Making behavior change fun The SHOPS Plus team in India tested 22 types of interpersonal communication activities to spark behavior change in family planning and child health.

Interpersonal communication activities are an important aspect of the program’s social and behavior change strategy to increase contraception use and promote the use of oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc for childhood diarrhea. To achieve its family planning and child health goals, the SHOPS Plus team in India engaged directly with consumers during their daily activities. From digital messages to street theater, here are a few examples of the types of activities our team used.

Riding the virtual rollercoaster

The project used a virtual reality game to educate people about managing childhood diarrhea. The game transports users on a rollercoaster ride that has intermittent messages on ORS and zinc use for treating childhood diarrhea. This innovative technology is educating users in a fun and engaging way.

Two women take a ride on the virtual rollercoaster to learn more about ORS and zinc.

"Bindaas Binita opened their eyes"

Women received family planning messaging from a fun, upbeat young woman, referred to as Bindaas Binita (cool Binita), through headphones while they relaxed at the beauty parlor. Binita shares her experience with family planning and the women listen to her story through headphones. If women had any questions following the recording, the beautician directed them to a SHOPS Plus helpline they could call to get more information on products and services.

Two women listen to Bindaas Binita as they wait for their appointment at a beauty parlor.
Women listening to Bindaas Binita during a visit to their beauty parlors.
"Young females of our locality at Pan Bazar neither knew the importance of family planning, nor discussed it amongst themselves," says Hema Masih, owner of the Dulhan Beauty Parlor in Pan Bazar, Guwahati. "Bindaas Binita opened their eyes and they have started dialing the helpline for more information, and are seeking medical advice. When they see the poster in my shop, they ask me questions and I ask them to dial the helpline for their questions.”

Taking acting skills to the marketplace

SHOPS Plus used actors to perform skits in bustling marketplaces to educate passers-by on family planning and reproductive health. The skits started with a heated debate about family planning between a man and woman, which drew the attention of passers-by. At the end of the skit the couple arrived at an agreement, teaching the audience about the importance of communication in family planning decision making.

The skit begins with a couple having a heated argument about family planning.

Mummy Ke Superhero

ORS and zinc are dressed in super hero costumes as they battle diarrhea.

In villages across the county, actors dressed in costumes and became Mummy Ke Superhero (a mother’s superhero). They performed entertaining skits centered on a battle between diarrhea and its enemy, the team of ORS and zinc. The skit depicted the benefits of ORS and zinc when fighting against childhood diarrhea, with ORS and zinc always saving the day as a proven treatment for diarrhea.

Community members of all ages enjoying the superhero skit and learning more about ORS and zinc for treatment of childhood diarrhea.

Hang out with your "Bestie"

Bestie pop-up stands share information on family planning and reproductive health.

On college campuses, SHOPS Plus used pop-up stands to educate students on family planning and reproductive health topics. At the stands, students took interactive quizzes and played other games individually or with their best friends. These pop-up stands attracted active participants, female and male.

Students engage with games and quizzes at a Bestie pop-up stand on their college campus.

Knock Knock, Kaun Hal?

Similar to the “knock knock, who’s there?” joke, a news reporter and camera crew knocked on the doors of residences in some communities and asked residents questions about ORS and zinc. If participants answered the questions correctly, their interviews were played on the radio and video clips were posted on Facebook.

“Such educational programs are highly needed because there are many mothers like me who have no idea how they can better manage and treat diarrhea and make sure their babies stay healthy and happy," said Shagufta Begum, a resident in Ranchi who participated in one of the interviews.
If participants answer the questions correctly, they are played on the radio.

Making the pledge, I-Shapath

The project also worked with pharmacists in India to promote proper diarrhea management. As part of this initiative, pharmacists made a shapath (pledge) by displaying their photo on an ORS and zinc poster in their pharmacy.

Pharmacist makes the shapath and poses for a photo.
“After exposure to I-Shapath, we now check the prescription of a child diagnosed with diarrhea for mention of ORS and zinc...," explains Pradeep Saha, owner of Arunoday Medicals in Guwahati. "My poster at the entrance of the shop keeps reminding [me] to share this information with all young parents.”

How's that? That's ORS!

A cricket bat and wicket decorated with ORS stickers.

Cricket is one of the most popular sports in India. Each game takes at least six hours, and test matches are played over three to five days. For that reason, SHOPS Plus used cricket matches to educate community members with diarrhea management messages. Throughout the match, the umpires and commentators added health messages to the live commentary to make matches fun and educational.

Cricket match taking place inside the netted area (left) while live commentary takes place on a stage next to the pitch.

About SHOPS Plus

Sustaining Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus is USAID’s flagship initiative in private sector health. The project seeks to harness the full potential of the private sector and catalyze public-private engagement to improve health outcomes in family planning, HIV, TB, child health, and other health areas.