Category Archives: Nkokonjeru Pilot

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.

howtoSEWposter-blog

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.

Community Meeting

Community Meeting

Following the advice of the local leaders in Nkokonjeru, we held a presentation followed by an open discussion in the community center. Parents from the twelve villages were invited by mobilizers who spread the word from home to home, local radio, church and mosque announcements. More than 150 parents and babies attended and participated in the meeting where HB was presented by the team, local leaders gave speech, and Happy Baby Ambassadors took the chance to share their experiences. National TV Channels were on site to record the meeting and Happy Baby was on the news the next evening on Bukedde TV! Feel free to watch and share the TV broadcast below!

Happy Baby Ambassadors

ambassadors1Happy Baby Ambassadors are selected families from each village in Nkokonjeru to receive a Happy Baby carrier together with the first Baby Carrying Benefits training. Their role in the process includes using the carrier in long term during their daily activities, giving us feedback on possible improvements, spreading the knowledge of benefits of baby carrying in their village and allowing us to monitor the impact of Happy Baby in their lives.

ambassadors2Ambassadors are selected by the local leaders and the mobilizers of the 12 villages in Nkokonjeru. Some are among the role model families in their communities, where fathers are supportive to the children’s’ development, while some are mothers who take on the responsibility of the household.

ambassadors3

After the general education meeting, distribution of the carriers took place in the individuals’ homes in order to include the fathers as much as possible. Likewise, we were able reach most of the fathers who did not attend the initial meeting; and we practiced using the carrier together with mothers and fathers to make sure every parent learned how to put on the Happy Baby Carrier.

ambassadors4

Ambassador Babies vary in age and size, including infants in their 3rd weeks to toddlers in their 2nd years, some with normal and others with low birth weights. As families agreed to take on the responsibility of using Happy Baby carrier, we could not wait to monitor the usage and its impact.

Nkokonjeru here we come

NkokonjeruAfter hectic days of packing, the design team is off to Uganda to collaborate with Josephine Nalugo, Children in Africa Breastfeeding Support, and kick off the pilot phase of Happy Baby in Nkokonjeru!

The pilot phase of Happy Baby Project starts with opening a demo stitchery in Nkokonjeru Town Council where tailors will be trained to make and sell baby carriers, engaging different roles in the community – such as local authorities, religious leaders, midwives & health care clinic officers, wise elder women&men – to spread the knowledge of benefits of baby carrying and distributing carriers to selected families who will be the first Happy Baby Ambassadors.

5 Benefits

Nkokonjeru is a town in the Buiwe District of Central Uganda, where both rural and urban life can be experienced. Being Josephine’s home town and Children in Africa Breastfeeding Support’s main operation area, the site allows us to access its leaders which is the key to succeed in creating ownership of the project in the community. We started with meeting the Community Development Officer Acting Clerk, Town Council Accountant, Mayor and Women Councelor to give information about Happy Baby and to get their permission and involvement to operate in Nkokonjeru. Following their suggestions, we scheduled a presentation of Happy Baby in the Community Center where everyone in the neighbor 12 villages will be invited through mobilizers and radio announcements.

5 Benefits

Engaging the leaders continued with meeting old wise women in the community, who usually consult young mothers in villages during their pregnancy and motherhood. With their feedback on how to communicate the advantages of Happy Baby Carrying, which we have boiled down to 5 main benefits, we learned the necessity of translating them to Luganda. Thanks to the network of IBFAN Uganda, we could reach the right person for this task, an experienced midwife and national translator who could fully understand the content.

Preperations

Meanwhile, we visited our future workspace where we will set up the demo Happy Baby Stitchery, make and sell baby carriers, train neighbor village tailors to become Happy Baby Entrepreneurs and give baby wearing benefits education to different community members. The sewing machines are already bought and assembled!