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A Corner Store on Every Block

Can information about early childhood be shared from unlikely places?

Photo of Rafael Smith
4 18

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Many communities we had the opportunity of visiting during our research share a common resource– corner stores. These corner stores are more than just a place where people go to purchase goods. They often serve as community meeting points and information hubs. Corner stores are high traffic areas with people coming and going at all times of the day. 

While walking through a community in Tanzania, a member of our team mentioned how surprised they were to see a corner stores on every block. Sometimes we would even see two on the same street. This simple insight prompted us to consider the following opportunity: 

How might be leverage corner stores and other resources that exist in almost every community to generate awareness and disseminate high quality information about giving children the best start in life?

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great call, Rafael – and these stores are very common in Indian low-income neighbourhoods too. Also raises an opportunity around corporate sponsorship of early childhood messaging. Corporates in India have thrown themselves behind messaging topics like sanitation at corner stores – perhaps their involvement in early childhood communications could put some financial sustainability behind a far reaching initiative? (In fact corporates have got pretty innovative on how they push social messages in India: http://www.randomspecific.com/edible-branding-reaches-millions )

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Interesting insight Rafael. Meena, I can see these corner stores as a place where parents can get information but I wonder if it could also be a place where kids could also meet and have access to some information - whether a program on TV ( per the discussion you had with Luis https://openideo.com/challenge/zero-to-five/research/role-models-and-goal-setting-a-recipe-for-success ) or maybe some games, or knowing about cool programs they could attend.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Nice thinking,A-L. Might be interesting to think about what could incentivise / motivate corner store owners to support this kind of thing. Essentially they tend to be traders rather than service providers. I wonder if any of your students have contacts in developing countries which they could tap to interview a selection of corner store owners to find out more about their inclinations? Exciting opportunity to explore further...

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Good point Meena. In fact, incentivizing corner store owners might be an issue.
I'll ask around for the interviews.