DFID as part of its ‘Improved Family Planning (FP) and Reproductive Health (RH) Services in India project’, had initiated Project Ujjwal through catalyzing active participation of the private sector to scale-up quality and affordable FP and RH services for women and men particularly from the poorest sections in Bihar and Odisha. The project was implemented by Futures Group while Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT), Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), and Johns Hopkins University - Center for Communication Programs (JHU-CCP) were responsible for technical monitoring of the project.
The project adopted PPP model and took a holistic approach. On one hand the project worked towards strengthening quality service delivery through social franchising outlets to ensure the reach of service to the underserved/ un-served areas and population, on the other hand men and women of reproductive age group were engaged and motivated for accessing the services to increase uptake of modern methods of contraception. Private clinics operational in the targeted areas were roped in to provide quality and affordable family planning services using modern contraceptive methods to strengthen service delivery. As an incentive the clinics were promoted as part of a chain of Ujjwal Clinincs. The campaign targeted working n the demand side to raise demand for the services of the Ujjwal clinincs amongst married couples.
i-land informatics limited, specializing communication for development using innovative theatre based approach was the implementing partner for the Entertainment Education (EE) shows to raise awareness on and generate demand for Family Planning using modern contraceptive methods across 38 districts of Bihar.
The theatre based campaign aligned its communication line with the project goal and aimed at appealing to the underserved population by creating role models of ‘Smart Couple’ through the street plays. 3000 theatre shows were held across 38 districts covering 10 kms radius of 222 Ujjwal Clinics. The campaign held in 4 phases between March 2014 – February 2015 and directly reached 7 lakhs people and engaged about 5500 stakeholders. The shows reached about 4.5 lakh targeted audience and also involved local stakeholders like ASHAs, AWWs, PRI members, SHG members, teachers, block officials and Ujjwal project officials.
In addition, the campaign created a pull of 13 local performing teams based on their geographical location in Bihar. They performed the interactive theatre shows in Hindi, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Maghi and Angika. The campaign also engaged local youth to create a field force of 45 coordinators who coordinated with the clinics and liaisioned with the village level stakeholders for smooth execution of the campaign. At each show attempts were made to identify ‘Smart Couples’, who have already adopted the desired behavior, to nurture them as community champions for family planning.
The interactive theatre shows targeted mobilizing people to adopt FP, making them aware of modern contraceptive methods and encouraging them to seek quality and affordable services from the nearby Ujjwal Clinics.
The shows were successful in creating awareness in the community on FP and Ujjwal Clinic services and created an interest among the community to avail the right method as per their needs. Demand generation and offtake of services at Ujjwal clinics also increased after the show. People felt that there is very little awareness among community members on FP services and products and that such campaigns should be held more frequently covering more villages to reach out to more people. The exit interviews clearly showed that the audience could easily relate to the core messages of the shows. It also clearly demonstrated that villagers were inclined to have spousal discussion on the issue along with discussions with the Ujjwal Saathi.