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Community Micro-funded Baby Booster

This concepts seeks to harness a family's (including the father, in-laws, etc.) concern for producing a healthy baby to improve the wellbeing of the unborn child and mother. Through mobile-facilitated group funding, it aims to recruit both financial and social support for the mother’s healthcare needs. And by bundling the financing of important healthcare services with small regular payments for items that people can easily understand and value, it aims to decrease the price tag barrier and thus increase the use of the total package.

Photo of Vincent Cheng
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The package will be promoted as a “Baby Booster” that helps make your baby healthy, strong, and smart by providing proper nutrition and care for the mother whose body nurtures the child. It’ll consist of nutritional supplements (iron, folate, iodine, zinc, vitamin A, etc.) that are delivered each month from a community health worker. By purchasing these, mothers are also provided with scheduled prenatal checkups/advice, any needed treatment, access to a supervised delivery by a qualified provider (midwife or local hospital), and emergency transportation. The exact combination of services would be customized to the best meet the local needs/conditions.

So how exactly can the community contribute? Well, when the mother signs up, she’s given a unique key phrase. Family & friends can text the key phrase to the Baby Booster phone # (or call the # to speak the key phrase to an automated voice system) to contribute payments through their phone minutes or bill that are applied towards the package. They can also receive a tally of how many months of Baby Booster have been paid for, how much they've contributed, as well as status updates on the pregnancy (if the mother opts-in for this). One could even imagine that Baby Booster contributions could be given as wedding gifts (I’d imagine the couple’s parents would be very supportive of this!)

Finally, mothers can also optionally have their information posted on a Kiva-like site, where people from around the world can donate money to change the life of a mother and her unborn child.

Image Attribution: cellphone (; baby, mom, & dad (Wellcome Images)

What is the minimum level of mobile technology needed for this concept?

Automated text messages/ voice calls, and maybe even the cellphone, could be subsidized by telecom carriers and cellphone providers like Nokia. Pre-existing solutions for automated voice calls, text messages, mobile payments, and group payments can be leveraged.

How could this work in a low-literacy context?

Automated voice calls make texting skills optional.

Which partners could help realise and deliver this solution?

  • Oxfam
  • Nokia
  • Mobile operators
  • NGOs
  • Government
  • Other - Feel free to elaborate in your description of the concept


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Photo of Vincent Cheng

Thanks for the support! Also, just found one possibility for what the nutritional supplement could be:

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