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In 1990, Jerry Sternin was working for Save the Children, the international organization that helps children in need. He’d been asked to open a new office in Vietnam to fight malnutrition. When Sternin arrived, the welcome was rather chilly. The foreign minister let him know that not everyone in the government appreciated his presence. The minister told Sternin, “You have six months to make a difference.”
Sternin knew that millions of kids couldn’t wait for the intertwined set of problems that caused malnutrition to be addressed (poor sanitation, poverty, lack of clean water, ignorance about nutrition). He had a better idea — he traveled to rural villages and located bright spots – families whose kids were bigger and healthier than the typical child. He looked for what the mothers did different (spreading meals across four servings rather than two, mixing tiny shrimp and crabs with their kids’ rice). Then, instead of making a formal announcement (Gather ’round, everyone: I’ve studied your problem and now I have the answer!”), he gathered malnourished families to cook together using shrimp.
The cooking classes changed the culture of the village, and avoided the “Not Invented Here” problem, by signaling that the solution was a native one.
The program managed with a shoestring budget to make a big dent in malnutrition. It reached 2.2 million Vietnamese people in 265 villages, and became a national model for reducing malnutrition.
This story is one of many told in Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, the new book from the bestselling authors of Made to Stick, Chip Heath & Dan Heath. The book shows solid evidence that successful changes follow a pattern, a pattern we can use to make the changes that matter to us.
Success is possible regardless of the scale of the change and the size of the budget.
Projeto 100% will follow this successful path to change.
Will you help us make the switch?
Buy from Amazon using one of the links below and Projeto 100% will earn a commission that will be entirely applied in helping poor communities in Brazil get better education for a better life.