In February and March 2016, we ventured back to Ahmedabad for our second Product Development Pilot to continue refining Barakat Bundle with our fantastic partners and many mothers. We were able to develop our distribution model and continue to iterate on Barakat Bundle. As always, by the time we left India we were excited to incorporate our learnings into Barakat Bundle and looking forward to our return!
As soon as we got to Ahmedabad, we started iterating and developing our ‘ghodiyu’ (i.e. traditional Indian cradle). We collected different prototype iterations of the ghodiyu frame and fabric that we had commissioned from local Indian artisans. It was amazing to see the ideas from our last Product Development Pilot that Agenda 28 helped design come to life and were once again impressed by the input from our thoughtful manufacturing partners. Yet again, we confused the hotel staff repeatedly by streaming through the lobby with various assortments of ghodiyus and baby items day in and day out!
After collecting the prototypes from across Ahmedabad, it was time to take Barakat Bundle to SEWA Rural, an amazing hospital and development collective that serves the rural tribal area of South Gujarat at Jhagadia. We travelled by train with our Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH) colleagues, Dr. Bharati Sharma and Dr. Minjan Patel. We were relieved to be in an air conditioned car on the train – turns out that actually meant that there were approximately 40 fans bolted to the ceiling of our car running on all cylinders for the duration of the trip!
Once we got to SEWA Rural, they shared their long-history of supporting their community by providing medical services, education services, and local employment. We were able to see vocational training centers where they both trained and employed locals in trades such as welding, sewing, baking, and more. Understanding the interconnected nature of the provision of any kind of service (demand side) with the creation of any kind of opportunity (supply side) in India made us really take note and focus on how we source all the items in Barakat Bundle.
In collaboration with SEWA Rural and IIPH, we conducted focus groups to test our new audio info pamphlets and distributed 25 Barakat Bundles to new mothers. Since then, local health workers have provided postnatal education on Barakat Bundles in their local communities and will revisit the mothers after one month to collect feedback and improve our model. We are incredibly thankful to The Baby Box Co. for donating the boxes (mattresses, blankets, and hats) and ayzh for donating the clean delivery kits we were able to provide mothers. They are both great companies with incredibly social missions and we encourage you to check them out and support them if you can! The further we advance in our venture the more we appreciate the guidance and expertise of incredible partners like you!