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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Inspiration:A Fun-Filled Programme in Kolkata Inspired Poor Children to Improve Hygiene in Their Communities

Empowering children to be changemakers of tomorrow can go a long way to solving many of India’s pressing problems. Richa Shukla writes about how a campaign in parts of Kolkata helped teach kids about hygiene and cleanliness, and inspired them to influence their communities.

Five-year-old Jayanti teaches her mother to make soapy threads which she can tie on her wrist when she goes to the toilet. Eight-year-old Dipesh can tell his class everything about ‘dast’ (diarrhoea) and what to do if anyone gets it. He says that if oral rehydration salts (ORS) don’t give you relief, you need to go see a doctor.

These are a few of the scores of positive changes that happen when technology, coupled with engaging and age-appropriate content, empowers children to become agents of change for themselves and their communities. Marrying technology and healthcare activities at the grassroots can give a much-needed boost to create awareness around preventive healthcare, especially in the semi-urban and rural parts of India.

According to the 2011 census report, around 53.1 % households in India do not have access to toilets, while 49.8 % practice open defecation. Diarrhoea, the second leading cause of death among children under five globally, is the leading cause of early childhood mortality in India, with 2,00,000 diarrhoea deaths reported every year. In the wake of these staggering statistics, using a variety of engaging media can bring in maximum impact through positive shifts in the behaviour of children, who can then be the ushers of change.

If you can engage children, you can educate them. Sesame Workshop firmly believes in this philosophy, and has a worldwide legacy of understanding what works best for children. Sesame Workshop India (SWI) recently concluded campaigns focussing on health and hygiene habits of children in Kolkata and Shivpuri, and their stories of change narrate the impact that technology, coupled with engaging content, can have on young minds. Technology need not always be high-end and sci-fi. Sometimes all it takes to catch hold of a child’s attention is a radio and a basic mobile phone.

Through the ‘Raho Swachh, Jiyo Mast’ programme in Kolkata, SWI adopted varied intervention techniques to empower children to become the change-makers in their communities with regard to hygiene. The idea was to address three fundamental areas—wearing slippers to the toilet, use water to clean the toilet, and wash hands with soap after going to the toilet.

The messages were made engaging in various ways, like creating simple stories that children would relate to, with fun fictional characters such as Sabun Sipahi (Soap Soldier), Commander Keetanu (Commander Germ), Chappal Chacha and Chachi (Slipper Uncle and Aunt), Mugga Mama (Mug Uncle), and Paani Rani (Water Queen).
Activities and games involving these characters helped children understand and retain the three critical toilet-use messages.

Source,Credit & Full Story at: http://www.thebetterindia.com/85844/how-technology-media-inspiring-children-improve-hygiene/

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