Digital media for social and behaviour change in India: How to reach and engage lower socioeconomic groups with digital content
Linda Raftree, iMedia Associate, presented a discussion on
Digital and Social Media for Social and Behavior Change Communication (SBCC)
at MERLTech event in 2019
iMedia is advising the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its partners in India on the digital component of MTV Nishedh, a multi-platform entertainment-education campaign (still in development) which will focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights for young people. Every fifth person in India is an adolescent – at 243 million the largest single cohort of young people in the world. India still has a high prevalence of child marriage and adolescent pregnancies, and low awareness amongst youth on how to prevent HIV and STIs. National education policies often promote abstinence-only; with in-school sex education effectively banned in a few states. As government policies and programmes struggle or are reluctant to deliver SRH information and services, mass media – using TV, radio and digital – presents a massive opportunity to reach millions of Indian adolescents and young people.
Following MTV’s hit TV show in Africa, Shuga, and employing a similar approach and style, the campaign will give adolescents access to information about sexual and reproductive health and realistic solutions in a tone that they understand and identify with, which is urgently needed in a context of poor knowledge and education. Digital platforms will be used to deepen audience engagement and tailor information to their specific needs, as well as creating space for online discussion. Users of social media will be able to repeat view sensitive content and see extra drama and informational content.
In addition to making inputs to the theory of change underpinning the programme, we researched current approaches to using mobile and other digital communications to support social and behaviour change. This has resulted in our first substantive output for Gates Foundation: a comprehensive report drawing on theory, practice and emerging evidence from around the world.