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C3: A Universal Blueprint to Build Modular Child Care Centres

The C3 proposal is to design and advocate a systematic approach to deliver child care services and parenting information for low-income communities, in a sustainable way. This includes a blueprint to put forward a comprehensive model for child care centers planning and building. As well as a game-like crowdfunding app which leverage the whole implementation Online-To-Offline.

Photo of Soon Leung
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Update 10 Dec 2014 - Blueprint Prototype #1

Prototype Show & Tell

It's time to take our prototype out and test it with people we’re designing for. In order to push the idea further, we will ask potential users and experts in child development for feedbacks.

Below is the summary for how the blueprint works, please refer to the full version that uploaded here for more detail.


Update 8 Dec 2014 - Crowdfunding App Mockup

Fake it till you make it 

Here is a mockup screen to demonstate how a fundraising campaign will look like in the app.


Update 1 Dec 2014 - Prototyping

Learning from Prototyping

The team created a miniture modular child care centre using LEGO, which is a tangible representation of our idea that could be share and learn from.



The Unmet Needs

  1. Few child care services available for infants and toddlers, coverage and quality are uneven.

  2. Systems are not yet in place to provide adequate training, monitoring and technical assistance necessary for improving quality of programming.

  3. Scant evidence of sustainability.

  4. Before/During pregnancy, parents are lack of healthcare knowledge and preparation for the arrival of newborn 


How might we design a systematic approach to deliver child care services and parenting information for low-income communities, in a sustainable way?

After debating various alternatives, the team concluded that one possible solution is the development of an inclusive child care center chain, which not only provides child development services for infants and toddlers in a safe play area, but also teaches parents these techniques themselves so that learning can continue at home.

However, in order to address the question of opportunity costs for parents as well as financial sustainability itself, we believe that it is important to enhance these child care centers with built-in development and economic opportunities for the parents themselves. Combined with a modular design, affordability would be further improved.


Modular Child Care Centers, integrated with Opportunities for Parents

The C3 solution essentially consists of 3 key components, namely: 1) a child care & play program, 2) a parenting education program, and 3) job training opportunities, all of which are based in a modular facility to better manage and lower costs. Each facility will be based in a rural village and will accommodate 30-50 children (to-be-confirmed), as as well as an accompanying parent.

  1. Child Care & Play (Core Module #1) - consists of providing children a safe place to play, develop, eat, and sleep. Key UNICEF development activities will include: Talking & Thinking, Moving & Doing, Feelings & Self Learning, and Getting Along with Others. These activities will be coordinated by by paid-instructors. Educational Toys will also be made available to children, which parents will also learn how to make.

  2. Parenting Education (Core Module #2) - consists of providing opportunities for parents to play with their children in supervised classes. Furthermore, parents will have the opportunity to learn additional information regarding health, nutrition, hygiene etc in dedicated lecture rooms for parents. Accordingly, parents will be better equipped to continue teaching their children while at home.

  3. Job Training (Optional Module #1) - Key center related activities such as food cooking, clothes washing, toy making etc, will be open for parents to join. Supervisors will help with training, and once center activities have been provided, any excess services or products can be sold to external customers. For example, once a parent has finished washing his or her family clothes, additional clothes from other families not using the center can be washed for an extra fee.

  4. And more optional modules!


Crowdfunding Village Game, achieving Stretch Goals and Beyond

Start-up costs of the child care center will be modular, and will initially be crowd-funded through popular online / mobile village games. We believes that gamers, if given the option, would be willing to supplement their existing virtual good purchases with  physical purchases. For example, when a player is building a village, there would be a new option to purchase a “child care center” for a fee. However, a portion of the fees would actually be used to build a module of a “real” child care center in a rural village. Examples of popular village games include Smurfs Village (Beeline), and FarmVille (Zynga), where we believe adding this feature could be an interesting win-win CSR initiative.

Running costs will mainly consist of teacher salaries, electricity, and food & water etc. While we will aim to keep these costs low, we think it is important that parents continue to (partially) pay for the service, as this will encourage proper use of the service. However, parents will have the opportunity to pay with their “time” by helping run various activities in the centre, such as cooking food and washing clothes. Any excess activities can be sold to external customers for a fee, which can further offset running costs.

We are also following another +Acumen course titled “Financial Sustainability: the Numbers Side of Social Enterprise”, and will be using that methodology to fine-tune the business model and to ensure the idea is financially viable.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

The Child Care Centre started with a facility-based model, targeting children aged 3-6 years, with a focus on school readiness. Higher funding goals will make feeding and hygiene interventions also be incorporated for all young children from birth through age eight years. As well as outreach services to target 'hard-to-reach' populations, such as nomadic or indigenous children, from birth through age eight years. The initial target market will be Nigeria given that it is the country with the largest projected increases in numbers of both birth and child population. Once successful, we would look replicate the program across Africa and then India.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

In order to test our idea, we would like 1) research the cost structure existing child care centers in Africa, 2) build a more detailed to-scale model including modular features in LEGO, and 3) make an one page website to visualise and pitch the concept to collect feedback.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

It would be helpful to have advice from experts or organisations have the experiences in setting up and running a child care centre. Sharing knowledge with us about legal, logistics, grants and resources to operate the crowdfunding platform would also be very helpful.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am looking for partners that might be interested in taking this idea forward in their communities.


Join the conversation:

Photo of André Santos Correia

Great visual communication, Lego was very useful in this idea. You definitely covered well this challenge and I think children will benefit from it a lot. The sustainability part is the best, these countries should have those concerns too, too bad these are the most affected by our lack of sustainable behaviour.

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