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Unilever’s Lifebuoy and GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance successful partnership Safal Shuruaat supports sustainable behavioural change in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow, Apr 17, (Fast Mail News):-- Unilever’s Lifebuoy and GAVI- the Vaccine Alliance in 2017 partnered with GroupM to launch an initiative called Safal Shuruaat ('Successful Beginning') in Uttar Pradesh. This joint partnership aims to generate demand for simple and cost-effective behaviors such as regular handwashing with soap (HWWS) and complete immunization to prevent deaths among children under 5 due to diseases such as diarrhea and pneumonia.


This joint programme by Unilever’s Lifebuoy and GAVI is in line with two national priorities of the Government of India - Mission Indradhanush – a health mission to expand immunization coverage to all children across the country and Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan to achieve universal sanitation coverage, make India open defection free and improve solid waste management in the country. These government policy priorities aim to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals 3 and 6, respectively.


Sharing insights about the programme, Madhusudhan Rao Executive Director - Beauty & Wellbeing and Personal Care for Hindustan Unilever Limited and General Manager – Beauty Wellbeing & Personal Care, Unilever South Asia spanning India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal said, “Safal Shuruaat is an example of a multi-channel approach that used direct interpersonal communication; mobile communication; community engagement and capacity building for frontline health workers to spread critical health and hygiene information among young parents and the community at large. Having in-person visits, mobile reminders, school interactions and meetings through the existing government infrastructure have been key to successfully driving these behaviours by message reinforcement coming from different points into the programme.”


Since 2018, through its initial pilot intervention followed by a scale-up, the project reached out to more than 2.8 million people across 6102 villages in 14 districts of Uttar Pradesh and demonstrated positive shifts in people's knowledge, attitude, and adoption of good practices.


Knowledge about the number of times a child needs to get immunized increased from 27.5% to 50% and a significantly higher number of parents are now aware that diarrhea and pneumonia can be prevented by vaccines. 28% more parents started washing their hands with soap post-defecation and the number of parents washing their hands with soap before feeding their child increased 6 times! The percentage of parents who began associating HWWS, immunization, and age-appropriate nutrition as critical parenting behaviors rose by 18.6%, 26.3%, and 21.3% respectively.


After the two successful phases, Safal Shuruaat in its final phases actively worked to strengthen the design of the intervention making it easily replicable, scalable, and sustainable.


Dalveer Singh, Head, Experiential Marketing – APAC at Dialogue Factory, GroupM, the implementing agency said, “The project is exploring various communication channels to accomplish this goal. These include digital and social media, as well as utilizing frontline health workers and existing community structures such as Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs). The project is testing these different permutations of messengers and platforms, reinforcing messages through multiple touchpoints to encourage motivation and desired behaviors, and enhancing self-efficacy while re-framing social norms.”


This programme has been working diligently to address hierarchical barriers within the socio-ecological system. It is empowering the combined efficacy of parents, family, and community in rural India. This further enhanced programmatic sustainability and enabled system strengthening for long-lasting effects.


“The impact observed through robust research for Phase-3 of Safal Shuruaat has been encouraging. Dialogues with stakeholders including the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), on how best to extract and adopt these learnings for further integration with existing programs and systems is underway,” said Madhusudhan Rao from Unilever.


Safal Shuruaat has been a pivotal project in bringing forth behavioural changes in the community. This partnership between Unilever’s Lifebuoy and GAVI- the Vaccine Alliance has set an example of how collaborations and joint ownerships are important in ensuring community-wide reach with sustainable impact.

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