OneHen.org, an interactive Website designed to engage and educate children, parents and teachers on the benefits of microfinance and ultimately stimulate a call to action, today officially commenced its mission. Through compelling games and activities, the site introduces important financial concepts such as entrepreneurialism to help children understand how they can make a broader impact. OneHen.org was developed by Sapient Interactive, the marketing services group of Sapient (NASDAQ: SAPE), with help from Bain & Company’s Community Works Team, Opportunity International and author Katie Smith Milway, global publisher at Bain & Company and author of One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference.
Milway’s book is the story of a West African boy who receives a small loan to purchase a hen, which ultimately begins his entrepreneurial journey. The book is inspired by the true story of Reverend Kwabena Darko, one of the largest poultry farmers in West Africa and founder of the Ghanaian nonprofit Sinapi Aba, which is part of the microfinance organization Opportunity International. Both the book and OneHen.org are being officially introduced this evening at Opportunity International’s President’s Forum being held at the Fairmont Turnberry Isle Resort & Club in Miami, Florida.
“Microfinance is one of the best ways to help people in developing countries because it doesn’t depend on benefits trickling down from official aid programs, but rather on the resourcefulness of individuals,” said Milway. “Microfinance is a particularly apt entry point for children into the world of international development, because it is based on practices that any child who has run a lemonade stand can understand. With the book and onehen.org, we now have a means to effectively reach and engage children worldwide. I’m hoping both will inspire kids and spur them to invest their lemonade stand earnings to help others reach their dreams.”
In 2006, Muhammed Yunus and his Grameen Bank were the recipients of a Nobel Peace Prize for their work to promote microfinance. Sapient developed OneHen.org as an online space where children can connect with the concept of microfinancing through fun, interactive games. Beginning in May 2008, children will also have an opportunity to make real donations to microfinancing projects through “virtual loans.” The site also provides information for donors and includes real-life success stories of individuals who have received loans from organizations such as Opportunity International. Additionally, curriculum ideas and other classroom activities for teachers and librarians are provided by publisher Kids Can Press, bringing the teachings in Milway’s book to life.
“The challenge for us was creating an engaging Website capable of connecting both children and adults to a subject that may be foreign to them in many ways –microfinance,” said Dan Barnicle, director of Program Management, Sapient. “By leveraging the expertise of our team and the insights of the teams at Bain & Company, Opportunity International and Katie, we were able to turn a topic that has gained tremendous credence in professional development circles into a compelling and exciting interactive experience that not only promotes the benefits of microfinance but creates a call to action that can set other children on the path Reverend Darko took.”