Matt Feryo: Blog Post #7-8

Ten non-obvious assumptions about your target customers (or organizations) that you need to validate:

  1. Children are not the only age group in Sierra Leone that are suffering from malnutrition. Most mothers have a very nutrient deficient diet and thus do not supply many nutrients to their babies when they are breast feeding.
  2. Most families in Sierra Leone live off about $2.00 a day and thus would be willing to spend about $0.15 on a nutritious product for their children.
  3. Rice is a part of almost every meal in Sierra Leone.
  4. Water is not readily available for families. Nor is it safe to drink/cook with, without boiling first.
  5. Most mothers travel to a market on a daily basis to acquire food for their families.
  6. Assuming that mothers like the product, they would talk about our product to other mothers and the product would become popular through word of mouth.
  7. Other products such as bennimix and plumpy nut are not widely used in Sierra Leone.
  8. Children would be willing to eat a pudding product.
  9. The taste of our bouillon cube is satisfactory.
  10. Families would report to World Hope the success of the product (i.e. are children healthier).

Ten hypotheses about your project that you need to test during fieldwork:

  1. Mothers are willing to travel to the market everyday or nearly everyday to buy our product.
  2. Children will enjoy the taste of our product.
  3. Mothers would be willing to use our product even though it is different from their traditional meals that they have been cooking.
  4. Mothers would be willing to start using our bouillon cube instead of traditional magi cubes.
  5. People in Sierra Leone would be able to make our product given the proper equipment.
  6. The ingredients required for our recipes are cheap and readily available so that the product remains at an affordable cost.
  7. In the warm climate, it will be important to test to see how long our products last before they spoil.
  8. Women would be available and willing to work and cook to manufacture our product.
  9. The packaging supplies could be easily imported to Sierra Leone at an affordable cost.
  10. Coconut milk can be easily manufactured from coconuts in Sierra Leone at a low cost.

What do you think you bring to your team? How has your perception of your own strengths and weaknesses changed over the course of the class? Please be specific.

I think that I bring positive energy to my team. Although cliche, I really believe that negativity is contagious and that nothing productive comes from a negative attitude. I try my best to maintain a positive attitude in meetings and in conversation. When it seems like we have come to a dead end in our project or something that we are working on turns out won’t be possible, it is really important to analyze that mistake and learn from it. I like to look at the positive side of every situation. I think that throughout my experience in this class I have developed better public speaking skills. Also, I think that most students, including myself, are used to problems being solved with a definitive answer. Something that I have found difficult in this class is that there is no correct answer to a problem. In fact, there is not even a correct way to go about addressing the problem! There are solutions and so many paths to these solution, but it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to address real life problems and even still the solution you were hoping for may not come as you were expecting it. There are definitely areas that I hope to continue to grow as a member of this class as well. I have always worked very well with others and would consider myself an active member of every group that I am a part of. In my group currently, I think that we all mesh together very well and act as leaders simultaneously. Public speaking is something that I still consider to be one of my weaknesses and I hope to continue to grow in this aspect so that it becomes easier and more natural.

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