For a period of 3 years, New Concept worked with the marginalised and vulnerable communities in 373 villages of Lalitpur, conducting 5,500 group communication (GC) sessions. The project also involved dialogue with village communities, service providers and program managers on improving accessibility to health services and government programmes.
This assignment was part of the Facts for Life Group Communication Initiative, a comprehensive communication framework that supports behavioural outcomes critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The initiative’s flagship intervention in India; Kyunki Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai, is an entertainment-education drama serial that premiered on national television on World Health Day, 2008.
The project covered 11 themes integral for child survival, growth and development; which include:
- Personal Hygiene and Cleanliness
- Birth Timing and Spacing
- Safe Pregnancy and Motherhood
- Nutrition and Growth
- Breastfeeding and Complementary Feeding
- Newborn Care
- Child Development and Early Learning
The overall scope of work of New Concept included:
- Identifying and training 60 Group Communication Facilitators to hold sessions with community members in 373 villages; identifying and training 12 members for supportive field supervision of all sessions and four members for monitoring 30% of the sessions.
- Developing the training kit – Besides a 5-day capacity Building of all the 75 odd project team members at the beginning of the project, refresher trainings for content understanding as well communication skills using live examples from the field was a regular monthly feature.
- Conducting 4500 sessions and submitting detailed report to UNICEF every 350 sessions.
- Holding review meetings every month to consolidate learnings and make mid-course corrections if necessary.
- Document best practices.
This assignment has provided New Concept an excellent perspective and insight into the socio-economic conditions of Lalitpur district; which forms a portion of the hill region of Bundelkhand. The district has a large Scheduled Caste population of 25%. In the rural hinterland, agriculture is still the mainstay of the people. Rampant mining, inaccessible hamlets/ pockets and heavy migrant populations add to the existing health and livelihood challenges for communities which are cut off from the mainstream; conditions very similar to the rest of the Bundelkhand region.
The field team (Group Communication Facilitators and Field Support Supervisors) largely comprised of the local community from various parts of Lalitpur; coming from various cultural backgrounds. Rigorous capacity building sessions were conducted to bring the 75-odd field team together to work for a common goal and to build within them a sense of ownership to the project. This was ensured through continuous capacity building by way of MRMs and Content Training sessions (held monthly) and periodic review and team building workshops. In spite of the extremely difficult terrain and local dialects, our team was able to cut across caste barriers and reach the target communities for effective communication on a broad range of themes.