The Shindig: The bright ideas that inspired you to change things

Posted on
04th Feb 2020
by Ellie Dawes

What inspires you to drive change?

At The Shindig last week, we invited our supporters into our Bright Ideas Lab - where the walls were covered with 60 discoveries, opportunities, solutions and projects - all generated by in 2019.

Guests were given three different kinds of sticker to stick on the Bright Ideas they were more intrigued by: I Love This So Much, Tell Me More Tell Me More, and We Have to Change This. I promised to update you all with more information about the ideas that attracted the most interest on the night.

Your Top Five Changes to Make in the World

Here are the discoveries that prompted the most people to use their sticker to say "We Have to Change This".

1. Low antenatal care attendace in rural Kenya have been talking about encouraging Kenyan mums to access antenatal care for a couple of years now, ever since we asked you to donate at Christmas 2017 to fund our first Baby Box programme pilot. In Meru, sessions can be a long journey away and not everyone is aware of how important these sessions are to monitor the health of mum and baby. 

One of the sessions in our Pregnant Women’s groups focuses specifically on antenatal care - here’s a section of our Team Mum Meru social mobiliser guide which shows you the kind of information that our Social Mobilisers in Meru will be able to share with the mums in their groups starting this week:



If you want to reach more mums with information like this, join Team Mum Monthly today, or sign up for our newsletter and look out for emails about Team Mum 2020.

2. Young marriage in Sierra Leone

The difference in attitudes towards early marriage and motherhood was one of the things that surprised our Kenyan team when we conducted our research in Sierra Leone.

In Kenya, there’s a problem of very young mums like Winfred becoming isolated from their communities and families - which means they may not receive the support they need to help keep their baby safe. In Sierra Leone, young motherhood is actively encouraged, which means young girls having babies dangerously young, and missing out on the opportunities boys have to an education and a voice in their community. 

You can read more about what we found out in Sierra Leone in our latest report here

3. Safe sleeping misinformation

Tackling local misinformation about pregnancy and baby-care is a vital element of all our Team Mum programming.

At training this week, one of our Social Mobilisers was talking about a belief in her community that vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is just a sign that the baby needs to stay in the womb a bit longer. In fact, heavy vaginal bleeding during pregnancy can be a sign of serious problems - and should always be checked out by a doctor!

The team in Meru is excited about the opportunity to arm the mums in their community with up to date information.


4. Low provision of safe co-sleeping information.

Cosleeping is encouraged in Kenya to promote breastfeeding - but there are important things mums need to know about the practice. These include the risks of baby sharing the bed with multiple family members, or with adults who have been consuming alcohol. Safe co-sleeping wasn’t a focus for our first Baby Box pilot in Nairobi, but after what we learned during the pilot from talking to mums, we’re thinking a lot about how to improve access to the information in the new versions of the programme we’ve been designing recently. 

During our Baby Box pilot, we found that while 95% of mums used the box as a safe place to sleep - but only 2% of mums used the box to put baby to sleep at night. Mums told us that the box was most useful as a safe place for baby during the day, so they could have them nearby while they worked. 

It’s important to mention that the main function of the box, from a programming aims point of view, is as a method of spreading important health information. During our baby box pilot, attendance of postnatal care by mums increased by 81%. This meant that mums were gaining access to vital health checks and a awful lot of health information that they wouldn’t have otherwise have had access to. Survey results like these also help highlight gaps in the topics being covered in postnatal care sessions - and are often able to highlight and tackle these by delivering extra training to local healthcare professionals. 

(I’ve talked a bit more about safe sleeping in the Love This So Much list.)

5. Gender-specific baby gifts

Guests at The Shindig were surprised - as we were - to find out about how gendered the UK baby gift market is, particularly for corporate gifts. 

When we designed our Happy Parenting Treats, we felt there was an opportunity to provide modern, progressive companies with a gift option that would be suitable for any baby, and for parents of any gender. Check out these beautiful gift boxes here

More Bright Ideas...

Those are the top five ideas that our supporters at The Shindig considered most worthy of their "Tell me more..." stickers. If you would like any further information about any of these bright ideas - do get in touch!

Want to see what they chose to stick these stickers on?