Category Archives: Training and workshops

Odisha, India: SBCC harnesses women’s collective power to improve HNWASH outcomes

Shakti Varta heralds a healthy change with the help of SBCC
New Concept Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. | Delhi, India
Part One

Given the complex environment in which Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) teams, members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) execute development projects, they are naturally concerned about managing the numerous, inter-related determinants that have a bearing on programme outcomes. Amongst the major inputs that are difficult to manage, but which have a lasting impact in terms of achieving programme outcomes, include more healthy and constructive individual and group behaviours. Positive behaviours by individuals, communities and stakeholders help practitioners select and define their approaches and activities more precisely to achieve programme objectives. This is quite crucial in health programmes where the health and well-being of target populations are at stake.
In health programmes, practitioners use a combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their health. They do so by raising awareness and disseminating knowledge about the health issue and its solutions, and thereby influence attitudes and behaviours.

Health communication activities have evolved over the years and vary depending on the objectives, target audience and the communication channels available to broadcast messages.

Notable among the techniques used and under focus of late, is Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC). SBCC uses communication to change behaviours, including utilisation of services, by positively influencing knowledge, attitudes and social norms. SBCC promotes evidence-based behaviour change communication strategies rooted in a region’s socio-ecological context. SBCC advocates change while taking the support of individuals and groups at multiple levels of influence.

New Concept Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. worked with various government departments, District Implementing Partner NGOs and others on a community mobilisation programme under the Odisha Health Sector and Nutrition Programme (OHSNP), in Odisha’s fifteen, ‘High Burden’ districts. The programme, Shakti Varta (meaning the harnessing of women’s collective power through discussion and dialogue), was executed with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through Financial Assistance to Government of Odisha (GoO) and Technical Assistance from the Odisha Technical and Management Support Team (TMST).

New Concept presents a series of cases that illustrate how communities and individuals benefited from a Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) approach that empowered women who had never stepped out of their homes, to dialogue, learn and take action towards transforming community and individual behaviours that would make a difference in meeting HNWASH (Health, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) objectives.
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New Concept Information Systems Pvt. Ltd. has years of experience in transformational research and communication. New Concept has effectively used SBCC in its numerous projects. New Concept works with leading international and national development agencies, CSR units, NGOs and others, aiding them in research, developing communication strategies and materials and in capacity building.

New Concept now offers training on SBCC for interested individuals and groups, with technical support from UNICEF. Participants get a certificate from UNICEF, India at the end of the two-day certificate course.

An online course is also available.
For details, visit: http://newconceptinfosys.net/Tarang

Documentation Training Workshop

With the increased focus on evidence-based implementation, monitoring and research, documentation is a much-sought after skill in the world of social development. New Concept has vast experience in the many forms of documentation including process documentation, best practice documentation and most significant change (MSC) documentation. As part of internal capacity building, a 2-day workshop (Aug 6 and Aug 20, 2016) on documentation was held for colleagues in the organisation.

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The workshop was led by 2 facilitators with support from a resource person. Sessions were conducted in an interactive manner using powerpoint presentations, activities, mock sessions and homework assignments. The topics of instruction included: Introduction to documentation; steps of process documentation; types of documentation. Feedback was elicited from participants at the end of each day. The participants were enthusiastic and narrated their own experiences of field work in previous documentation assignments.

TV PSA’s: A Buzzer

On 12th December, 2015, a short presentation was made by Richa Singh and Marya Khan in the New Concept office basement on TV Public Service Announcements (PSAs). After the presentation, everyone was encouraged to share their opinion and understanding about TV PSAs. The Summarised definition of PSA – A public service announcement (PSA) or public service ad, are messages in the public interest disseminated by the media without charge, with the objective of raising awareness, changing public attitudes and behavior towards a social issue.

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The main objective behind this presentation was to discuss the possibilities of future Public Service Announcements on Public Health and to sensitise New Concept employees towards health concerns raised by various government agencies, as health is one of the major issue of concern in the country. A variety of videos were shown based on which a discussion was held to gauge each individual’s view and understanding towards the same. One very important aspect raised by Ms. Vidya was the script treatment of the PSAs and the presence of humourous characters to get the point across.

During the presentation, people also came up with suggestions for PSAs with regard to other issues which are not being touched upon and need attention such as traffic safety, pollution, womens’ safety, rights of street animals and much more.

Everyone who attended the presentation, felt they knew more about the objective, treatment and use of the PSAs we so often come across and now will think about while we watch.

Managing a fire

On 25th August on a hot summer day, the employees at New Concept came together to understand and practice the use of a fire extinguisher during an emergency. A small plant pot filled with burning paper was used as the practice target. Everyone who attended the session was asked to try their hand at the fire extinguisher.

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A one hour training session was held earlier in the year by Firefighting experts and this mock drill was part of the continued effort by New Concept to ensure that everyone working here is well aware of how to use an extinguisher and also help others if a fire break out. The different types of fires were explained once more during the session. Another session on how to prevent and contain a fire will be held again soon.

Reflection on Hardoi trip

When I was first asked about it, I was not very sure whether I want to make this visit to Hardoi or not. However, I made up my mind and decided to leave for the place. I had never heard of it earlier so was little hesitant, but given the fact that it was somewhere in Uttar Pradesh that happens to be my parents’ native place, I felt comfortable.

My role, during the trip, was to monitor the trainings that are conducted for level-three health workers (ASHAs and AWWs) for diarrhea management by New Concept’s team of trainers; I was given an evaluation sheet to be filled for each training I attend. I managed to observe two a day that were going on at the same venue.

During day one, I was very conscious about the points that I had to observe during the sessions and gave my feedback to the team at the end of the day; I could see the impact in the form of positive changes the next day. The hotel, where I stayed, was few meters away from New Concept’s office that made it easier to leave the team when they wanted to relax and join them when I am done with my reporting.

I wanted to talk to the team in detail about the training sessions but realized that they feel bored if talked about on the same topic again and again. Realizing the fact that it is something they do every day, I did not directly talk on the subject in particular. I really liked the fact that they wanted to know the areas where they could improve if they notice I am not giving them feedback on my own.

I have been a co-trainer for few trainings but seeing these trainers managing all the participants on their own while having support of ANMs had a lot to offer if one is to learn. Giving participants respect while maintaining discipline, providing opportunities to all to speak and still having silence while communicating, giving them information while respecting their understandings- to do all this one surely needs specific skills and most of the trainers very well possess these.

I was overwhelmed by participants’ responses and made the observation starting note when I was asked to address the other trainings. Most of the participants were AWWs from one block at one training venue. They really wanted to learn and participated during discussions; this shows their will to do well in the community. Quite opposite to my expectations most of them learnt very patiently about the reporting formats instead of complaining about more work. How do they work in the field one does not know but the attitude they showed during the trainings is to be appreciated.

Apart from the trainings, I got to hear poetry from two of the trainers who love to write and recite about their emotions. It was a different side of their personalities; the proceeding discussions gave me a chance to know them as separate individuals.

I also made a visit to a nearby Ram-Sita Temple that has been very nicely constructed, aesthetically beautiful and very famous in the surrounding areas. It was really peaceful to be in the temple complex after the trainings.

To sum up, the experience at Hardoi with New Concept’s team was a unique experience both professionally and personally.

Jyoti

Our visit to the Nairobi National Park

When FAWE invited Sudha and me to conduct the workshop for AWATS coordinators in Nairobi (don’t worry about the abbreviations), visions of the African lions, Big Cats and the zebras wandering placidly in the huge game reserves of Kenya began to haunt me. To be frank, the only lions I had seen were in the Delhi zoo and the only wildlife sanctuary I had ever been was near Munnar. The lions in the Delhi zoo were dozing away in their cages, thanks to the super hot weather in May which never deters Delhi citizens from making a beeline to the zoo. In Munnar, after hours of driving, I could just about get some glimpses of an elephant herd hiding behind thick jungle. Tigers – forget it!

When my nephew — who is an incorrigible wildlife fan — came to know that I was about to embark on a trip to Kenya, he called me and enquired excitedly, “Mama, are you planning to go to Masai Mara, Tsavo or Samburu or all of them? May be you can even make it to Kilimanjaro.” I paused for several moments. It’s not good to reveal one’s ignorance to nephews. There can be a lot of trouble later. So, I replied cautiously, “I would love to go to all of them. But looks like it will take a week for each”. To which he replied, “Mama, don’t come back without visiting at least one of them. I am sure you will do your project well, but what’s the use if you haven’t seen the Big Cats?” The general tone he conveyed through this important conversation was that I cannot expect to hold onto my popularity-rating, if I don’t come back with photos of lions staring at me and giraffe’s chasing my safari van.

When I conveyed my predicament to Sudha she feverishly emailed to various tourist operators to find out what kind of packages they were offering. It turned out that a rendezvous with lions and Big Cats required atleast 3 days. Besides the workshop days, our calendar was already full with appointments. In one of those insane moments we had also included a 2-day foray into Ethiopia. When we said we wanted to do some marketing in Kenya and Ethiopia, Malli and Anjali took it a bit too seriously and lined up a lot of appointments. We had just a weekend to spare. So, we settled for a visit to the Nairobi National Park.

Nairobi National Park is no pushover compared to Masai Mara (atleast that is what I consoled myself with). The Park is just 7 kms away from Nairobi city centre. Only a fence separates the park from the metropolis. It is not uncommon, I heard, that some animals now and then decide to take a day out and visit nearby homes! The Park covers 117 kms (this I noted from Wikipedia).

Aruna, who played the double role of client and host, prepared a lunch bag for all of us. Aruna’s house was a home away from home. She made sure that Sudha and I were well fed and would return to India with body and soul more energized. I had the luxury of having upma for breakfast and sambar for dinner right in the heart of eastern Africa. But let me not digress.

Suresh, her husband, took the wheel. Amartya, their 4 ½ year old son, took up his place on my lap. And with Sudha, armed with binoculars and camera, we all set out for the Park early morning.

The Park has a large and diverse wildlife population (if wikipedia were to be believed). Species normally found in the park include African buffalo, baboon, black rhinoceros, Burchell’s zebra, cheetah, Coke’s hartebeest, Grant’s gazelle, hippopotamus, leopard, lion, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, impala, Masai giraffe, ostrich, vulture, and waterbuck. But on the particular day when we set out to examine the Park, it was a day off for many of the inhabitants.

When we were a few yards into the Park, there was a sudden scream from Sudha. She had spotted a bird with a phenomenally curved beak – I think it was called the Abyssinian Scimitarbill. From a distance it looked more like our familiar pigeon to me. Sudha was absolutely peeved about my ignorance. Now, to set the record straight, Sudha had a rather unfair advantage over me with respect to bird watching. Her husband, Sharad, is an avid bird watcher and probably has catalogued in his mental database at least a few hundred bird species of India. Sudha and Sharad watch the nesting habits of birds of Hyderabad through binoculars from their balcony frequently. So, the best option for me was to leave it to Sudha to explain the particular nuances of the birds. Another disadvantage I had was that I was very good at recognizing primary colours (remember RGB and CMYK from Niyam’s class). But shades and palettes were too much of a strain for me (I skipped that part of Niyam’s class). So, while it appeared to me that the bird was predominantly yellow, my observation met with wild protests from Sudha. Misguided reaction I thought. After all we were not there to conduct a census of the Park’s bird species, which at last count were about 500.

I had a feeling Suresh’s sympathies were with me. He is a very friendly soul, an excellent conversationalist. He has loads of patience also. We made him drive around the Park “n” number of times. The Park being circular, we kept coming back to the same place again and again. There were various ways one can reach the Cheetah Gate, for example. But Suresh was not flustered. Whenever he heard screams he promptly stopped or slowed down. To get a better angle of ostriches having a conclave in the middle of the savannah, he would reverse and choose a spot which offered a clear view. Amartya too soon became an expert at spotting birds through the binoculars.

We saw giraffes in plenty. In fact one very tall fellow (he really stood above the crowd as they say) blocked our road for a good 30 minutes and then had some fun chasing our car. Ostriches were also in plenty. In the plain savannah, animals could be spotted from very far off. Zebras, our good old buffaloes, vultures, gazelles and impalas were all there. But try as we may, we could not come across a singly rhino or a lion. May be the extra warm day kept them away.

The marketing presentations we did seemed to be very successful. Our potential clients had that glint in their eye, of which we are only too familiar in India. They must have thought, “Ah! here is the agency which will deliver quality work on time”.

Hopefully the lions and rhinos will be out next time and marketing plans would also include ample sight-seeing breaks.

S. Raghavan (one of our Directors)

ISO Training at Bhubaneswar

The ISO 9001:2008 training programme, for New Concept Branches (Chennai, Hyderabad and Bhubaneswar), took place at the Bhubaneswar branch. The trainers were Malli Mam and Praveen Sir. All three HODs of the Branches (Maya Nirmala from Chennai, Sudha Nair from Hyderabad-also Branch Coordinator-and C. Sai Sudha of Bhubaneswar) and me were present for the four day marathon session. For me a novice the brainstorming sessions that took place was a revelation as to the competence and capability of those present. An example of this can be seen in the fact that the four day session finished off in three leaving a day aside for discussions and interaction on matters pertaining to other project related activities.

By the time the introduction to ISO was over, all four of us were terrified of what changes were forthcoming and then things really got down to the nitty-gritty. There was a tremendous amount of-what I would like to call for want of a milder term-give and take before the formats were finally done with. However, once Malli Mam and Praveen Sir took the group step by step through the entire process we figured out that we were already implementing most of what was being shared and that there was very little that was new. The only thing that really needed to be done was to document each and every process regularly.

But, wait, before anyone jumps to the conclusion that it will be an easy task, let me tell you, while all the Heads of Branches, with their collective experience-which is really huge- agreed that it would be relatively easy to implement the various formats, they unanimously declared that it would be a huge challenge to keep the momentum going.

But that’s life in NC always ready for a “New Challenge”.

Dilip Salil Das