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How a Design Choice Reduced Anemia in Cambodia

The Skimm today had a link to the Lucky Iron Fish, a buy-one-give-one Tom's-type social enterprise that provides fish-shaped blocks of iron for Cambodian families to drop into their soup pots, tackling widespread anemia and the big health problems that go with it (premature labor, hemorrhaging in childbirth). What I find cool is the backstory -- first they distributed plain old blocks of iron. No one would use them. Then they tried molding them into the shape of a lotus flower. Still no go (who puts flowers in soup)? Then they struck on a fish, something that both belongs in soup and is a traditional symbol of luck. The fish have become more widely used, and anemia rates dropped by 43% in the target population. Big score for Fun Easy Popular.

Sara Isaac is Director of Strategy + Planning at Marketing for Change.

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