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Radio community for parents and children

Photo of Thiago Silva Viana

Written by

The project consists of a service that can bring parents and children together through simple activities transmitted by radio. On the initial approach, families will receive a package (Gleebox) with tools for step-by-step activities that can teach children, through their parents, about important responsibilities and improving their relationships.
The fight to survive and stay alive is the most important issue in Congo, and children are one of the most affected victims in the country. The issues in the country can not be solved with a simple solution, but it is possible to provide materials, information and opportunities for parents, and strengthen  the relationship with their children, increasing children’s life expectancy.

The Gleebox project is an idea to spread educational information that can engage parents, kids, and the community to participate with "Step-by-step" activities that will help them improving their individual and group skills. Initial contact can be made by a Non-governmental organization through churches, schools and the elders of the villagers. According on the activity the NGO will send the community messages through a project’s special radio along with a leaflet with visual information to help on each step. Those steps can be set according to what kind of activities they are making.

The project would need an initial approach by a NGO, where they give the project’s directions and also give the families the Gleebox, containing a leaflet, materials necessary for the first activity, and a wind-up radio if needed. If the households don’t own a radio, we will provide one in the Gleebox. For the next activities, different materials and tools are going to be provided inside the Gleeboxes. It is important to mention that the radio is going to be the main tool for the project, and it should be given only once.

The product initially contains a project’s radio, a leaflet and the necessary basic tools for the activity

With an activity like gardening, for example, the Gleebox project could give them seeds and tools alongside the radio and leaflets. This activity can teach children about responsibility, discipline and also give them the possibility of a beautiful reward in the end of the planting. It is an activity that can engage them and catch their interest.

Visual guide for an origami cup that can be used as a pot for seeding soil

Seeds package visual language prototype

Visual guide for the step-by-step at nutrition and gardening

Gleebox prototype

The goal is to improve the relationship and responsibilities for both parents and children. The activities are a method to get there. It is a moment of sharing experiences and creating emotional connections.

The information provided is going to be related to educational tools, methods and little lessons that can, alongside the main activities, help the parents develop important skills for their living, and also improve their relationship with their children.
  • Develop kid’s skills
  • Get parents and children together;
  • The families can use their activity results for their own;
  • They can develop an habit of learning by their parents example;
  • Children and parents can learn about responsibilities, patience and care;
  • Handcrafting skills;
    For this idea to work we depend on NGO’s to help. It is a delicate situation that need proper procedure and approach. The project would also need appropriate sponsorship for the development of the radio, leaflets and the necessary tools.

    The NGO will also be at the community center once a month. There will be a place to get more information, share experience, and solve problems related to the project. There will also be meetings weekly and/or monthly, so the NGO can get feedback for the families to improve and make great changes in the project.
Others examples of activities:
  • Creating toys
  • Water purification
  • Health care
  • Cooking

Why radio?
The radio is easily accessible and can be a useful tool for approaching those communities because it is cheap and gives the possibility to communicate easily by audio. This way you can reach a vast amount of people, including the illiterate audience all at once. It would also be possible for the local community to share their experiences among themselves.

The information would be given in French and Luba-Kasai language, which are the two main spoken languages at the targeted communities. Not only will the broadcast be on the radios at home, but it could also be announced in schools, places where there are lots of people, such as markets.

The radio shows can be broadcasted at a specific time, daily for each week, so that it can reach more families in the community. It could be aired at a specified time when the families are generally together.

Gleebox podcast script prototype
             The following script were made as a prototype to be tested with a real audience:

Introduction with exciting music
Hello everybody, welcome to Gleebox Podcast! 
It is our first program and if you are listening to us at this moment it means that you already are with your Gleebox at home! Which makes us very, very happy because you choose to be part of our project, and now we will be part of your daily routine... And our intention is to build a better environment to help your infant grow up healthily and safely.
Parents, bring your children closer to the radio! And don`t  forget to bring your Glee box with you! We will give you a few minutes to get prepared... 
Start music
Ok, today we are learning about gardening and the benefits to your family.
Gardening is the practice of growing and cultivating plants as part of horticulture. We can plant root vegetables, leaf vegetables, fruits, and herbs for consumption, or learn a lot of skills through gardening, as well as teaching the children about the ecosystem around them.
Are you ready? If the kids are ready, clap your hands! Ok, sounds good! Let’s start! 
Look at the other items inside the box. 
You will find inside the box one gardening leaflet, four square pieces of paper, one step by step guide on how to build your own pot and also four seed packages to plant. 
You can use the leaflet to help you to follow the audio instructions by us. Make sure you do it step by step with your children, and remember to praise the efforts.
You are now going to help your children creating a pot for the seed, made of paper, which is environmentally friendly.
Using your leaflet as a guide, here is the first step for making the pots:

Take one of the square sheets of paper from inside the box and then help your children to fold the paper in half, right above the dotted line, connecting numbers 1 to 3, like the drawing on your leaflet. Very good!
Now you have got a triangle. The next step is to connect number 4 to number 5 allways folding at the dotted line.
Do the same way connecting 2 to 6. It looks nice! Almost finished now!
Fold 1 to 7 at the dotted line, turn it around and connect 3 to 8 above the dotted line again.
Now, ask your children if they can open the pot! If not, use your fingers to assist them! You need to place your fingers inside the pot and open it up! Praise your child! Now you have got a pot! Congratulations!
Personalize the pot with your child’s name or ask them to draw something! Make it look nice!

Now the next thing you are going to need is soil. The soil is one of the most important part of the plantation! It represents the nourishment for the plant to grow. Children need nourishment too! To make them grow healthy and strong.
Now go get some fresh soil, kids! Parents, you can ask your children to go look for it somewhere close to your home! You can go along with them to give them some advices and encouragement!
We are going to play a music for a while! 
Presenter can wait for a few seconds or minutes until they comeback
Now you are back! Nice work!
Look at the leaflet and explain to the children the next step! You can find 4 different packages of seed in each Gleebox. Let’s start planting sweetcorn. Fill half the pot with soil. Take out two seeds from the package. Put the seeds on top of the soil and then place more soil on top. Always explain to your children what and why you are doing this for. Ok! Lets do it! Well done! Praise the children again! Make sure they are understanding what they are doing. Are they enjoing themselves? Are they learning? 
Background music
We need to provide energy for it to grow. The source of this energy is sunlight! You need to find a good place to leave the pot to flourish. Ask your children: Where would it be a good place near the sun? Maybe you could leave it on your window where your children can see it, or somewhere outside near the house. 
Repeat the same steps for the other packages of seeds. Always teaching your children about the lifecycle of the plant. You can show them examples of what these seeds will grow into. 
Dont forget to water your seeds. Listen to your radio for more instructions on how to water your plants. 
Sound of children clapping!
If you could not complete one or more of these steps come share your doubts and experiences on our monthly gleebox meeting at the community center!
Closure music

Another way to collect feedback from the community is through mobile SMS messaging service that could be provided by the NGO. Mobile phone communication has grown rapidly. About 50% of the population have access to mobile phones nowadays.

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

This project aims to create an engagement between parents and their children to cultivate various activities, one being gardening. Parents and children engaging in activities at the same time can encourage the children to get more involved in learning new activities, while contributing to the local environment. Kananga, a capital province of Kasaï-Occidental could be a good starting point for this proposal because it offers great environmental benefits. It is also far from the centre of civil conflicts, which means less internally displaced people in this region. The city of Kananga can provide good opportunities for developing different kinds of activities, such as gardening or cooking.

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

This idea could be applied in Allotments locally in the villages. At the beginning, families in there can be asked to participate in this idea. The project organization should contact local radio stations to transmit the instructions for the communities. Using Allotment gardening is possible to take a place to apply the idea. Corn could be a good crop to make the first test, it can take from 60 to 100 days to reach harvest depending upon variety and the amount of heat during the growing season. There would be workshops with the NGO’s, initially on a weekly basis, then on a monthly basis to make hand tools for this gardening exercise. These workshops could also give information about gardening products, such as the seeds that they are using. Most villages have an elderly community, who would act as a conduit to the villagers. This idea will be tested using local UK School parents, to see how to grow food. The Children will be 5 year old or nurseries. All children will be volunteers. The test item would be given to them, consisting of a seed package with visual instructions system, and we would observe their understanding of the instructions. Also how well they interact with each other and the people around them in a small allotment.

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

We would require NGO locally in association with local radio stations and churches communities to come together and assist our programme. One example of a NGO that we could work with is Tools for Self Reliance (TSR). It is based in the UK and their approach is to focus on the artisan sector in rural communities. Okapi is the only humanitarian radio in Congo. It can be a powerful ally for this cause. We could use their stations to broadcast our projects programmes on a regular basis for the local communities.

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 Adriano Souza Filho

I am really proud for meet The platform Open IDEO, and prouder for being in this team! During the work we saw a lot of ideas and hard work! I hope that these Brilliant ideas help people and inspire more good thoughts!

Photo of Felipe Bottrel

Congratulations to the team for all the effort you have put on this project. The concept is really good, and the way you have presented with the packaging prototypes and a demo transmission is fabulous. I think it worth pushing a little bit further, and try to make it real. Many villages and families can have better lifes because of this!

Photo of Khushwant Kasba

Thank for the complements’ the team is very happy to hear your view, due our comments the team will talk late, to see if the team can move forward on the project.

Photo of Petrit Kasabaqi

This is an amazing idea, I really like the simple yet effective design of the kit which makes it easy to understand and the range of colours which bring it to life. One additional benefit you could add to the radio is that it could broadcast live dangers or threats to warn local communities, I know from my research (I'm looking into Congo as well) that there is ongoing conflict in the region and this is one of the main reasons why low income communities and 0-5 year olds cannot thrive. I understand this happens less in Kananga but it is still possible and this is one way you can use your platform if there is ever a need to. Also have a look at our idea (low cost life hacks book), we were looking into how we can utilize local resources found in Congo to make life hacks. Maybe you could also use or recycle local materials such as plastic to make your flower pots? this could make them more durable as well which means they last longer and can benefit more people. what will the actual kit and visual guides be made out of? We did some research and found tyvek, a super durable and super lightweight material to be a good alternative to paper. Although it is more expensive we found the benefits to be worth the cost in the long run. This also means once people have understood the guides they can pass them on to others.

Have a look at this kickstarter which will give you a better understanding of tyvek-

Anyway well done so far. Your prototypes are awesome and the fact that you've made the radio a wind up radio shows you've researched this idea well and thought about how those in low income communities, specifically Kananga, live.

Photo of Marion Caillat

thank you for your comment. About broadcast dangers or warning informations it's not our aim. I spend a lot of time listening french Congo Radio and they already give this informations, everyday. We really want to propose an educational and playful tool for this community, they already have tons of informations about their country situation.
And thanks a lot for the link about the Tyvek, I never heard talk about that but it really interested me !!

Photo of Ariadne Helen Quintino

Great idea, team! I totally appreciate the idea of working with this media, so people who doesn't have a high literate can be part of it and learn as well. The prototype looks amazing. It is attractive what is also important to get people involved. I'm not sure if you specified the materials that the kit would be made. So that could be a interesting point to work with. Love the idea! Congratulations!

Photo of Marion Caillat

Thanks for the encouragement ! No we didn't talk about the materials, but I think it probably made with recycling materials and we can also propose the idea of when a family finished an activity they can bring back the box to have another one and in this way reduce the waste.

Photo of Ayman Hanafi

This sounds ideal Thiago. It's so realistic. Radio transmission would really excite and interest people. To ensure that the idea you are promoting catches on, maybe, it would be an idea to appoint some educated or people in high places to direct the people in the right direction. Getting people started will really progress the community, getting people interested in planting, growing and eventually providing nutritious food for the families. The idea will improve and progress for generations to come. Children love the idea of getting their hands dirty and all the more fun having a visual, real end product and something to eat. Fantastic!

Photo of Charlotte Norris

Really well thought out idea, with some great prototypes to give us a clear understanding of how this concept would work in reality. The 2D to 3D flower pot stencils dont sit flat on a level surface though. Perhaps try altering the folds so the base will sit on its own. The seed packs and instruction manuals are fantastic. Radios may be made of materials that could be put to better use in other ways though. How about making them out of recycled waste materials from local areas? Good luck moving this forward guys!

Photo of Charlotte Norris

ps. I will add that it's impressive how you guys came together and created this. The prototypes of the seed packs were really cool!!!! Great stuff!

Photo of Evelin Petry

Thank you for your comment, Charlotte Norris, well observed! We are looking for a different origami alternative for flower pot, something that is simple to fold, and easy to parents and children understand through the instruction manual and the radio.
About the waste material to produce radios is quite interesting as well, we had not thought about this alternative yet. This could even be a previous GleeBox activity, creating a first contact between the NGO that would support the project and the community.
Thank you again for your ideas :)

Photo of Divya Hirani

I think we got the roughly the same idea.. but does the local area have a waste land where they can get so they can get a bottle and turn it into a pot instead of you giving them origami to create the pot... just a suggestion?

Photo of Khushwant Kasba

Churchs play a big part in the community,

I will look into that aspect of waste land too confirm

Photo of Evelin Petry

Thank you for your feedback, Divya Hirani! That was a very interesting question that we, the group, discussed. We chose origami because it would be a way to encourage interaction between parents and children to develop the paper pot, to be more creative and to do more child interested in participating, creating a playful environment, making them listen to the radio, listen the instructions to learn from them. We really like this option, using wasted materials. An alternative would be in the second stage, the second podcast could make the child put the little plant in a pot like this, or suggest planting it in soil, directly. Thank you for idea, this can be implemented for the next step-by-step.

Photo of Sam Graham

I love this idea. The radio extract is brilliant. I love your way of medium to display your ideas. The fold away pots again is a good idea. How is this all funded?
Well done!

Photo of Khushwant Kasba

Thanks for your kind comments about radio, thanks to our team member Thiago for acting has our DJ, all the team put in a great effort on this project as well .

Photo of Khushwant Kasba

PS not figure out the funding