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Create a system of community-based ownership and accountability for child development

I live in a low-income village in Uganda and know that the strongest aspect of the community is how its members support one another. Generating a plan which provides tools to empower the community's people to lead the solution implementation themselves has the potential to be more sustainable than an outsider attempting to give instructions for success . Develop a community-based leadership team that assigns families to partner with one another or in small teams. Teams or pairs of families with children agree to host regular learning-focused gatherings on a rotating schedule so the pressure is not on a single parent (often the case) but on a team of parents to be accountable for the early development of a small group of children.

Photo of Laura Nichols
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When we look at ways to promote progress and support in a community, we have to remember that each one is unique. Their identity in terms of history, culture, and values differ slightly from other surrounding communities and often, is all they have to define their lives by. Speaking from personal experience, when westerners come into African communities to address social justice issues, the dignity of who the community is as a unit and as individuals must be maintained. The strongest success stories I've seen in East Africa involve a structured plan that is adopted by a community-based leadership group. We play the most effective role by supporting local leaders in implementing the plan of action themselves. 

Programmig questions:
-What is the history, culture, and values of the community?
-How many children fall between the 0-5 age range annually?
-What are the current strategies for early childhood developement (if any)?
-What are the challenges that the community currently faces in terms of resources, awareness, and support?
-How can the potential outcomes of successful early childhood development benefit and sustain the community in the long-term?

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

My contributing experience and intent of this idea are focused on the Ugandan and Kenyan communities I've visited over the past year and a half. I have seen what they are capable of when westerners step away from the "hand-out" approach and allow them the space and resources to become leaders themselves.

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

I would spend a full week collecting programming data and assembling a local task force, spend the next three weeks implementing three pilot teams of parents/children with twice a week, rotating learning-focused gatherings. And wrap up by comparing stories, strategies, and challenges faced in the quick-fire test.

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

The idea needs an actual plan of action in place. Further collaboration and feedback from the OpenIDEO community as well as bringing on partners to help map out logistics and target a specific community in East Africa for the quick-fire test run.

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.


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Photo of Muideen Bakare

Great, great idea. Quite interesting. I love it!

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