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Behaviour Change Communication through serials accessible on mobile phones

Behaviour Change Communication or BCC is a comprehensive communication strategy that distributes a tailored message across a targeted group or community to encourage safer and healthier behaviour among them. The process uses a mix of inter-personal, group and mass media channels with an emphasis on participatory methods.  Strategies have been tested and several pilot projects have been run at the national and state levels in the recent years. The National Rural Health Mission (NHRM) and State Innovations in Family Planning Services Agency (SIFPSA) are two of the agencies that have successfully developed and delivered BCC strategies in collaboration with Government of India, Government of UP, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand for changing the community maternity health status and family planning.

One of the major tools in implementing such a strategy is an engaging mass communication media which has a massive outreach. When the vision of change involves societal change as much as individual change, the process should have audience engagement and participation throughout, rather than giving them information and telling them what to do. It is into this role of being an effective communication media that can guarantee user engagement and participation that Mobilevaani effortlessly fits in.

Mobile Vaani has proved to be as effective as the conventional media and it is proving to be even better as it has the unique access rural households whose sole electronic possession is a mobile phone. Also, it has the rare feature that allows users to express their opinion to the world by the press of a button.

For user engagement and behaviour change, Mobile Vaani has already implemented several different kinds of campaigns. A recent campaign on MV network was based on the serial, ‘Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon’, which was launched by Population Foundation of India (PFI) on DD national television channel and All India Radio. The campaign on MV network revolved around the key issues highlighted in the serial.

Set in a small town Pratapur, ‘Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon’ (MKBKSH) revolves around the inspiring journey of Dr. Sneha. She represents the young Indian woman of today, who thrives on challenges. Emotionally torn between family and society, between professional aspirations and personal commitment, her struggles and triumphs form the core of this memorable soap opera. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry, but it will also make you think. ‘Main Kuch Bhi kar Sakti Hoon’ throws light on the ability of a woman to break free of the shackles of the society and prove her mettle.

The campaign not only made the audio version of the serial available to the varied socio-economic population of the remotest corners of many states through mobile phones, but it also highlighted several issues related to diverse social practices revolving around child-marriage, sex-selective abortion, dowry, alcoholism, family planning and gender equality. By seeking opinions of the listeners and spreading awareness on related social issues, the campaign experienced interactions between listeners from varied regions, classes and ethnicities.

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