Scene 7: The Reality of Low Income Areas

Wednesday, November 19th
The past few days have been very busy for the Energy Team, as we have been visiting several creches and meeting with our sponsor and advisors. These meetings allowed for us to nearly finish the entrepreneurial packet. This is a collection of documents and advertisements which will be provided to crèche leaders to help them start selling the Wonderbags. The team reached out to Meghan, a contact given to us by Peter, and made an appointment with her today. Prior to the afternoon meeting, the Energy Team met to plan for the day. We decided that our entrepreneurial packet was ready to be shared. Therefore, the plan was to share our entrepreneurial packet and see if we could partner with Meghan’s aftercare center. Her center seemed to be an ideal location to distribute Wonderbags because it is a fee paying center with strong ties between the center leaders and grandmothers who raised the children. The center is called Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS, and is located in Khayelitsha. Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS is a large organization with over 200 grandmothers looking after 160 students.
Cast of Characters
Peter is the local distributer for Wonderbags. His experience and sales skills are invaluable to our project. He helped problem solve to work around the issues that arose in our conversation today.

Meghan is a leader at Grandmothers Against Poverty and AIDS aftercare center. She is very familiar with Wonderbags and is interested in selling them at the center.
Today’s meeting took place at the Woodstock Exchange. This is a collection of stores and cafes located in Woodstock. Specifically, we met in The Field Office, a small café that encourages business meetings.

We began the meeting by introducing ourselves and giving a brief overview of our project. We shared the material that would be provided to a crèche or aftercare center if its leader decides to participate in a Pilot Program. Meghan was particularly interested in the brochures; she was impressed with how they conveyed the information with minimal words. She then pointed out that we would not have to translate the English into Xhosa since almost everyone speaks English, the words we were using were very simple, and the ideas were conveyed effectively with many images. Peter arrived shortly after, and he also liked the brochures.

Once our project idea was explained, we asked Meghan to describe the various difficulties that we may potentially face. She highlighted the low income, poor timing, and lack of product understanding as the main obstacles in our model. She did not believe this was the right time to introduce Wonderbags to her crèche because the end of school year was approaching and there were various end of the year events. She also expressed her concern of pricing, seeing as the monthly fee of R10 was already difficult for the attendees’ guardians. We exchanged ideas and thought that it might be a good contrast to test the distribution model in a lower income area. Peter worked with us to find methods which would allow us to work around these obstacles mentioned by Meghan; however, we were unable to to come up with effective solutions to each problem. One of the solutions we discussed was an incentive program where the guardians would receive a Wonderbag if they have paid all of their dues for the entire year. This motivates them to pay the tuition fee for the afterschool center. Meghan supported this program and she was willing to recommend selling Wonderbags to the executive board at the center.
Reflection and Learning
Although we did not get a commitment to participate in the Pilot Program, the meeting was very beneficial to our project. Meghan was able to explain the reality of the locations where we are trying to implement our business and the challenges that we would most likely face. One major reality that was brought to our attention was the possibility of violence and theft. If community members know that there is large amount of money being kept at the center from the Wonderbag profits, theft may become a very big problem. This made us rethink putting the selling price of the Wonderbag on the advertisements that would be put around the community with the address of the crèche on it. It was insightful to hear Meghan’s opinions and collaborate with her and Peter on how to tackle the potential challenges. Meghan was very supportive of our project and will try to convince the other leaders at her center to be a distribution point to sell Wonderbags.

Scene 8: A College for Kiddies