Author Archives: cansuakarsu

Presenting Happy Baby at Studio X

photo 3Happy Baby Team was invited to present our design process in the opening of Studio X İstanbul, an off-campus event and co-working space run by the Columbia University GSAPP, part of the Studio-X Global Initiative. We would like to thanks Studio X, both for giving us the opportunity to reach their guests, and for creating this amazing space in the heart of the city.

Piloting Phase Video Launched

Happy Baby is excited to announce the completion of the Piloting Phase in Nkokonjeru, Uganda with a video, summarizing our main activities and showing insights from user experiences. Feel free to share our video and support us!

As many of our followers know, the dream of spreading safe and ergonomic baby carrying and turning it into a project to benefit the rural communities by creating locally produced baby carriers was initiated and supported by our generous donor. Thanks to our donor, partnership with Children in Africa Breastfeeding Support in Buikwe District and collaboration with Real Medicine Foundation Uganda, so far we have moved forward very fast and smoothly in all phases of the design process. Now it is time to turn the project into a self sustaining mechanism.

Having started the production of good quality and hand made carriers in rural Uganda and the process of building our administration in Denmark, we are currently seeking for new partnerships with NGOs and foundations, possible clients, new areas to implement Happy Baby and new skills in our team. Please get back to us with your comments, suggestions and networking possibilities.

Reach us at:

design (at) happybabycarrier.org
http://www.facebook.com/happybabycarrier

A gallery of our short movie clips from different phases of our design process can be found on our Vimeo Page. Credits to everyone allowing us to take their videos and our team mate Ege for making our movies:)

Vimeo Page

World Breastfeeding Week

wbwHappy Baby welcomes you to celebrate the World Breastfeeding Week in Nkokonjeru! In collaboration with IBFAN Uganda and Children in Africa Breastfeeding Support, the event includes a cooking demonstration, fashion&dance show with baby carriers and the Happy Baby tailors’ graduation. We invite all out visitors to Nkokonjeru on Sunday 4th of August at 12 pm.

Happy Baby is an ergonomic baby carrier, allowing you to carry your baby in the front position and helping you breastfeed comfortably on the go, so you can keep giving your baby the best nutrition and protection from illnesses and diseases.

Follow-up Meetings

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Thanks to the mobilization by the Happy Baby Village Tailors and Village Health Team Members, families with babies and pregnant women were identified and invited to meetings in each twelve village. Follow-up meetings started with an open discussion on general issues about baby care, feeding, hygiene, elimination communication and their relation to the importance of carrying babies. The families who owned Happy Baby carriers told about their experiences and the relation the discussed subjects. Participants were interested in having the carrier, so then we focused on discussing ways of income and brainstormed on alternative payment methods to experiment with the community. Overall, in every meeting 2-3 mothers paid full price and bought carriers, 3-4 started paying in installments, a group is in progress of developing a method of collecting money and a mother bartered a mat she made to get a Happy Baby Carrier. There was a big motivation in forming parent-support groups to continue meeting and discussing various topics related to baby caring.

While several families were able to afford the $7 Happy Baby Carrier with alternative payment methods, there are still some families, especially single mothers, who simply can not afford it – some groups selected one mother who needed the carrier most among themselves and could not afford it at all. The meetings showed us that next step is to work on achieving our dream of getting the carrier in the hands of these families.

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This is when our participation in the Commemoration of the Day of African Child came along. The aim was both to network with different NGOs who exhibited their work and to experiment with selling the carriers to a new client group, ‘urban mother’, for a higher price and using the profit to cover the fabric cost for a rural mother in Nkokonjeru. We went to the event with Happy Baby tailor mothers, who came along with their carriers and babies, and Ambassador families with babies in different ages. Their involvement had a big impact on presenting the carrier as they were live models. Three Happy Baby Carriers were sold – one to an Ugandan mother, and others to a volunteer foreigner in an NGO. These clients will be linked with the rural mothers who benefited from their donation, and will be given feedback on their help.

Tailor Trainings

Happy Baby Tailor Training is a four-days intensive program where four tailor students learn to make ergonomic carriers, practice how to instruct mothers and fathers to wear the Happy Baby Carrier, gain basic knowledge on the design aspects and user preferences, and finally participate in marketing the baby carrier and its benefits to become the entrepreneurs of Happy Baby. After the first training in May, one of the graduate tailors, Clare is full-time employed in the stitchery both to make carriers and to train the coming students. Fatuma works part-time in the stitchery to make carriers, participate in the Monday Market, and to present Happy Baby to new parents on immunization days in Nkokonjeru Hospital. The other two graduates, Olivia and Olivia prefer making baby carriers from their homes depending on the demand.

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During the Baby Carrying Benefits Meetings (see previous blog post), each 12 village selected one of local tailors to be trained during June to take on Happy Baby in their own village. Following the training, each village tailor’s home/shop is given the certificate to operate as a Happy Baby Stitchery where everyone can come to try on, order, or buy a ready made Happy Baby Carrier.

Baby Carrying Benefits

During May, Happy Baby activities mainly consisted of Baby Carrying Benefits Meetings with different stakeholders, HB Carrier Making Tailor Trainings, monitoring the usage of Happy Baby Carrier by the ambassador families, and the first Happy Baby Stitchery Launch Event.

The Baby Carrying Benefits Meetings were held with mothers and fathers in each 12 village around Nkokonjeru. Invitations through mobilizers and public announcements brought between 30-50 participants to each meeting. These participants first listened to a general presentation of the project, participated in an open discussion on the experiences of baby carrying, tried on and gave feedback on the Happy Baby carrier, and finally learned the scientifically proven benefits of baby carrying. Besides the meetings held in each village with potential beneficiaries, different stakeholders such as hospital health workers, clinic drug shops, health village leaders, village health team members, elders and mobilizers were met either in the Happy Baby Stitchery or individually to participate in a similar format meeting, in addition, to brainstorm on how to implement Happy Baby in their communities and to take on the responsibility of spreading the knowledge of the benefits of baby carrying.

5 Benefits

For spreading the knowledge easily, Baby Carrying Benefits are grouped in 5 categories:

INTERACTION
Strengthens the attachment between you and your baby, resulting in the growth of an empathetic and secure child. Creates a harmonious and joyful interaction between you and your baby, helping the development of socio- emotional skills.
FAMILY BONDING
Enables fathers to participate actively in early care giving which strengthens your marriage/relationship and expands your baby’s exposure to male caregiving patterns, resulting in a more optimum development.
BREASTFEEDING
Helps you breastfeed comfortably on the go, so you can keep giving your baby the best nutrition and protection from illnesses and diseases.
COMFORT
Enables hands-free care giving of your baby, giving you the freedom to enjoy a joyful and active maternity leave and to contribute to your family’s well-being.
FRONT and BACK
Allows you to carry your newborn baby in the front position and later gives the choice to carry your baby in the front or on the back safely and ergonomically.

When discussing these benefits, an interesting feedback we got during the meetings was on breastfeeding on the go. In Nkokonjeru, it is culturally believed that one should not eat while walking, so some parents commented that if they practiced breastfeeding while walking, they would impose bad behavior to their babies or the babies would choke. Most parents preferred to stop their activity and breastfeed sitting down with the baby, continue once the baby is full.

Having simplified the knowledge to spread easily, these benefits are then brought together in posters and brochures and translated into Luganda. Today, Happy Baby posters are hanging in many village meetings participants’ homes, hospitals, prayer places, small clinics, drug  shops and other various public spaces. Feel free to download the high resolution posters and brochures using the above gallery.