Lucky Iron Fish

Starting with a challenging problem…a medical issue deep in the jungle where 60 per cent of Cambodian women face premature labour, hemorrhaging during childbirth and poor brain development among their babies all due to simple anemia, or a lack of iron. The solution was pretty obvious, throw a piece of iron into a cooking pot, but how would this be done?

“We knew some random piece of ugly metal wouldn’t work . . . so we had to come up with an attractive idea, it became a challenge in social marketing. The research team tried a small circle of iron. The women wouldn’t use it. They crafted iron shaped like a lotus flower. The women didn’t like that either. But when Charles’ team came up with a piece of iron shaped like a local river fish believed to be lucky…bingo. Women were happy to place it in their cooking pots and in the months that followed, the iron levels in the village climbed. We designed it about 3″ long, small enough to be stirred easily but large enough to provide up to about 75 per cent of the daily iron requirement,” said Charles. They found a local scrap metal worker who could make them for $1.50 each, and so far they have been reusing the fish roughly three years. The iron fish is incredibly powerful.”


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