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Use of mobile technology to improve nutrition and early childhood development among children 0-5 years

As TTC, our idea is to provide parents and caretakers with information on nutrition and early childhood development for children ages 0-5 through SMS and interactive voice response (voice messages) in their local language. Sending and receiving messages will be free of charge for the end users (parents and caretakers). Sauda is a mother of 6, 3 of whom are between the 0 - 5 years. Every month she receives messages advising her about the right kind of food to feed her children to ensure they grow strong and healthy. These messages are in the local language which she understands and the foods can all be locally accessed. She can easily share this information with other mothers in her community

Photo of Damalie Wasukira
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With the help of experts in nutrition and early childhood developlment, we would develop content development i.e. the messages. We would then provide the community with a short code and key word (for example send CHILD to 8282) to enroll willingly and this would be done through radio spot ads and dj mentions, PR materials and through village health teams. This way a data base will be created. Using our Sms platform we shall then create a schedule for sending out messages for example 4 messages a month (2 SMS 2 IVR)
Evaluation will be done every quarter by requesting the end users to send feedback on the SMS platform on the impact of the messages in their lives and the lives of their children.

We think this idea will succeed because atleast each household has a mobile phone. Also because information will be localized to fit the context of the communitywhich will enable parents and caretakers relate to it. For example to make sure that your baby is growing well, tie a string around their arm to monitor their growth; if the string becomes tight then your chid is growing well.

the questions we would have for the community;
  • Phone ownership: who owns the phone in the household? This will enable us to tailor the messages for the recepient for example, if the phone is owned by a husband the they will receive this message, "Do not forget to buy silver fish today for your child. Silver fish are rich in iron and will help your child to develop strong bones"
  • What is the level of literacy? If the levels of literacy in the community are low then we shall preferably use voice messages as opposed to SMS.

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

This idea is meant to benefit parent, caretakers and children between the ages of 0-5 in Eastern Uganda (Namutumba and Kamuli districts) We have chosen this region because of the high child mortality rate in this region due to malnutrition.

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

We can test this idea by doing a baseline survey in 50 household in one sub county. 1. The survey would be to test the assumption that each household owns a mobile phone and phone ownership. 2. Through the village health team, we would sensitize people about the idea and ask them to enroll at will with the key by sending it to the short code. This would enable us to evaluate the community's interest in the idea. 3. .We would also send out quiz messages to measure the literacy levels in order to decide whether to use SMS or voice messages.

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

We would need expert advice from child nutritionists and experts in early childhood development.

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

  • Yes. I am ready and interested in testing this idea and making it real in my community.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Guy Viner

Interesting stuff, Damiele! Perhaps you might consider helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by describing some example scenarios which describe user journeys through some of the proposed activities you've outlined. Check this example: where a few simple scenarios were created in an attempt to explain the goodness on the idea in a human-centered way. (You can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right.)

Photo of Guy Viner

And here's a friendly tip: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with. Think skills, experience, passions & wit! Looking forward to seeing more of you across conversations on this challenge...

Photo of Damalie Wasukira

Thanks alot Guy!!