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After morale-sapping delays, as bureaucratic stumbling blocks and political insecurity saw the location of our hand-washing trial move continent, this February we were finally ready to start the fun part – the interactive product design and development workshop!

Field Ready’s expertise in community led product design and development was used to create custom toys and soaps, driven by the tastes and interests of the children in Sharia IDP camp, Iraq; a range of toys was developed, so momentum could be continued as the children seek to collect a set (as with Kinder Eggs or Happy Meals).

Creating toys for children was not the most unpleasant task – over three days of workshops coordinated with the Save the Children Iraq team we had 14 delightful mini-designers help us create the perfect toy-soap combinations, all against a back-drop of the majestic mountains of Kurdistan!

This is how it played out:

Day 1

Demonstrating 3D printing of toys

Prior to the first day of the workshop our Iraqi engineer carried out interviews with children, caregivers and local shop keepers to identify favourite themes. Based on this we selected an initial set of toy designs from dolls, to vehicles to animals, which were 3D printed locally.

On the first day, after an initial game of musical chairs to get warmed up, the children broke up into groups of 7 girls and 7 boys and took it in turns to give feedback on the 3D printed toys and on the examples of transparent soap we had brought with us.

They then were given playdough to create whatever was in their imagination, both as an incentive to use the soap, and to allow us to see their unfiltered ideas.

From this session it was clear that animals, including cartoonish dinosaurs, were a winner across both genders, as were colours like red, purple and green. We decided it would make sense to concentrate on a gender neutral selection to avoid adding logistical burdens to emergency distribution coordinators, retailers and care givers.

Day 2

Children rating the smell of sample soaps

Prior to this session we downloaded a large number of toys designs which fitted our fun, animal criteria. After a fun ball game which involved calling your favourite colour, in small groups, this time of mixed gender, we showed the children around 30 designs and got feedback on their favourites. We asked them to pick their favourite 5 animals and take coloured tokens to place the colour they thought the toys should be, on a print out of that toy.

Finally, we showed them a couple of examples of the transparent soaps melted down and remoulded with a toy inside – feedback was positive, with a comment that one of the combinations didn’t smell good!

From this session there were clear favourites among the toys, and some colours more preferred, but a lot of variety in which animal should be which colour – which gives us scope to produce a varied range for the children to collect.

Day 3

Children trialling the sample soaps

Some final feedback on the prints of chosen toys in favourite colours, and a chance to play with the soap examples, which mixed different colours and scents to eliminate any the children didn’t like.

And finally juice and biscuits, and tub of playdough to take home so they can continue to make their own creations!

On to production!

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