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HIV / AIDS

The threat posed by HIV/AIDS is one of the most serious public health problems faced by India since independence. Around 2.5 million are estimated to be affected by HIV/AIDS (http://www.nacoonline.org/Quick_Links/HIV_Data).  In the absence of any cure, the only way to fight the disease is by ensuring prevention through widespread communication and awareness building. We use theatre as a tool for researching with community regarding factors leading to increased vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.  We have worked with rural and urban communities, women, adolescents and youth, slum dwellers, migrant workers, port workers, vulnerable groups like migrant workers, men having sex with men (MSM), intervenous drug users (IDUs) to reduce vulnerability to the spread of HIV, improve access to health services and develop community led action for health equity.
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  • 1 Awareness kiosk
  • 2 Community meeting
  • 3 Theatre Campaign
Our Work
Prevention through improved awareness
Street theatre and folk media are used to disseminate information on HIV/AIDS. Prior to the interventions, a rapid appraisal study is carried out using participatory approaches to gauge the awareness level on HIV/AIDS, local perceptions, myths and misconceptions.
  • We have mapped vulnerabilities among tourism workers and rural communities in Rajasthan, and slum dwellers in Amritsar and Bhubaneswar. This was followed by extensive awareness campaigns across these locations.
  • We have reached 5 district towns of Andhra  Pradesh (PSI, 2005-2006), slums in Bhubaneswar and Amritsar (HIV Alliance, 2006 & Lepra,2008), Kolkata and different district towns (on behalf of WBSAPCS,2001-2003), 125 district towns of West Bengal  (on behalf of PSI, 2003).
  • We have worked in rural areas like Kishanganj, Bihar (Project CHARCA-Unicef, 2004), Udaipur, Rajasthan (Project CHARCA- of UNFPA, 2006-2007), 900 locations across 10 districts of West Bengal. (CRS,2002)
  • We have undertaken targeted interventions with truckers at 104 locations spread across 10 highways covering 7 districts in West Bengal (WBSAPCS, 2002), and port workers across 7 ports of India namely Khidderpore, Haldia, Paradwip Tuticorin ,Cochi,Vizag,Vasco (Operation Project Lighthouse,  USAID funded project of PSI, 2002-2004).
 
Capacity building
We train health workers, NGO workers, local theatre groups and folk artists in using art and culture based tools for HIV communication. We help strengthen their communication skills.
  • We have worked with ASHA in Rajasthan, Anganwadi workers in Rajasthan, health workers in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Rasjasthan, inter person communicators at six ports across the country, outreach workers of NGOs like LEPRA in Bhubaneswar and AIWC in Amritsar.
  • Folk artists at Kalajattha in Rajasthan, Chau, Gambhira in West Bengal, local theatre groups in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Punjab, and West Bengal have been trained through capacity building workshops.
  • We have undertaken capacity building in ground communication with community based resource groups and inter personal communicators for sustained campaigning in 5 districts towns of Andhra Pradesh (on behalf of PSI, 2005-2006).
Community led Action and Advocacy
We mobilise community led action to reduce HIV/AIDS vulnerability by empowering youth, adolescents and women with knowledge, skills and improved access to testing and treatment services. We use theatre for building life skills and communication skills.
  • We have worked with tourism stakeholders (taxi drivers, auto-rickshaw drivers, tourist guides, hoteliers, shopkeepers, tourist police) in Udaipur, slum women at Amritsar and Bhubaneswar, youth and adolescents at Kishanganj and Udaipur.
  • We have mobilised networking of  multiple stakeholders like  PRI, local administration, local NGOs and grass root workers from diverse sectors (Sanitation, Health, HIV, Family planning) (NRHM & CHARCA at Udaipur).We have also provided linkages between community and service providers for furthering the cause of advocacy. Linkages between community and service providers.

States where we have worked on HIV

West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab

 Awards and recognitions

‘Civil Society Award 2006’ for outstanding contribution in HIV/AIDS Communication using Art and Culture, given by UNAIDS, National Aids Control Organization and SAATHII (Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India)

Reports for Downloads

Project Details

Project

Location & Duration

Client

Building risk perception on HIV/AIDS

West Bengal 2001-2003

WBSAPCS

Awareness campaign  targeting truckers

7 districts in West Bengal 2002

WBSAPCS

Stopping stigma against PLHAs (People Living with HIV/AIDS)

11 districts in West Bengal 2002

CRS

Project Operation Lighthouse

7 ports in at Khidderpore and Haldia, West Bengal 2002-2004

PSI

Community based HIV/AIDS/STD Response through Capacity-building and Awareness (CHARCA)

Kishanganj, Bihar
2004

Unicef

Udaipur, Rajasthan 2006-07

UNFPA

Capacity building for grass root communication mechanism

16 districts in Andhra Pradesh 2005-2006

PSI

Addressing Feminisation of HIV AIDS

Bhubaneshwar, Orissa and Amritsar, Punjab
2006

HIV Alliance

Reducing vulnerability of Tourism  Workers to HIV/AIDS

Udaipur, Rajasthan
2007

UNFPA

Project Sakhyam

Bhubaneshwar, Orissa
2008-2009

LEPRA, Interact

Fair Based Awareness campaign on International Women’s Day

2008,Patna

BSACS

Our Success stories and flagship initiatives
PSI, Operation Light House
A HIV/AIDS prevention programme in 12 major port communities of India
2002-2004
Between 2002 and 2004, 3250 street theatre shows were held in Hindi and Bengali in Haldia and Khidderpore port area in West Bengal to build awareness on HIV/AIDS, risk perceptions and to promote safe sexual behaviour. An elaborate campaign was designed and implemented. Messages were disseminated in a phased manner, with new storylines with different messages after every 2-3 months. Post campaign surveys reported significant improvement in awareness and behaviour. Knowledge Transfer Workshops were also conducted to build skills of the PSI interpersonal communicators at Kochi, Paradwip, Tuticorin, Goa and Vizag ports in planning and implementing IEC programmes.
PLHA Project
2002
In South 24 Parganas,BudgeBudge area ,a HIV positive youth was ostracised by the society. Post campaign follow up revealed that this youth has been accepted by the community and he has been provided an employment generation opportunity by way of setting up a tea stall at BudgeBudge station.
Awareness campaign targeting truckers
2002
WBSAPCS
During the project the script that was written keeping the truckers in mind had to be changed alongwith the costume of the actors. The show once started faced resistance from target audience who said that they take offence when its suggested that lungi clad truck drivers along the dhaba(roadside eateries) only are HIV prone or indulge in unsafe sexual practices. In order to cater to the sensitivity issue, the script as well as the costumes had to be revised.
HIV Alliance, Bhuvaneshwar, Orissa
2006

banglanatak dot com worked between August and October,2006 at selected slum areas at Amritsar and Bhubaneswar. Goals were to improve community awareness on SRH and HIV/AIDS, mobilise community participation in stopping spread of HIV/AIDS and build capacity of Alliance’s partner NGOs and community based peer groups in using theatre and entertainment based approaches to build awareness and mobilise behaviour change.

At Patharabandha the participants were Oriya girls and women. Some were members of Mahila Samiti. The adolescent girls had middle or secondary school level of education. At the end of the workshop they said, “We did not knew that we could speak so easily, and we could come out of our shyness in talking about sexual health.”

The Muslim women who attended the workshop at Malisahi were not aware of SRH or HIV/AIDS. They voiced their concerns and discussed problems like poor access to health care, lack of sanitation, safe drinking water and lack of access to educational facilities.
The women who attended the workshops acknowledged that they had learned a lot on SRH and HIV/AIDS and would share this with their friends.

Our campaign team interacted with the local slum youth and gained their confidence to convince them of the merits of generating awareness within the community. They volunteered and henceforth trained by our specialists to be peer educators.
Their effort were quite sustained as was observed at a field visit to Malisahi slum and the adjoining red light area, 2 years later in 2008..The women held regular meetings to take steps for furthering their safety against vulnerability towards HIV/AIDS

HIV Alliance, Amitsar, Punjab
2006

During discussions held after the shows, people brought up the following cases of HIV/AIDS affected persons in the area: 

  • During street theatre shows at Dashmesh Nagar, people mentioned a HIV positive person who had been forced earlier to return to his village but has now come back to Amritsar.
  • At Krishna Gali in Ghasmandi, the audience mentioned a case of HIV/AIDS affected family. A man who worked in Uttar Pradesh was infected. He had relationship with a girl in the area but later he got married to another woman. The man has died of AIDS. His wife and the woman with whom he was involved both have AIDS.
  • A person at Ghasmandi got infected through blood transfusion after he had an accident. He, his wife and their child have AIDS as well.

The following are cases of improved health seeking behaviour triggered by the campaign:

  • In Ghasmandi, residents of one area took the step of sending a drug addicted boy to a rehabilitation centre after learning about it from the show. 
  • In Gujrati Mohalla, a shop owner who had history of risky sexual behaviour in the past enquired about testing facilities and got himself tested.

Community based HIV/AIDS/STD Response through Capacity-building and Awareness (CHARCA)
Udaipur, Rajasthan 2006-07

The campaign has led to improved awareness on HIV/AIDS and initiated discussion on the issue in the community.
The idea of using condom and risks of having unprotected sex with multiple partners are quite new to local people. A car driver, for example, confessed to the facilitator that he has multiple sexual partners and he does not use condoms. Next morning he came to the hotel and showed that he had bought a pack of condoms.

The resource groups were also enriched by the experience. The group at Mavli got opportunity to do more shows locally in Ballabhnagar Mela at Ghasa and thanked the banglanatak coordinators. Sarpanch of one of the villages in Mavli was very happy to see the shows and demanded more such shows for campaign. Tehsildar at Salumber commented after seeing the shows that this is an excellent way to make the community come forward and speak up. He felt that this is the first step that the community can take to break shyness on talking about HIV/AIDS.


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