plan for implementing the project. All those shortcomings were identified through the mentorship session. We had experiences on conducting action research and small scale project related to child protection. However, specific project or research that directly linked with Early Childhood Development was not done yet. Therefore, we had not sufficient information on some fundamental issues which were required for developing and running a project. Through mentorship session, we also were informed detailed about the need of feasibility study of our idea in area context. We received (through text, email, Skype conversation) needful direction and feedback to overcome the challenges as well as strengthen our idea. Based on the feedback from mentor, we changed our project implementing area in Bangladesh (We proposed US in the early submission). We conducted several consultations meeting with experts, and interviews with existing caregivers, parents, and proposed alternative parents. Thus, we gathered information and tried to contextualize the idea. As a low income country, Bangladeshi working women seldom think about the proper development of children. Major reasons but not limited to lack of education, awareness, financial stability. Option for fostering children is a severe problem for those working women. Limited options are available for area specific (Rural vs Urban). On the other hand, cost of fostering children is expensive. Notwithstanding, trust on foster mother or caregiver is another challenge in Bangladesh.

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