Turkey’s Changemakers: 'Happy Baby' from Uganda to the world
Sabancı Foundation Turkey’s Changemakers Program continues in its 5th season to share the unique stories of extraordinary people who contribute to the social development. The eighth Changemaker of the 5th season is Cansu Akarsu who implemented the “Happy Baby” project.
Cansu Akarsu, who graduated from Istanbul Technical University with a degree in industrial design, created a comfortable and safe baby carrier called “Happy Baby” considering the needs of people living in rural areas.
In the preparatory phase, the design team conducted a study in Lira, Kasese and Nkokonjeru provinces of Uganda and identified the needs of 108 parents regarding this issue. The first baby carriers were tested by 17 volunteer families from 12 villages of Nkokonjeru which was selected as the pilot area for the project. Fathers were also encouraged to carry their babies. Trainings were held for the local leaders, workers of Nkokonjeru Hospital, religious leaders and rural health specialists to teach them the right way of carrying babies and the benefits of carrying them right.
Within the project, 17 tailors from Uganda were trained on how to make these carriers and how to market them afterwards. This way, tailors also had an opportunity to become engaged in a commercial venture. With this product, which is made available at affordable prices, mothers can breastfeed their babies comfortably; fathers can strengthen the relationship with their families and children, and parents can carry their babies safely and ergonomically.
Happy Baby baby carrier designed by Cansu Akarsu and her team quickly spread around the villages in Uganda due to its low-cost and convenience for both parents. Cansu Akarsu and her team trained local tailors in Uganda villages to spread the use of Happy Baby and helped them sell it for 7 dollars.
During the design, production and pilot project processes, Happy Baby was supported in collaboration with Real Medicine Foundation and Children in Africa Breastfeeding Support. Cansu Akarsu continues her project today with the Happy Baby Association that she founded in Denmark.