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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 Wekesa,

I looked at your profile and love that you are working to address similar issues in western Kenya, very exciting and I'm sure challenging! You are absolutely right, it's difficult to create a system like this when everyone is in survival mode. It sounds like the communities you are working with are in a similar "fend for yourself" mentality, would you agree? I've seen a similar approach to my proposed model implemented successfully to address education-focused initiatives in communities outside of Nairobi (Rongai, Eldoret, Ngong, Dagoretti) and it certainly has taken some time. I would love to know more about your personal experiences because what I've learned is that the initial relationship building is key to creating these community led teams. Seeking members of the community who can get on board with the potential benefits and outcomes of a model like this and commit to leading and influencing the community in this initiative is absolutely possible but does not happen overnight. Also, every community is a little different so no solution is going to be exactly the same from one to another. The critical component of this is to have the community members themselves name the issues rather than coming in and assigning a litany of problems that we see as outsiders. When issues are named, community members feel more called to take ownership of the process to implement change. Many east Africans are stuck in government systems where they are not encouraged to think for themselves. Being a part of sparking that fire of empowerment is what creates a pulse for a community to take charge of their own challenges. Would love your insight as you seem to be immersed in a similar setting.

Hi Meena,

Thanks so much for your response and for directing me to the experience map. I will definitely use this as a tool. In thinking of a name I keep going back to imagery of the dwellings here which are constructed with hand made bricks and very thick mortar joints. Maybe there is symbolism in the mortar that holds the bricks together to create a structure which provides a living and growing space and a shelter? Perhaps a name that identifies with mortar? I will need to think about it more but that's just an initial idea. Definitely would love any suggestions from other members of the Open IDEO community!