The Facts for Life Group Communication Initiative is a comprehensive communication framework that supports behavioural outcomes critical to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by working through relevant government programmes. The initiative is based on the premise that infant and child survival can be ensured by proper preventive and curative interventions. These can be successfully implemented through a mix of actions at the household/community level and a basic package of primary healthcare that does not rely on complex technology. The initiative’s flagship intervention in India; Kyunki Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai, is an entertainment-education drama serial, telecast by the national broadcaster Doordarshan.
Rigorously pretested and supported by continuous research, the serial promotes pro-social change Changing lives through Group Communication and encourages self-efficacy through persuasive modelling. It utilises engaging stories to provide information on critical health, education, equality and protection issues, and messages which aid the village level communicators in their interpersonal and group communication mandates.
NCIS supported UNICEF India as a communication agency in Phase I of the project which reached 112 villages of Lalitpur district in 2009 through 1,000 Group Communication (GC) sessions. The 2nd phase expanded to 4,500 GCs in 261 villages in 2011. Spurred by the success of Phase I, the second phase covered 11 themes integral for child survival, growth and development. The themes cover the entire gamut of child survival strategy and are presented in a very interesting manner through videos, woven as stories around a central character (Ammaji) guiding and providing advice for better community action. The Ammaji Kehti Hai videos were based on the “Kyunki… Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai” a popular television serial.
The Group Communication Project reached around 130,000 community members through 4,500 sessions. The communication strategy revolved around four basic principles which were based on “TESU” (Training, Extending the communication,Sustainability, and Uniting community members.‘Tesu’ is the Indian name of flame of the forest, a bright orange-red flower that grows in bunches). Social inclusion was an important component of the project. The sessions were carried out primarily in those hamlets which had socially excluded populations.
The GCF sessions have been, in many ways, a platform to discuss the problems and resolving them. This brought more accountability from village representatives and service providers.
Community members pledged to enrol their girl children in school. They also pledged to spread the message on HIV and to adopt safe sex pracitices. Women started utilising services at ICTCs. A pre- and post-assessment of knowledge gained through GCs was done for each session. A significant increase in knowledge levels among the participants was observed across the GC themes.
An independent participant satisfaction survey commissioned by UNICEF following three rounds of implementation of BCC intervention showed that the group sessions have facilitated group cohesiveness and action; while videos have increased knowledge, dialogue, confidence and initiated change. It was found that 63% of those who participated in the group communication sessions had discussed the messages within the group, and 34% reported taking action on one or the other message.
Themes in Group Communication
- 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
Communication and training material developed for the assignment:
GCF Training Guide
For more information on the SBCC activities, materials and resources write to firstname.lastname@example.org.