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Our idea is a program (with social enterprise elements) that tackles the problem of holistic child development through economically and socially empowering networks of mothers, and extending the mother-child empathy to the decision-making and transac

Our idea is a program (with social enterprise elements) that tackles the problem of holistic child development through economically and socially empowering networks of mothers, and extending the mother-child empathy to the decision-making and transac

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Syed commented on Story Stones (updated Jan 15)

This has got be my favourite! Making my own stories spontaneously and sharing them with family and friends were some childhood moments that I still remember and cherish to this day. I really hope to see this on the ground soon! Have you thought about whether adding colour to the stones would enhance the experience?

I see some of you are based in London - have you guys gotten in touch with the East London Bengali community as well? I think you may get a lot of the contacts and answers you're looking for from them.

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Syed commented on Epidemic of Empathy

Thanks Emily, your questions have helped to focus on the main challenges to execute the idea! The prototyping needs some more thought into it to really get it on the field. I was actually hoping to collaborate with other folks here on figuring out the different sub-components. I'm updating the entry with some thoughts on implementation and prototyping, which hopefully will generate inputs from the community here.

This idea could work well through collaboration with the IPA (Innovations for Poverty Action), especially in measuring the impacts of the sub-initiatives, iterating quickly on the field and then scaling up across the network of mother collectives. For making inroads at the beginning a possible partnership could be with GAIN (Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition) and a private sector company (for example, one in the business of fortified foods/daily perishable products like Nestle, P&G, or working with Unilever to expand its Shakti program to other countries). Input from experienced members of the OI community would really help!

The Epidemic of Empathy concept would also benefit from folks subdividing it into three parts to discuss and join in:

1) Building:
- Which organisations might we want to establish relationships with to execute this idea in particular communities. Which companies are interested in tapping markets for low-income customers, and can we contact their marketing teams? The overall setup should help us interact with mothers on a daily basis. Are there any OI members on the field who are interested in executing a quick prototype in the communities they are working in?

2) Measuring and Iterating:
Working with the IPA would probably help a lot here. Question to the OI community - what metrics will help us identify rapidly which parts of the concept are working and which parts aren't, in a very short time period, so that the implementation can be adjusted quickly?

3) Scaling and Sustaining:
What marketing elements from other industries can we get inspiration from to make the idea 'infectious' across communities? How can we rejuvenate the empathy network regularly to sustain a certain level of momentum and energy, that will see us through the first five years of a child?


While constructing the idea, the main motivation has been for helping rural families in survival mode. Would be great to get input from people who are working with these communities to understand implementation challenges.

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Syed commented on Epidemic of Empathy

Hi Guy, thanks for the advice! I've updated the summary to encapsulate the idea better. I've refrained from specifying only nutrition, health or financing as the problems being tackled, as the main idea is hopefully build a platform to help execute vernacular solutions to local challenges, of which nutrition and financing are two.