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Hi Chris and Bettina,

Awesome ideas thank you for sharing! Chris, you're absolutely on point with tying this to the model that One Acre Fund implements. I have been following the work of OAF for a while (even interviewed for a position in Kenya with you guys last year!) I think the trick here is to retrofit the merry go round micro finance model, something that is a an economic focused project with proven results and financial incentives, and selling the long term benefits of a zero-to-five focused initiative. Bettina, I love the idea of an incubator system because it is equally as important to provide support and education for parents as it is for the development of their young children. It seems like a multi-layered system that first engages a leadership group and then engages a parent support group is necessary to establish before implementing a learning structure for the children themselves. I'm not going to lie, it would take some time to get all of this going. Chris, can you speak to any of the growing pains experienced by OAF when you guys began working with east African communities to engage and commit to the project?

Hi Stan,

Thanks so much for your comment! I absolutely believe this model is an effective way to address a handful of issues from nutrition to parent education and overall childhood development. The trick is that Africa is not like America. Things like this take time. Africans do not respond well to a "quick fire" implementation, building the relationships with people in these communities and providing hands-on support before taking off the training wheels is the most crucial part of creating a sustainable model. I took a look at your profile and think it's wonderful that you are finding ways to use software as a tool. I absolutely agree that it is the most efficient way to get information but the tricky part that we would need to brainstorm about is how to provide it in a low-tech community. I don't think providing devices is necessarily the answer because people see that as something they can sell for money to support their families (and understandably so). I know that printed material is taking about 10 steps back but I wonder how we could combine your solution with one that would be less technology dependent? Would love to keep in touch and talk more about ways to work through these ideas to come to a great solution together!

Hi Kairen,

I have had a little bit of experience with this but not quite in this capacity yet. When I was living in Boston, I took part in several trainings that focused on a similar model structure. I also led a project with this model creating a leadership team of young adults in Boston to address the support needs of adult students in a low-income neighborhood in the city. I have to admit that particular project, being my first, was not successful. However, I learned the most from personally experiencing and shadowing the work of a fantastic non profit in Kenya called TATUA. For about 3 years they have been taking on community-focused projects that are targeted to tackle a different set of social justice issues. The organization itself and the leadership teams they create in targeted communities is 100% comprised of Kenyans which I love because it's not a group of westerners coming in and calling the shots.