Multiplier Effect for Positive Behavior Change
A social enterprise that tackles the problem of ECD between the ages of 1-5 by providing economic opportunity for mothers to take advantage of the multiplier effect, as well as providing relevant training programs for mothers.
Overview: To address the problem of a lack of proper early childhood development (ECD) in developing countries my organization plans to look farther than putting a band aid on the issue by attacking the root cause: extreme poverty. Our organization plans to provide economic opportunity for mothers with young children by training them to make cognitively stimulating children toys out of local materials that can be sold via an online shop to mass markets in the USA and Europe. For every toy sold via a website, a toy will be given to an artisan mother or to a local early childhood care center in their area. Training for the women will not only include how to make the toys but also why toys are made in a certain way and even more ways to engage their young children in order to achieve proper cognitive development. We will pay mothers fair (above local market) wages. Studies have shown that women are in control of household funds children benefit exponentially more than when men hold the funds. In Kenya, studies showed that children were 17% taller due to receiving better nutrition and in Brazil children showed a 20% increase in survival rate. Women act as a multiplier effect within their communities by first investing in their children’s schooling and healthcare, as well as community improvement projects. Just by employing mothers and providing them with both economic opportunity and power we hope to see the multiplier effect in action in the communities we work with, thereby benefiting children. Adding in the component of training means that our artisan partners will receive direct trainings on ECD and be able to disseminate these ideas throughout their communities. Money earned from sale of toys will allow our operations to be less reliant on grant money in the start up phase and eventually be self sustaining.
Feasibility & Protoype: The artisan market is currently exploding and seems it will continue to grow. Currently most artisan social enterprises focuses on apparel, jewelry and home goods but there seems to be a gap in products made for children. The success shown in the apparel industry proves that this could be a replicable model for the childrens market. It addresses the need of a lack of economic opportunity for women in developing countries, especially those living in urban areas or slums.
Scalability: Artisan products are currently being sources from Africa, India and Latin America. I see this being able to scaled to any culture but would be best suited to those with cultural heritage of handicraft making. (i.e Kenyan Masai artisans, Guatemalan fabric) Training programs and items made can be changed to fit a different cause or circumstance.
Collaborative: The idea involves stakeholders directly, and will also include local staff members. The idea can be adjusted to adapt to the needs of artisan partners or to fit market needs. We hope that this idea can really be driven by our stakeholders in terms of training programs (monthly/biweekly, ECD, healthcare, education, etc)
Human Centered: From my experience I have learned that mothers in developing countries want to provide as best for their child as possible. It is a misconception that a mother doesn't want her child to thrive or that money will be spent elsewhere. Mothers I have worked with first put their money earned towards their childrens nutrition, healthcare and education.
Innovative: We sure think so! It directly involves stakeholders, address not only the exact issue of ECD but also the root issue of poverty. It also raises awareness for issue on a larger scale which can fuel future innovations.