FACILITATING BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE FOR BETTER NUTRITIONAL HABITS IN TRIBAL ARAKU
India’s tribal people make up close to 8.6% of our country’s population. Yet, it’s impossible to ignore the accompanying hard-hitting realities; high mother and child mortality rates, malnourishment, healthcare inequity, loss of cultural identity, etc., which afflict these communities. We worked with Piramal Swasthya with the objective of changing community mindsets and behaviour to bridge the inequitable gap that tribal people endure, eventually empowering them to adopt best practices for health and nutrition.
To serve as a catalyst in Piramal Swasthya’s efforts, by providing design solutions for better healthcare communication between the on-ground caregivers and the beneficiaries. We had to understand the context and challenges of all the stakeholders so as to identify touchpoints and design interventions that would improve the efficacy of Projects Asara and Gosthani.
Our communication was intended to act as a bridge between Piramal’s on-field caregivers and the beneficiaries of 3 tribal belts in Araku Valley of Andhra Pradesh, with a population of 55,000. Thus, we had two sets of target audiences, the caregivers who would use the communication material as a medium of instruction, and the beneficiaries, who were to be trained in adopting the best practices.
As we began studying on-ground challenges and diverse cultural contexts, we realised that the communities had over time lost many traditions, key amongst these being foraging, due to a loss of forested habitats. This had created an entire generation in flux, under the threatening shadow of creeping urbanisation. A decline in rich cooking traditions had also led to an imbalanced diet, acutely deficient in micronutrients. Poverty, alcoholism and illiteracy further compounded the issues at hand!
To address these on-ground challenges, we created a varied mix of communication touchpoints that would effortlessly blend into the communities’ native environments, while being culturally appropriate.
We used relatable metaphors like agrarian motifs to indicate children’s growth and good health in the ‘height-weight’ charts, and also developed a visual language, inspired by local crafts and customs like the ‘kolam’, a traditional decoration that adorns both doorsteps and woven-fabric borders. We offset the lack of standard measuring devices by integrating traditional and acceptable forms like a fist to measure food, and a bangle around the child’s arm to monitor growth, into the narrative. This helped the beneficiaries adopt these practices more intuitively. To counter the lack of storage facilities and drawers to store medicines and documents, we designed a hanging medical kit. Similarly, we replaced an everyday floor mat, with one that informs about a balanced diet, while continue to look decorative enough to be used. We designed interventions that would seamlessly fit into prevalent living contexts. Finally, to create agents of change, we designed a story book with dos and don’ts, enabling children to be active advocates and bring about change in family behaviour.
Vote of Thanks:
NID Ahmedabad, MIT-ID Pune, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology Bangaluru