Happy Baby’s first field study is held in Lira, a small bicycle city in central Uganda. After a six hours bus journey from the complexity of Kampala, Lira welcomed us with its adorable nature, hospitable local people, chubby single floor buildings, bike traffic and a lot of mosquitos. With a good sleep, we were ready to learn about how Luo people carry their babies traditionally, to test them with our initial prototypes and to generate ideas together.
Day 1: Urban Lira
To understand baby carrying in the urban context, two workshops are held: one with urban mothers and grandmothers and another one with urban fathers and grandfathers. The workshops lasted long but fun as our focal person helped with translating from English to Luo and Luo to English.
1. Ice breaking session where everyone introduced themselves and talked about their expectations from the workshop
2. Open discussion where we went through our list of topics and questions to learn about their existing baby carrying methods followed by their demonstrations
3. User testing of our initial prototypes with their babies
4. Idea generation for possible improvements
Day 2: Rural Lira
Driving towards the rural parts of Lira, we could not escape women wearing their babies as they continued their daily tasks. Our third workshop is held in a rural school together with mothers and fathers who came along with their babies.
Day 3: Rural Home Stay
The third day presented us with an opportunity to spend a day with a young rural mother. When passing the stream of water with our gam boots to reach where she lives, we were eager to observe, but we were not expecting to learn as much. Following her as she continued the daily tasks helped us understand deeper all the issues we discussed during the workshops.
During the home stay, she accepted to use one of our prototypes for an hour, continue with her tasks, and give us feedback.
Day 4: Dissemination
To verify the outcome of the topics discussed in the workshops, and to get people’s final opinions, selected people from the urban and rural area are invited again to disseminate what we gathered through.
Finally, we did a market research in the textile neighborhood and bought different samples of the locally made carriers and crafts used in baby carrying in Lira.