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Bananas: A Lesson from Field-Testing

Over the last month, we’ve learned a ton from round one of field-testing our new Community Health Promoter Curriculum in Nicaragua.

Field-testing is a fascinating process that provides tremendous insight into the complexity of human communication. How do we best communicate? How do I know that if I say “blue” that you will understand just what I mean? Am I referring to the color or to the feeling “sad”? How do we bridge hidden cross-cultural gaffes? How many new ideas can the human memory take in at once? How is what you see when you look at a drawing different than what I see?

Image of a banana to illustrate the concept of a bad spot

Image of bananas to illustrate the concept of a bad spot

For example, we used a drawing of three bananas to illustrate the concept of “bad spots.” That worked marginally well … until the next page, where we featured a picture of a happy family with three children. The test group forgot all about the “bad spots” and was only concerned that there were not enough bananas for everyone in the family!


Our biggest challenge is how to communicate complex information in a digestible way (no pun intended) to individuals who will take that knowledge and pass it on to their communities. Managing misinformation is the biggest challenge to outreach efforts.

We are currently working to incorporate insights such as these so we can send out the curriculum for expert review. There is certainly a need for a well-designed, effective curriculum and we have been re-inspired to create a resource that the world can use.

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