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Indian chai stores

Using an 'adda' where large numbers of indian men congregate and turning chai sellers into evangelists by incentivising them, I believe we could get the message out and get lots of registrations.

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20 13

Written by DeletedUser

Men across india, especially rural india, have a common past time. They congregate at chai stores, also known as an 'adda', or hangout. These stores sell tea(chai), biscuits, mobile recharge, snacks, tobacco most importantly cigarettes.
These addas have plenty of men walking in, having a chai biskoot sutta ( tea biscuit cigarette) hanging around chatting while they finish their break and then get back to doing whatever they do in life. It's that one time of the day where they are on a relaxed break with their friends. The influence of these chai sellers is immense - from recommending a new brand of smokes or tobacco, to chatting about the political scene, they are a vibrant centre of society. Many people run up a tab, and the trust levels on both sides are ridiculously high.
We could use these chai sellers to influence people to do a cheek swab. Given their rapport with a large number of people, we could incentivise these chai sellers and use their support to do a cheek swab.
For example - we could give them 100 swab kits, and upon returning them with 100 unique samples, the chai seller gets a nice incentive.
This way I believe it's not just the database that grows, but the chai seller becomes an evangelist - and that's super important in reinforcing the message for donors AND potential receivers.

Update -

1. How this idea could apply to non-Indian settings - from American coffee shops to European cafes, for instance -

Waiters could wear a badge - 'Talk to me about saving lives'.
This could spark off a conversation -
I can see this happening when the waiter is bending while placing the coffees on the table, people noticing this badges and its bold premise, and a conversation happening.

The waiter could then hand them a kit, and the job is done within a minute.

2. Who might provide the education that chai sellers need in order to be able to speak about bone marrow donation and answer questions with customers?

2 words - supply chain.

Big companies like Unilever, P&G, ITC etc have massive supply chains that sell toothpaste, cigarettes, biscuits etc to the most far flung underdeveloped parts of the world. What if they offered an internship?

Another word - Intern.

The job of the intern would be to spend time with this fabulous well run company, and spend some time learning their supply chain processes. And their additional responsibility with learning will be - educating their distributors.

Imagine a set of hundred hungry, smart, management type 25 year olds, who join an internship with a large company, travel the country learning their supply chain thereby getting an education of a lifetime, and also educating every single distributor they come across.
Net money spent - negligible. Motivation to do this - high.
Management institutes who use these supply chains as case studies could funnel in huge numbers of students.


Which barrier(s) does your concept address?

  • Time
  • Feeling rushed
  • Cultural beliefs

Which step(s) of the journey does your concept apply to?

  • Awareness
  • Registration
  • Spread the word

Evaluation results

9 evaluations so far

1. How easy is this concept to implement?

I could start right now. - 50%

This might take a bit of planning and probably some help from several partners. - 37.5%

This is a big undertaking and I'd need a lot of help from friends, organizations and other groups to make it happen. - 12.5%

2. Will this concept successfully reach and encourage under-represented populations (including South Asians) to join the bone marrow registry?

Yes, this concept will resonate with diverse groups of people from all over the world. - 50%

No, this concept might not reach under-represented populations very well. - 0%

I'm not sure, but I hope so! - 50%

3. How well does this concept dispel myths, ease fears, or provide education about bone marrow registration and donation?

Really well -- I already feel like I have a better understanding of the process and why it's important. - 25%

Okay, though it'll still take some explaining to get people to understand how bone marrow registration and donation work. - 50%

Not very well -- we'd have to create a highly detailed plan around this concept to help people understand. - 25%

4. How scalable is this concept?

This concept is highly scalable and could easily impact people all over the world. - 37.5%

This concept is really best suited for small groups and local areas. - 37.5%

This concept could be scaled, but we'd have to refine it for different settings. - 25%


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Great Idea. I guess the chaiwalla can 'enroll' the marrow donor, partly. As you said the FMCG channel can be an awesome leverage to get the swabs to people. The trouble would be with chasing them down when a requirement arises, unless the Chaiwalla notes names and coordinates of the swabbee. This channel also mostly leaves women out (is that intentional?). Wondering if the UIDAI/ or the Census people could do this as well.

Photo of DeletedUser


Thanks Vinay!
The chasing down part might be solved with the swab kit itself, which may have a way to contact them.
Yes - women left out. Great point.

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