Folk Media Campaign for Better Health in Uttar Pradesh, India
From 1999-2004, Dr. Devendra Sharma was a communication consultant, designer, writer, trainer, and researcher for a massive folk media campaign on health in Uttar Pradesh, the most populous state of India. Working through his non-profit organization, Brij Lok Madhuri, which he co-founded with his father, world-renowned folk guru Pandit Ram Dayal Sharma, Dr. Sharma trained more than 150 folk troupes to stage more than 10,000 folk performances in the villages of Uttar Pradesh. He also designed and co-wrote 15 folk performance scripts integrating messages about women's empowerment, reproductive rights, and health. This project not only succeeded in communicating important health messages, but also helped the community of folk artists in villages gain employment in today's age of mass media, enabling them to live a dignified life (due to lack of employment, folk artists are often compelled to take up occupations such as vending or even manual labor). The project was funded, supported, and implemented by the State Innovations in Family Planning Services Project Agency (SIFPSA)--government of India, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Center for Communication Programs, Johns Hopkins University, USA (JHU/CCP).
SIFPSA Report: Entertainment for Better Health (see pages 11-13)