Blog Post #4

Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like? 

Personally, the design process for me begins with empathizing for the stakeholders I intend to affect and include in this project. Beginning with the children, I want a network that is focused on not only the success of the business venture, but creating a product that kids will enjoy and benefit from nutritionally. In order for this to work, we have to design a product that is culturally appropriate regarding the resources native to Sierra Leone meanwhile taking into consideration how our diets differentiate the sensitivity our taste buds have compared to theirs. From testing out different recipes in the states to gathering the feedback of locals in country, we also have to consider how the product can be integrated into a daily diet and how the product will be delivered / presented from bakery to vendor, and vendor to customer/consumer. By training our bakery and introducing a product that they like and benefits the community, we create a potential form of satisfaction that will motivate the workers to put forth their best effort. For accountability purposes, introducing payment dependent on the yield quality of the products can help instill quality control and effective use of resources. It’s important that when vendors receive the products, they can present something they are proud to sell and has a visual appeal that can attract our target customers/consumers, mothers and their children. Aiding with packaging and preservatives helps with the shelf life our products will have during transport and in the market. The more we can legitimize and commit our supply chain to their job, the less problems we should have with launching the product and the more success we may have spreading and building our clientele.

 

Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them. 

  • Mothers and their kids:
    • Will be the ones using our product the most, even though it’s available to everyone in Sierra Leone
    • Their feedback will be most important
    • Greatest need for product
    • Their feedback will help us make ingredient choices and create successful business and marketing plans 
    •  Main drive/motivation behind our entire project
      • Mothers with children will be approached and asked if they are interested in participating in our research 
      • Children are critical to our research because they are the target audience of the products 
  • Vendors:
    • Will be selling our product and getting it out into the market
    • Will be our partners in this venture
    • Are going to help a lot in marketing the product
    • The vendors will be those who are responsible for integrating our product into the village’s culture
    • They will be the image of our product when mothers buy them
  • Bakers:
    • Will be making our product before it goes to be sold
    • Partnership with them is one of the most valuable because without them, we can’t move forward in our venture at all
    •  Provide them with our ingredients/recipes/preservatives 
    • Our best insight on local cuisine and our first impression of the products; they legitimize the cultural immersion we are trying to instill with our project
    • Responsible for the quality control of the product

 

Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model.

 

Three ways in which we will validate our project concept is through the usage of human subjects research– provide information on the reliability and validity of each measure; we will have references or results prior to each measure; and we will work towards stating the details of the statistical or qualitative analysis that we will use to analyze this data 

The purpose of our research is to nutrient-dense foods to alleviate malnutrition in Sierra Leone in children 6 months to 5 years. We want to see if women and children in Sierra Leone like our products and if they would be successful as a treatment for chronic malnutrition in children. Their feedback will help us make ingredient choices and create successful business and marketing plans.

Furthermore, we will have a questionnaire that we will use for mothers in Sierra Leone that will be used to get a better understanding of their family’s daily lives and whether they would buy our products. The questionnaire will give us feedback on the recipes and cost needs to answer our two main questions of our research.

Taste-Testing: During each interview, we will ask participants’ children to try our three products. For the children, we will observe their facial expression and reaction to each food. For children 18 months and younger, we will rely on behavioral observations and the help of their mothers to gauge whether or not they like each food they try. Children that are a little older can make decisive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, but we will most likely still need to observe their behavior to understand if they like or dislike our recipes. Children are critical to our research because they are the target audience of the products. Our recipes are designed to treat micronutrient deficiencies in children between six months and five years old. It is essential that we have a better understanding of whether or not children in Sierra Leone like our products before we finalize our recipes. Mothers will be asked to consent to the children’s taste-testing. 

Our plan is to recruit participants through the help of World Hope International (WHI), a non profit organization located in Makeni, Sierra Leone. We have worked most closely with Allieu Bangura, Global Director of Health and Nutrition at WHI. The pre-established relationship will help us build trust with members of the community. WHI and previous student researchers in Sierra Leone have recommended that this be our plan for recruiting participants, and they have explained that this is the most effective way to interact with people in Makeni. 

 

Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

 

  1. One thing I learned through my host mother this summer was the way she coped with caring for her family amidst the Idi Amin regime while her husband taught in Kenya. Because of inflation in Uganda, shillings were worth next to nothing, however Kenyan currency during the time had a high exchange rate for shillings, so many Ugandans during this time would work in Kenya and send money across the border to provide for their families who stayed home. When her husband went on the run from Kenyan authorities who were looking to deport foreigners, she made a journey while pregnant to find him and get the money she needed. Crawling across a bridge via the escort fellow Ugandan who was working the Kenyan border patrol and having to attempt to blend amongst others in broken Swahili until she found others who spoke her clan’s language describe a situation I could never imagine going through in the United States, let alone many places today. In 2 days she found her husband who was hiding in a church, got the money she needed, and snuck the money by letting mud cake and dry the bills underneath her sandals so that when the border patrol searched her on her way back into Uganda, they would find nothing and let her pass without trouble or harm. Her story was her way of demonstrating the role God has played in her life, and one that resembles the strength of faith and cultural awareness which helped her not only gain the trust of Ugandans in hiding, but to blend in and befriend Kenyans who sympathized for her along the way.
  2. Another thing I learned this past summer was the process behind the creation of what my host father called “bio-gas”. In the cow pen, his cow is positioned so its head sticks out into an opening where it can feed off piles of banana tree leaves, and a hole behind the pen allows for the cow manure to collect and feed into a cauldron underneath the dirt. From this cauldron, Papa would dig out the manure into another opening where manure would be stirred and feed through pipes into a digester underneath the earth, where the methane would collect and feed through underground piping into the stove which could be turned on with a valve. I had never heard of cow manure being used as a renewable source of energy up until then, and to learn he saved about $100 dollars a year on gas opened my eyes to environmentally sustainable practices that are possible in lower-middle income countries and the potential applications and implications such could have on large-scale dairy farms. If one cow powered his stove, I could only imagine what 100 cows could power!
  3. Lastly, my experience with moshing culture in middle school taught me a form of expression that I was unable to understand until I actually interacted with concertogers who partook in this form of dance. During my first Ska concert, I had never understood why people who voluntarily push each other and risk injury until my best friend pulled me into a pit. Being 13 I was about as scrawny as one could be and despite my size, my ability to push the people around me was laughable. Despite my insecurity, the people I danced with would go out of their way to help me up during times I would fall and even cleared the crowd for me to find my glasses. After every song, the crowd would cheer and we could hug and celebrate each other’s presence, ensuring that the rowdiness others may perceive as aggressiveness had pure intentions and that participants felt mutual respect for one another. Although I was frightened initially, I left that concert feeling a renowned humanization and understanding for what moshing portrays and does for the concertgoers of different genres. Conventionally it isn’t the best way to get to know people, but if you are okay sharing sweat with one another, you are more than fine reflecting upon a performance afterwards and developing new relationships that would have never formed otherwise.

Blog Post #3

 

  • List the top 20 questions your team needs to answer to advance the venture forward. Categorize the questions if necessary.

 

 

    1. What is the project about?
    2. Why is the project important?
    3. Who is impacted by the project?
    4. What is the main objective/goal?
    5. What steps will be taken to reach the objective?
    6. Where will we execute our project?
    7. Who says those people need help?
    8. Why can’t they help themselves?
    9. Why can’t someone else help them?
    10. Why do you think your project will be successful?
    11. What are some of the nutrients used for the project?
    12. How much culinary experience is needed for the project?
    13. Why do you think people will buy your product?
    14. How do you intend to keep the project running after you leave?
    15. What is the timeframe for your project?
    16. How will you use your time wisely?
    17. How are you qualified for this project?
    18. How do you think the community will react to your project?
    19. How will you incorporate the project into their culture?
    20. Will your community’s culture accept the project?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Develop and Visualize the Theory of Change (Logic Model) for your venture.

 

Inputs Activities Outputs Outcomes Goal Alignment
  • Time
  • Research
  • Ingredients
  • Environmental Conditions
  • Preservatives
  • Funding
  • Materials (packaging)
  • Recipe experimentation
  • Communication with local businesses
  • Experimenting with packaging
  • Contact packaging professionals
  • Developed recipes and packaging for products
  • Maintain partnerships with vendors
  • Continued feedback from community
  • Healthier, well-nourished kids
  • Reduced growth stunting
  • Affordable and accessible nutrient dense foods
  • Goal: reduce malnutrition and stunting
  • Outcome: achieves that 🙂

 

Spring outcomes/GOALS: 3+ new recipes (muffin,pudding, bouillon cubes/pb balls), developed packaging for recipes, analyzing the costs and taking them into consideration, make sure we use products that are accessible to the community in our recipes

 

Summer outcomes/GOALS: feedback on recipes, even if negative, progress based on feedback, continue work we’ve been doing; 100 of each product a day sold by end of fieldwork

 

  INDICATOR DEFINITION

How is it calculated?

BASELINE

What is the current value?

TARGET

What is the target value?

DATA SOURCE

How will it be measured?

FREQUENCY

How often will it be measured?

RESPONSIBLE

Who will measure it?

REPORTING

Where will it be reported?

Goal Reduce malnutrition and stunting in children under the age of 5  Research: https://www.pih.org/article/stopping-severe-malnutrition-sierra-leone 40% of children are malnourished/have suffered from stunting  Ideally 0%, but very difficult to achieve, so any progress is valuable  Measured through developing communication with community/possible evaluation technique  Monthly  Lehigh student team  Blog posts, papers
Outcomes (problems solved)  Healthier, well-nourished kids

Reduced growth and stunting

Affordable and accessible nutrient dense foods

Calculated through research   N/A – Read above regarding current malnutrition Ideally 0% of malnourished kids, but very difficult to achieve, so any progress is valuable  Analyzing sales, health of children (specifics on how to do this decided once product is finalized)  Monthly Lehigh student team  Blog posts, papers
Outputs (what we ultimately want and get out of our research)  Developed recipes – products we can sell Analyzing nutritional value of recipes 1 At least 4, going to experiment with other recipes (ST-  throughout semester) Analyzing sales, consumption, etc. once introduced in marketplace (LT) Monthly Lehigh student team staying in SL Blog posts, papers

Blog Post #2

  1. Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project.

Three examples of cultural issues which affect the approach of our project include the perspective of child-bearing in Sierra Leone and the positive associations tied to having a big family, competing with indigenous religious / witchcraft practitioners and the perception of Westerners attempting to disrupt the system in Sierra Leone. Given our products are going to be marketed for malnourished pregnant mothers and children under the age of 5, we have to navigate its implementation in a fashion that is inclusive of the community and respectful of their culture. This incentivizes the inclusion of community members for easier cultural immersion as it becomes introduced. Practitioners of alternative medicine thwart how we can present the benefits of preventive health because as Khanjan mentioned, “everybody loves miracles”. Especially when one trusts their faith over medicine, it will be harder to convince mothers and children to eat something twice a day over an extended period of time to better their health rather than a practice aimed at addressing their concern in a shorter time frame.  Fertility rates combined with a youthful population growing up in a post-civil war environment makes the market we target spread far and wide; by addressing it in Makeni, we have to also consider how the system can be made sustainable for an entire country. 

 

  1. Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home? Describe atleast three such situations. 

My mother is a first generation immigrant who has always favored preventative / alternative healthcare practices and the opinions held by family members / other latinos over seeing a doctor / trusting American healthcare. She believes hospital visits / appointments should be last resort solutions when attempted treatments are ineffective so I have familiarity with the challenges of trusting traditional approaches to medicine and using alternative medicine as a manner of cultural preservation, resourcefulness, and saving on costs. She would even have herb-based medications sent from her native country because of her trust in nature over the pharmaceutical industry. While I can honestly say they were effective, I understand how developing the trust for traditional medicine is hard especially when the cultural representation is not present to establish better patient-provider relationships. I imagine our ideas for Sierra Leone will be easier to understand when translated and explained via a community member that can relate more than we can. In terms of child bearing, my mother comes from a family of 8 and currently cares for my brother and I. She does not believe having a large family given our socioeconomic status is realistically beneficial; this is a sentiment her siblings have shared as they have immigrated to the United States. Because the sense of community here differs from the Carribbean, there is less security felt with having to worry about more children than one home / family can handle. 

 

  1. Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to addressed community / market problems.

The perspective of large families relates to the fact that with more children, mothers can delegate their children to assist them with different kinds of work; while easing the workload they must undertake themselves, the extra hands allows for more efficient work to be completed in agriculture and overall proves to be a worthy investment for families seeking to bring more money and prestige to their name. Malnourishment is an impediment toward a family’s ability to grow and maintain steady productivity, so by incentivising the consumption of our products, mothers and children alike can be more physically able to endure labor and make them less prone to disease / complications arising from nutrient deficiencies. By introducing the product to women who are members of Bundu / Sande, I believe we would be able to tap into the most appropriate yet respected demographic that can model and attest to the benefits of either food product. Given we are able to achieve success, I feel they would be more comfortable and willing to market our products to other women and vouch using their personal experiences. At the same time, by using a product that the women within the community benefit from and can introduce to their children, we take advantage of the relationships and trust already present within the community. As the number of children and mothers who consume our product increases, I hope the recognition can be enough to make our products seen as an alternative to seeing a practitioner of alternative medicine. While we don’t want to dissuade people from an established piece of their culture, we are able to empower them with a choice that emphasizes a preventative approach to health and redefines how they may perceive improving the health of children and pregnant mothers.

Blog Post #1

I enrolled in this course because I have been seeking to be apart of a project where I can challenge myself with work that creates a long term impact; one that will integrate and uplift an underprivileged. In a developing country, the challenge of creating sustainable impact within the resources there and are able to pull together as a team I feel is the best way I can not just learn, but grow from experiencing. I want to prove I can work toward a bigger picture that improves the healthcare of generations to come and is a small, but meaningful step toward the development of their nation. I have experience doing different forms of community service, however the work has never required the hands-on duty of maintaining what past students have worked at and expanding upon their progress toward an ambitious, culturally sensitive vision such as fighting malnutrition in Sierra Leone. I have experience tutoring children from disadvantaged backgrounds, but have never worked on a venture that seeks to impact those alive today and who will be born tomorrow in a manner that stimulates public health and local economy simultaneously. Conducting research, let alone a clinical study is a process I have never gone through, yet is essential for assessing the effectiveness of our solution. Better nutrition can allow these children to have less setbacks from being as active in their education and community as they deserve to be. Tasks like developing packaging for pudding to interacting with the community to facilitate the clinical study and enact a marketing plan allows me to engage in fields that go beyond just what I study; to be truly multidisciplinary, I have to know how to unite different parties and troubleshoot obstacles that arise. As I near graduation, I want to leave with experience that has taught me the capabilities within myself and how I can impact healthcare despite lacking medical training. Preventive health behavior is the most cost effective manner of treating a problem meanwhile allowing people control of their health and minimizing the medical resources needed to diagnose and treat patients of preventable health outcomes.Beyond making me a better student, I want to be a better leader and use my privilege to leverage those who lack it.

 

Eyecare in the United States has been monopolized by companies like Luxottica which manufacture luxury brand eyewear and own eyecare centers, allowing for control of the costs from the assessment of American eyes to the production and sale of what customers choose to wear. The markup for eyewear is extreme and I feel addressing this in an environmentally conscious, inclusive manner can allow people to rethink the life their glasses have! schools to contract optometrists to volunteer for these clinics. Considering the market is widespread globally for those who lack the resources for eyecare, I believe the issue first needs to reach the concern of those who can be impacted to make a contribution. A social media / schoolwide campaign that paints vision as something that is relative to all age/socioeconomic groups, yet impacts in vast ways that hold us back from experiencing our potential at life could be a manner of creating the conversation. From the conversation, a project that seeks to collect, organize, and redistribute I feel is the best way of giving the gift of vision to as many people as possible. Annual vision exams in schools can be turned into grander community events; if they can be used as flu clinics, they should be used as vision clinics! Everyone’s old, outgrown/outdated pairs can be given life once again through recycling them and contracting optometrists to conduct exams and giving people of all age groups to contribute to a greater good within their community. By generating a bit of profit for middle manning the operation off the supply of unused eyewear, it can be used to fund overseas operations for popup vision exam and eyewear distribution clinics. Incentives for corporate optometrists to volunteer and be contracted for this project in areas where there is an absence of optometrists can be derived from tax breaks stemming from the charitable contributions companies like PearleVision make. Partnerships with NGOs in foreign countries would be essential for starting small and growing alongside the new communities we serve. This way, provider, corporation, and the government benefit by a system that independently seeks to improve upon the well being of those domestically and internationally; generating an act of goodwill that can be made visible for all to see.