Kalyani chosen among Best Communication strategies on HIV/ AIDS in Asia

Kalyani chosen among Best Communication strategies on HIV/ AIDS in Asia

NEW DELHI: Doordarshan?s weekly programme on health issues ?Kalyani? has been selected by the Asian Media Information Communication Centre (AMIC), Singapore, as the best communication strategy on HIV/AIDS from India for the project titled ?HIV/AIDS Prevention in Asia: Communicating the Message?.

Supported by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, AMIC has also selected Nai Zindagi from Pakistan, Sri Lanka?s Putting HIV on the front page; Bangladesh?s Durjoy Nari Shongo on women?s empowerment; and Malaysia?s Mak Nyah on empowering transgender and transsexual people.

Kalyani, which means "benedictions from a Goddess", is broadcast in nine states creating health awareness about malaria, tuberculosis, tobacco, reproductive health, sanitation, hygiene and HIV/AIDS. The programme is produced in partnership with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Family Welfare and the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO).

As a result of the programme, Kalyani Clubs have sprung up in various parts of the country to spread the message of good health. The concept of Kalyani clubs (with membership of local people of the village who watch the programme avidly and strategize on how to implement the health messages) was a crucial part of the communications strategy.

To date 2500 Kalyani clubs have been set up in the country with a membership of over 58,000. The programmes, beamed across nine states, have a common theme but each state produces it independently adding local colour and flavour.

The best communication strategies being used by different countries of Asia on HIV and AIDS are being documented in a CD-Rom as well as a resource book . Noted journalist Usha Rai and Swapna Majumdar travelled to Orissa and Chattisgarh to study the impact of the Doordarshan programme Kalyani and how it is changing rural lives.

Senior Doordarshan Executive Usha Bhasin, who heads the development communication division of Doordarshan, told indiantelevision.com that the objective of forming Kalyani clubs was to give a platform to women, particularly those who had never stepped out of their homes, to participate in the process of development. "The concept of Kalyani clubs was part of the communication strategy of the Kalyani programme started in 2002. We know that as a medium we can enter into the houses of people but we need support to sustain the messages. It was important to have partners in the field to keep hammering the health messages and the women of the Kalyani clubs have done that in their own innovative ways," she pointed out.

A novel tactic adopted by Sunita Vishwakarma, 28, president of Kalyani club in village Raveli of district Durg, was to get the health messages printed on the cover of ration cards. "All our members are housewives like me and use ration cards. So it was a simple and effective way of getting everyone in the house to see the messages," she reveals.

Today, the Kalyani programmes have almost the same TRPs (Television Rating Points ) as the news programmes beamed by the regional stations of Doordarshan. Commercially viable, Kalyani is actually bringing in revenue for the public broadcaster. In view of heavy demand for advertisements in Kalyani, the cost of air time had to be increased to make it the highest - same as the regional news of Doordarshan.

If music and dance are at the heart of commercial television?s reality shows, Kalyani is the reality show of rural India. The falling sex ratio, sex selection and female infanticide have given India a bad name. But in areas where these shows are popular, several new born girls have been christened Kalyani and as the name denotes they are seen as a blessing or a benediction.

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