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Pop-up Trash Libraries! [Updated 11/09/14]

Most communities have young children, people who are experts at fixing and building things and lots of objects that can be repurposed (empty containers, articles of clothing, etc.). Pop-up Trash Libraries bring all three together and create an opportunity for learning!

Photo of Chioma Ume
21 16

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My idea is a_________________ [campaign/app/service/program/online platform/toolkit/social enterprise/etc.]. It tackles the problem of _____________[short problem statement]. It addresses the problem by __________[what your idea looks like in practice].

Trash Libraries is a community program where children are taught how to build things by skilled local community members using readily available materials. It tackles the problem of a lack of spaces designated to foster creativty and play for children in low income neighborhoods. It will also educate parents by demonstrating how to set up opportunities for their children to play in situations with limited resources. It addresses the problem by leveraging the skills of local community members and shared community spaces parents already frequent in order to create an educational experience for children aged zero to five and their older siblings.

DESCRIPTION AND IMPLEMENTATION

Children build skills, independence and problem solving abilities from creative play, but parents with many other pressing needs may not know how to encourage this behavior. 

Pop-up Trash Libraries would set up in places where families often gather (e.g. markets, community centres, popular stores, etc.). They would be staffed by local 'handymen' or 'handywomen' on a rotating basis. These adults will be trained on some basics of early childhood learning and will help children dream up and complete projects that turn 'trash' into toys.

The library would operate on the take one, leave one principle. Each child would have to bring at least one item to exchange for another. This will encourage cooperation, creativity and allow for the library to be easily set up and moved.

The idea might succeed because it is simple to administer, celebrates the skills of community members and taps into childrens' natural creativty.

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

Young children and their older siblings would be the principal beneficiaries of this idea. They would have the opportunity to explore creative play under the guidance and supervision of a knowledgable adult facilitator. [Update 11/09/14] After conducting interviews in Osina, Nigeria, I realized that the the community was not very excited about this idea because there are few young children in their village. This inspired me to interview people in neighboring Owerri, where I now plan to implement this idea.

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

If I had one month to test out my idea, I would: 1. Ask my neighbors who they turn to to fix broken items or help with building things. Then I'd explain my idea to these people and ask if they are interested in being involved. 2. Research some simple patterns for items that can be made out of 'trash' that I can share with the volunteer facilitators. 3. Identify a store or piece of land adjacent to a popular community gathering spot and get their permission to set up a Pop-up Trash Library at their location.

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

It would be helpful to have some advice from experts in child development about what kind of tasks/projects are age-appropriate for children from 0-5. [Update 11/09/14] I could really use help with identifying the types of assumptions I should test in my prototype. I would also appreciate suggestions about how to make my idea clearer and easier for readers to understand.

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

  • This idea is meant to inspire. I hope someone else takes it on!

21 comments

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Photo of dr klin
Team

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Photo of Ayman Hanafi
Team

Yes Chioma, this is a very resourceful idea. While doing this, it means that the area is being cleaned up which is beneficial to all. Seeing the success of this clean-up, would surely inspire people to give up space for a "trash library" Once the project is up and running and they see the finished products, they will be proud of their creativity. This will help to set up more thrash centres. Best of luck!

Photo of DiemTien Le
Team

I think this idea is feasible and impactful!

I love the it uses so many existing needs and resources, and combines them together into a useful product (trash, need for creating, stores as location)

It ultimately builds a sense of community and could be a sustainable model with enough interest

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

Hi Chioma, I really like the idea. Maybe instead of trash, children could also try to use anything found in nature. I remember that my parents and I used to make little figures out of chestnuts....here the link to some pictures:

https://www.google.es/search?q=kastanien+basteln&biw=1366&bih=657&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=MzxmVLGXD432asOsgYAE&sqi=2&ved=0CCAQsAQ

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Tino, that's a great idea! Especially with the number of ideas on the platform that involve parks and play spaces - it seems like an opportunity to capitalize on. You might be interested in checking out these ideas: https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/ideas/the-full-service-urban-children-s-park and https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/ideas/community-playgrounds-safe-environments-for-play

Photo of Tino Elgner
Team

thank you Chioma, will def have a look :)

Photo of Rubina Khadka
Team

Gone through ur idea. i loved the concept but can't we use other things than trash?
what do u think about my idea??
https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/ideas/conducting-parents-training-workshops-on-income-generating-activities-along-with-parental-education-on-prenatal-health-immunization-exclusive-breast-feeding-and-weaning-psychological-aspect-and-good-hygiene
any feedbacks!!!

Photo of Khushwant Kasba
Team

The local school near would be a good place to start, speak to the head, and explain your plan, and see if they would like to teach their children about recycling.

And then link it to the place where you wish to put your plan into action.

See if you could link the community together and talk on a wider community of trades people about recycling.

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Thanks for the tips, Kushwant! You might be interested in checking out the ideas in our Refinement phase - lot's of them could use help thinking about how they might easily test their ideas with users! Check it out here: https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/refinement/

Photo of Uve Kindia
Team

Well done, I really like this conpet. Showing what could be done with recycled goods, its almost like having a double use. Well explained and easy to understand

Photo of Masheyat Chowdhury
Team

This is a great idea, and the photograph explains it really well. I think recycled waste is the best way to approach this as these are young children and therefore they get bored of things really easily. Well done!

Photo of Mary Cornfield
Team

I think this idea is fantastic! Young children are not afraid of being wrong, and are always exploring and looking for new things. This would be a great way to boost their creativity and reward thinking differently.

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Mary I love that sentence: 'young children are not afraid of being wrong' - that's something that we should all keep in mind as we try and come up with new ways to support the parents of young children – we shouldn't be afraid to dream a little!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

In terms of your call for clues on what kinds of things could be made from trash, you might like to check out this Inspiration post form a previous challenge: https://openideo.com/challenge/how-might-we-increase-the-availability-of-affordable-learning-tools-educational-for-children-in-the-developing-world/inspiration/turning-trash-into-toys/

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Thanks Meena!!

Photo of An Old Friend
Team

Hi Chioma,

I really like the concept and I think that the age-appropriate tasks/projects from children of 0-5 can be works with our idea as well.
I also wanted to know if it will be hygienically safe for children to play with as there is the risk of diseases spreading is more in re-usable trash products?

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Hi Eleftheria! This idea is one meant to inspire the community as an example - but you bring up a good point - we definitely don't want people getting sick when repurposing materials! A preliminary set of questions might be about the resources available in the community where it would be prototyped in ... and then how to get the message out about what materials are safe/appropriate for play...

Photo of International Youth Empowerment Network
Team

Chioma interesting way to get children more creative. When we run ECD and psycho social projects in northern Uganda, mothers made toys out of plants, bottle tops, plastic and other readily available. Children played with these toys as their mothers engaged in group discussions on child care. So your idea is spot on!

Photo of Chioma Ume
Team

Wow! Great to hear that this idea is one that's already in action - what other creative psycho social projects have you encountered in your work?

Photo of Maurizio Bricola
Team

Great! Leveraging the handyman and handywomen knowledge and skills still present in developing communities is great. As well some of the trash might be even used to build small community wind mills for providing school (or village) lighting or other "low" useful tools for households and farming. Just thinking about a way to involve schools and tvet as well

Photo of wekesa zab
Team

Chioma awasome idea,
Wow.. U got me thinking more , though u were forming a team here to get it to life. Wen I was a kid .. When My big brothers were 10- 12 .. Must have been 3,5.. Had a "toys layer", a repurposed shallow pit (from brick making) .. They stored away used tins and when they got time out of school made toys for us .. It was fun but they grew up..
Totally works ..