By Arti Manchanda Grover
In a usual village meeting setting, a facilitator opens the session discussion and villagers share their concerns and put forth their experiences. What if the same meeting setting uses interactive training methodology to convey the messages? The result is curiosity, relativeness, happiness, and a sea of emotions. Interactive training methodologies promote purposeful engagement with material aided by trainees interacting with others (instructor or peers). The methods include eLearning, simulation training, hands-on training, coaching/mentoring, lectures, group discussions and activities, role-playing, and others.
Games as IEC tools
Local participation is critical for the success of any development program as it allows for representation along with inclusion of local knowledge and practices, leading to more equitable and sustained outcomes. IEC (information, education and communication) has been a strategy to spread awareness to rural audiences through communication channels to achieve a desired positive result. The IEC programs are effective ways of taking government policies to the grassroots level. They are pivotal in spreading awareness regarding various programs and policies to the beneficiaries, especially in the rural areas.
S M Sehgal Foundation (Sehgal Foundation) uses IEC to impart information about government programs and critical health knowledge such that villagers can make informed choices for inclusive and sustainable development.
Almost anyone can relate to playing Ludo and Snakes and Ladders in their childhood. These indoor games have been a part and parcel of most lives. IEC games curated by Sehgal Foundation include Ludo developed on themes of roles of gram panchayat in village development and child nutrition. Snakes and Ladders include themes such as women’s participation in panchayat, menstrual hygiene, and nutritious diet and healthy food. Games can drive home messages with communities in an effective, easy-to-understand manner.
When women in Bihar were invited to play Ludo in a village meeting, there was excitement. Rita Devi of Bir Singhpur shared, “Ludo helped us get information about nutritious diet in an interesting manner. I feel that the messages will have greater recall as compared to usual meetings conducted at the anganwadi center and ASHA workers.”
The Ludo game they played gave them a walk down memory lane as well as information on mother and child health. Even the trainers enjoyed facilitating the session and noticed that the receptivity was better.
Facilitators Sonam and Shaheen, who conducted the games in district Nuh, Haryana, share that time isn’t a constraint anymore, women were enjoying the games so much that no one cared about the time. Instead the women asked about the next meeting. It was heartening to see the engagement translate into discussions among women. Sonam recalls a session on Snakes and Ladders on the role of the gram panchayat. “There were women who learned about women’s participation in panchayats and the election process for the first time.”
The group that gathered with curiosity left with big smiles on their faces. Their smiles can simply be attributed to the fact that they were meaningfully engaged and taking home critical knowledge delivered in a playful way.
(Arti Manchanda Grover is Senior Program Lead, Outreach for Development, S M Sehgal Foundation)