Population Foundation of India has been working to harness the power of entertainment education to alter and transform deeply entrenched social behaviours and promote women empowerment, their health and well being. PFI was involved with the first few TV soap operas in India – Hum Log (1984-85) and Hum Raahi (1992-93). It was also the lead agency in supporting a radio drama series, Dehleez, on youth sexuality in collaboration with the All India Radio. The current Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) projects are as under:
Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (MKBKSH – I, A Woman Can Achieve Anything) is a transmedia entertainment education initiative that was launched in March 2014. The show is now in it’s third season this year, and continues to use entertainment education through a 360-degree approach to reach out to young women, adolescents and youth, highlighting the importance of empowering women and girls to take control of their bodies. Season 3 of the show is funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and REC Foundation, and is being broadcast on Doordarshan and on Youtube. The core of the initiative is the radio and television drama series, with extensions in local community radio stations, social media channels and through the Interactive Voice Response System; encouraging increased user engagement and parasocial interaction. The show has 9.5 million cumulative viewership over the first 26 episodes, and more than 1 million unique viewers per episode. The IVRS number has received over 2,00,00 calls from viewers and #MKBKSH has reached 894 million users on digital media. Read more here.
Bas Ab Bahut Ho Gaya (BABHG - Enough is Enough), supported by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ran from October 2016 to Marc 2018. The overall goal of the project was to positively influence the knowledge, attitude and perceptions of the youth on gender-based violence, particularly violence against women and girls, through sustained digital media interventions and engagement. India's 356 million youth are vulnerable to gender-based violence (GBV) – either as perpetrators or as survivors. As part of this project 6 short films were released on digital media (featuring celebrities like Vidya Balan, Sania Mirza and Barkha Dutt) and a celebrity concert was held in Mumbai, among other activities on digital media to amplify the message of a gender inclusive and safe world.
Sex ki Adalat is a webseries hosted on digital media which tackles taboo topics related to adolescent sexual health and hygiene in an edutainment format with support from Capital for Good. Issues like virginity, menstruation, son preference and others are handled in a humorous manner to reach out to young people. A series, Reel to Real was also produced, which documented the change people have made in their lives after watching the show Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon. For more on Reel to Real, see here. The Capital for Good project was aimed at increasing awareness of youth in urban and rural areas on issues that affect them, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, mental health and age at marriage through a digital intervention.