Happy 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.
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
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:)
Today New Vision Uganda has published an article on Josephine Nalugo, our research and pilot partner, about her experiences with building Children in Africa Breastfeeding Support and her collaboration with Happy Baby. Check out the article here.
Happy 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.
In collaboration with Real Medicine Foundation, last week Happy Baby has been on a trip to Panyadoli Vocational Technical Institute in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement in Bweyale, Uganda. This camp is a UNHCR managed refugee settlement that provides shelter, land and support for more than 25,000, comprised of Ugandan IDPs and refugees from Kenya, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan.
The program consisted of training twelve tailors, five Ugandan, one Kenyan, four Sudanese, and two tailoring teachers to become Happy Baby Entrepreneurs in their community. The tailors selected to participate in the training have been funded by Real Medicine Foundation to open their businesses in Bweyale Town. During the training they learned to make ergonomic carriers, practice how to instruct parents to wear the carrier, understand the design aspects and finally participate in marketing the baby carrier and its benefits to become the entrepreneurs of Happy Baby. The first carrier is always considered as a trial for the tailor to keep and take as an example when making the next carriers. Due to lack of machines and experience, the tailors could barely finish their first carrier by the end of the four days training, so we asked them to complete their second carrier before selling to their community.
The selected tailors showed a great entrepreneurial attitude – one could understand why they were selected to be given funds to start their businesses. On our last day in Kiryandongo, we completed the training in the morning and in the evening we attended the Saturday market with baby carriers for a couple of hours. This was where the magic happened; those young tailors all of a sudden turned into baby carrying ambassadors, talking to the crowd about why they should carry their babies, assisting mothers and fathers to try on the carriers. Every tailor found a model parent and baby for themselves to walk around the market wearing their carriers. We sold a carrier within 10 minutes to a father who had a 3 year old daughter!
While our main focus was on the intensive training, we could also hold two community meetings, one in the Bweyale Town (the nearest town where all tailors come for work) and another one in the Kirandongo Refugee Settlement (where most tailors live), and a stakeholder meeting in Kiryandongo Hospital. Since the community was new to the project, we held the meetings in three phases: having an open discussion on current baby carrying methods; trying on the Happy Baby Carrier; then watching our movies on our design process and pilot program in Nkokonjeru. During the movie screening phase in the hospital, we invited all the waiting patients to the meeting room, where we spontaneously presented the carrier and introduced to the project to a large group.
Overall with the training, we hope Happy Baby can create a positive impact on the Kiryandongo and Bweyale Communities through the representative tailors. We thank to Real Medicine Foundation for the collaboration, the Bweyale and Kiryandongo local leaders, the community and the hard working twelve tailors!
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.
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.
The first Happy Baby Stitchery is opened with a launch event, as a big step our pilot program, taking place in Nkokonjeru, Central Uganda! After inviting everyone from the twelve neighbor villages through mobilizers, announcements from local radio and prayer places, the launch event hosted over 300 people. In addition to cutting the ribbon, Happy Baby Ambassadors initiated writing a song on the benefits of this new and comfortable Engozi (meaning baby carrier in Luganda) and performing a dance show with live percussion music.
Happy Baby Stitchery is a demo shop where local tailors are trained to make Happy Baby carriers, and where these carriers are sold in the community. So far we have four manual sewing machines used by four new graduate tailors, who are about to be the new Happy Baby Entrepreneurs. Another function of the stitchery is to host meetings related to baby carrying benefits or relevant trainings by Children in Africa Breastfeeding Support, our partner in Nkokonjeru.
When using high quality cotton fabric and fiber purchased in Kampala, the current sale price of one carrier is 18.000 UGX, which is about $7. In order to test the market, a lower cost version is produced using durable second hand fabric or new carrier orders can be taken with fabric brought by the customers. After getting a clear picture on preferences and the demand of the community, next step is to try out different payment methods, developed together with the families who have trouble affording a carrier. Let the sales begin!