Social health demands an unconventional approach

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Social health demands an unconventional approach

  1. To work in this space, one needs a qualitatively different type and level of sensitivity. Our experience tells us that it is moderating the rush to arrive at solutions. Listen, observe, gain insights and map the receiver of the communication in various ways. Only then one can create the relevant communication.
  2. Efforts in this space demand a strong ‘learning- correction and change’ approach. You create the communication, allow it to settle down, but be open enough to seek feedback and be ready to modify. Challenges can come in any form – mind set, language barriers, improper illustrations and pictures, culturally insensitive use and turn of phrase, being too pedantic and so on. Our way is therefore not to identify our creative egos with the work but with the relevance of the work and how it could be tailored and fine-tuned to bring about a behavioral change.
  3. Identification of different audiences who are to be part of the complete communication loop is an essential input.
  4. Communication has to be simple, basic and colloquial. Communication also has to identify the various disseminators of the messages – outreach workers, organizations, govt., bodies and the targets who are the primary receivers of the communication.
  5. Communication is all about creating a matrix which has a simple structure of need/problem and the message that would solve it, followed by the type of communication unit.
  6. Social health communication also mandates an insightful understanding and practical demonstration of how the message ought to be disseminated.

HLFPPT an NGO and an execution agency for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Aids Prevention Agency of the State of Andhra Pradesh, India as part of their behavioral change initiatives needed to mount a sustained one to one campaign addressing female and male sex workers and the outreach partners. VMS adopted a classic planning- mapping – detailing – creation-testing- modifying approach to address the communication needs with a messaging structure, a laddering process and adequate windows for feedback and adoption.