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Rapid urbanization in India is being outpaced by the twice as fast growth in slum populations. Over 200 million people are expected to live in urban Indian slums by 2025. Urban low income families are deprived of acceptable levels of health, nutrition and early childhood development experiences crucial for our children’s future. Recent data highlights the poor health conditions of children in urban slums, plagued by low immunization rates, rampant malnutrition and sub-optimal cognitive development. These challenges adversely impact the future of our children, creating a lifecycle of deficit outcomes. Our research, published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2018, showed increasing mobile adoption of data enabled mobile phones in urban, low income, young families. This evolution of mobile ownership and behaviours amongst the urban poor presents an opportunity to engage and nudge these populations towards health, nutrition and developmentally relevant products and services, in a sustainable manner.
Saathealth is a digital ecosystem that serves development needs of children from low income young families in a market based model. Our mobile app for parents of young children provides health, nutrition, sanitation, hygiene and early cognitive development information in an entertaining, gamified format. Users earn points for app behaviors, that can then be redeemed against discounts for health & nutrition products/ services at local merchants. Aggregating demand allows us to offer discounts and nudge young families towards healthier choices. We activate communities via mobile literacy workshops for women and child bonding workshops for fathers. Saathealth has launched with over 31,000 families and 20 merchants within the Govandi slum community of Mumbai. Our users spend an average of 7 mins on the app daily. Over 50% of our users have accrued virally through referrals. Our content has nudged users to increase the consumption of nutrition products like eggs and lentils. For more information, do refer to our slide deck.