Social Welfare Programs and its Reach: Efficacy of Different Mass Communication Media in the Sanitation Program of Tamil Nadu
R. Pranava Kumar
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Applications and Creative Media,
Vellore Institute of Technology, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
K. Karna Maharajan
Associate Professor, Centre for Film and Electronic Media Studies,
Madurai Kamaraj University
The Central and State governments in India have been endeavoring in improving the quality of life of people through various welfare schemes since Independence. By and large the welfare schemes focused on education, social security, health, employment, women and child, sanitation, backward classes, minorities, farmers, rural, urban and infrastructure. Media plays a vital role in reaching the various target groups in enabling them to access the benefits of the schemes. There is always a gap between the intended target groups and the beneficiaries of the program. Different media, from time to time, have been devising methods to bridge the aforesaid gap. The impact of audio visual medium , animation in particular has been analysed through various studies related to efficacy of animation as a tool for social welfare. Further the media techniques incorporated in Tamil Nadu sanitation program and the success of promotion of Open Air Defecation (ODF) status leaves much to be desired. In such a scenario, the effect of animated audio visual for awareness creation regarding sanitation is proposed so as to analyse whether it creates a change in mindset of target groups, as this was found to be the crucial variable in determining the success of the program.
Key words: social awareness, communication media, target population , animation.
"Social awareness defined as being aware of the problems that different societies and communities face on a day-to-day basis and to be conscious of the difficulties and hardships of society", Stellenbosch University Society for social awareness. Social welfare is provision of assistance to the needy individuals and family in accordance with the state or country where they belong. It is not just same as standard of living but involves quality of life encompassing healthy physical and social environment, safety from crimes, availability of essential commodities for life, religious and spiritual independence, right to health and other constitutional rights pertaining to that country. Social security is a concept in Article 22 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states, " Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of economic, cultural and social rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality" Social security is a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution of India. The exact meaning of social security varies depending on the country- in socialist countries it means total protection of an individual from cradle to grave. In America it is concerned with old age assistance to all citizens, aid to war veterans, widows, handicapped short term welfare assistance till job is secured and care of the migrants. Developing countries like India, with more than half of its population below poverty line, the Government is concerned with overall protection given to needy citizens so as to provide a minimum standard of living to all the citizens. In present times, the myriad topics of social awareness that need to be addressed to create a better society are terrorism, corruption, child labour and abuse, HIV, assault on women, early marriage age, female infanticide, alcoholism and drug abuse, suicides, education and health rights, citizens responsibilities and duties, freedom of expression, help centres for old and needy, duty of police, law and order, unemployment, domestic violence, religious tolerance, ethics of Government servants and other professions, equal respect to all professions, fraud gurus and blind faith, medical and insurance facilities to poor, environmental degradation, global warming, farmers suicide, health and hygiene.
Social welfare programs
Social welfare, social security or social awareness, might vary in their exact meaning but their basic premise is human welfare or developed society. The social welfare measures adopted or social security provided vary among developed and developing countries according to the aspirations of the ruling Government and the needs of the countrymen. Social awareness programs and its modalities of propagation vary according to the requirements of the particular society. Every program to fulfill its purpose need some creation of social awareness or else it may fail to meet its target and the purpose would be lost.
Each individual is entitled to social security benefits by virtue of just being a citizen of that country, whether he contributes to economy or not. The history of social security envisages that it started for war veterans and later for labourers during unemployment periods. Now it has broadened its limits to all nationals who are in need physically, economically or socially. Well being of the people and equitable development constitute the prime function of any Government, for which these social security schemes provide a methodology to achieve the same. The old aged, destitute, widows, unemployed, physically challenged, sick and unhealthy are given assistance by the Government in cash or kind so as to meet out their basic necessities. Though there are many NGOs that do a similar work in the uplift of the marginalized, the Government is the best organization to do the work in a comprehensive, sustainable and secular manner.
Persistent inequality in the society upholds the need for creation of social equity through advocating social awareness programs. Inequality is an inherent character of any society but the range of difference in the quality of life need to be minimized. Consequently the rich poor gap bridged through creation of social awareness and paving the path for all individuals in the society to achieve a better standard of living. Provision of all the basic needs would not suffice as development parameters include not only food clothing and shelter but also education, health, social status, gender equality, etc. Good governance focuses on holistic development on all sectors so as to achieve well being of its people. The social welfare measures of any Government could be classified as two types, programs which render financial assistance by direct cash or facilities and programs which educate people on various topics- the ultimate goal being improvement in the standard of living. Departments concerned with each sector directly appoint staff to carry out various activities or entrust the role to select NGOs by providing them financial assistance. Since the emoluments need to reach every nook and corner of the state at correct time interval, a concerted effort is needed to manage these programs by the Government and NGOs. In the Indian scenario, social welfare comprises education, health, economy, jobs, gender equality, rural development, agriculture, water resources, environmental protection, social status, religious tolerance and so on.
Communication for propagation of social welfare programs
Effective communication forms the basis of all social marketing and public awareness raising. Notwithstanding the fact that communication is the tool for creation of any developmental change, the best and most effective tool of communication still remains elusive. The fact remains that no tool could fulfill all criteria and the effectiveness of a tool depends on the project at hand and the target population. ‘Communication is one of the human activities that everyone recognizes but few can define satisfactorily’, John Fiske 1982. Present times communication has become more of audiovisual in nature as opposed to few years ago when radio was the major source of connectivity. ‘Many societies, particularly developed countries, rely on graphical images for public communication. A simpler explanation of communication can be in three parts, transmit, receive and make sense of the message.’ Richard Sayers 2006. Search for the best method of communication in the context of social welfare and social awareness has led to a myriad of possibilities that one cannot single out a particular mode as the best. The same holds good for any project as the effectiveness depends on the socio economic and cultural status of the target population. A single project may need multiple modes of propagation and as time passes some modes go obsolete and new modes need to be introduced. Though animation has been in vogue for the past thirty years, using it as a tool for social welfare is recent about 8-10 years.
Presently animation has found its presence into all walks of life like education, entertainment, commerce, sports, architecture, and health care and so on. It has entered into our daily life through advertisements, video games and smart phones that we do not realize its presence or give due consideration for it. Major sectors that flourish using animation are cinema industry, advertisements and e-learning. All animators strive to create more realistic and legible pictures to make the audience get engrossed in their creation. Originally animation was designated for small children, later video games pulled in youngsters and currently people of all ages find animation very useful to conduct their everyday activity. According to Nor Azan Mat Zin and Nur Yuhanis Mohd Nasir, 2007, Information and communication through multimedia are essential to bring about social change among the people regarding health, education, cultural values, abstain from addictive substances, hygienic practices and so on. Children imbibing such good values would definitely bring about a social change as they are the future citizens of any nation. Chang Hyun Jin, 2006, examined the impact of 3D commercials on human cognitive power and affective process, also the effect of 3D animation on commercial ads. The results of this study showed that animated ads left a lasting impression on the mind of viewers than live ads. Ronald N. Kangong (2010) report argued that 3D animation, as an educational tool and as a medium of communication ‘seems to attract learners’. It grabbed the attention of children and increased their quest for knowledge and also motivated to learn more about their history and culture. Elinami John (2012) published his findings from analysing quantitatively and concluded that media educated students responded positively to the advertisement and understood the message in correct perspective, while students without media education had lesser understanding of the advertisement and could not realize the real meaning. Ariel Safiya Taylor (2012) concluded that using mixtures of audio visual animated element can bring about an understanding and appreciation among the audience. He also added that the characters designed for the audio visual aid should have some resemblances so that it adds confidence and comfort during their interactions. Yigal Rosen (2009), systematically analysed the effect of integrated animated learning among four hundred and eighteen fifth and seventh grade students. After three months of animation integrated coaching analysis showed better understanding among students and good motivation to participate in the learning process. Further students were able to translate their scientific knowledge and answer the questions with better understanding than the control group. Wilson T Sebastian , 2010, studied the impact of computer animation on children in Kerala and concluded that a marked improvement in learning and cognizance and so better academic performance. ) Judy Robertson et al. researched into the impact of animated pedagogy on children of 10-12 years in improving their learning skills, cognizance and social roles. The results explicitly showed enjoyment, understanding, better than teacher, ability to write a good story, willingness to use more such animated lessons among the students. Korakakis G et al, (2009) carried out a study by involving 212 students of 8th grade using 3D animated interactive illustrations to teach science. The results showed 3D animations and interactive 3d animations increased the students interest in the subject, more engrossing and positive learning modes.
Further studies regarding the efficacy of animated models show negative impacts as against the previous ones listed. Sushma Jolly, 2003 studied the effect of graphics and animation among children wherein she presented the Life cycle of Monarch butterfly was in graphics form and 3D visual form to children of fourth, fifth and sixth grades and ANOVA analysis done. Test score of both groups were the same leading to a conclusion that instruction through graphics or animation lead to the same effect in these study group of children. RiazaMohdRias, HalimahBadiozeZaman (2011), examined whether 2-D animation and 3-D animation has influenced the understanding of complex concepts in operating system among computer science students. Analysis of the test results showed no significant differences between 2D and 3D groups, leading to a conclusion that there were no advantages of 3D animation over 2D animation in learning process. Understanding the pros and cons of animated audio visuals for creation of social awareness in the context of Sanitation in Tamil Nadu is the ongoing research work of the authors of this paper. The work is in progress.
Notwithstanding the importance of each scheme, health plays a major role in the development and welfare of a State. Health as defined by WHO is "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity" . Not only health care is provided from cradle to grave through various schemes but due importance is given to water, sanitation and environment. Only such holistic development would lead to healthy individuals and thereby developed nation. Health is a fundamental right of every citizen and it depends on water and sanitation, nutrition, personal hygiene, clean environment and access to health care services. Sanitation is one of the important aspect that governs health as most communicable diseases like gastro enteritis, cholera, typhoid, jaundice are spread due to unclean water and improper sanitation. This problem of lack of sanitation specific to developing nations need to be corrected so as to maintain human welfare. The same has been added as one of the agenda in "Environment and Sustainability" of the Millennium Development Goals set by UN United Nations. Government of India had started to tackle this problem on war footing since 2000 through various programs, strategies and awareness creation but still the target is elusive "Globally 146 countries have met the drinking water target 95 countries have met the sanitation target and 77 countries both. Worldwide 2.1 billion have gained access to improved sanitation, The proportion of people following open air defecation has almost fallen by half since 1990", 2015, UN report.
India has been tackling the problem since 2000 trying to create (ODF) Open air Defecation Free status in all its States and Union Territories through various schemes. The UNDP report on India's achievement in realizing the MDG points out its tardiness in the sanitation sector, "India has witnessed significant progress towards the MDGs, with some targets having been met ahead of the 2015 deadline, however progress has been inconsistent. For instance, while India, according to official national estimates, has achieved the target for reducing poverty by half, it is falling short of achieving the target for reducing hunger. The country has achieved gender parity in primary school enrollment yet it is lagging behind on targets for primary school enrollment and completion. India has made progress in providing clean drinking water however; access to sanitation facilities remains inadequate."2015, UNDP
Focusing on the efforts taken for Total Sanitation Campaign of India and the State of Tamil Nadu, the data shows moderate improvement in the sanitation status and with Tamil Nadu showing remarkable achievements."The Government of India have restructured the comprehensive Rural sanitation Program with effect from 1/4 1999 and launched Total sanitation Campaign(TSC). The main objectives of TSC are to bring about an improvement in the general quality of life in rural areas and to accelerate sanitation coverage in rural areas to access to toilets to all by 2012 by motivating communities and Panchayat raj institutions in promoting sustainable sanitation facilities through awareness creation and health education. Individual household latrines, school toilets, anganwadi toilets sanitary complexes and rural sanitary marts are taken up under this scheme.", 2011 Report. The above statement clearly indicates the plan, target and methodology proposed by Indian Government. On comparison of various evaluation studies it could be construed that there is a noticeable gap between the target aimed and target achieved. One such study conducted by Azad foundation in 2011, to ascertain the status of sanitation facilities in 423 cities of India concludes that only half of the sample cities are fully covered by sanitation ," the sanitation status of 423 cities in India and concluded that 190 cities are very poor in sanitation status that they would face dire consequences in near future. Top cities listed are in the order- Chandigarh, Mysore, Surat, Tiruchirappalli, Jamshedpur, Mangalore, Rajkot, Kanpur. The bottom cities include, Churu, Lakhimpur, Srinagar, Sultanpur, Philibit, Saharasa, Dharbhanga". (www.azadindia.org)
Table 1: Strata Performance of Indian States (2011) Sanitation
Very Good 75%-100% Sikkim (100%), Kerala (95.4%), Haryana (86.6%), West
Bengal (83.5%), Tamil Nadu (76.4%)
Good 50%-75% Manipur (70.5%), Gujarat (68.6%), Assam (62.1%),
Uttar Pradesh (60.02%), Punjab (60%), Andhra Prades (59%), Maharashtra (58.3%), Uttarakhand (54%),
Average 25%-50% Madhya Pradesh (48.9%), Karnataka (42.1%), Rajasthan
(38.4%), Orissa (35.6%), Jharkhand (27.7%)
Poor 0%- Bihar (23.4%)
Source: Government of India 2011
Analysing the strata performance of India states Table 1, only Sikkim shows 100% result and four others like Kerala, Haryana, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu more than 75% in their performance towards achieving ODF status. Nine states fall in the next category of about less than 75 but more than 50 % in their target achievement. Bihar shown in the least strata with 0% action taken to improve sanitation. The exact percentage ascertained for Tamil Nadu is 76.4 and more concerted efforts need to be taken to reach 100% as the deadline 2015 for achieving the MDG has passed.
Sanitation Status of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu Sanitation programs, started in full flourish since the inception of Millennium Development Goals, stood at the top in sanitation coverage with 76.4 percentage but the real picture is not that encouraging. According to the sanitation index report prepared for all states of India by Balamurugan Jayaraman 2016, "Surprisingly the state of Tamil Nadu did not fare well, scoring 25th rank in the order other sanitation states like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh too performed badly ranking 26th and 28th respectively. The government of India might have succeeded in construction of toilets by usage of toilets by households is very low. Cultural factor can be attributed that households, rural households in particular prefer open air defecation" brings out the current status of sanitation in the state.
Table 2 brings out the status of sanitation in Tamil Nadu, providing both the target and the achievement. Individual Household latrines IHHL constructed and planned showed a better performance among BPL below poverty line category than APL above poverty line category. School and Anganwadi toilets are still lagging behind and these needs be addressed earlier since hygienic habits need to be inculcated into children for better results in future. Sanitary complexes overshoot the target, being a healthy sign, as female population have better access to sanitation during all seasons.
Table 2: Physical performance of the State of Tamil Nadu under TSC as on 31/03/2011
Source: Government of Tamil Nadu 2011
The inference from the above data would be that a similar phase of action would create a fulfillment of all targets in five years and achievement of ODF status. The real status is different, that only few villages have been able to achieve ODF status and maintaining such is still more questionable. Education, awareness, provision of facilities, benefits of such practice, demonstration methods, subsidies, awards and encouragement are the strategies involved to promote sanitary practices. Traditional beliefs, customs and practices, economy, religious taboos, inability to maintain the facility form the major constraints to practice sanitation. The main strategy should be able to change the mindset of the people that they imbibe the practice into their daily routine creating a taboo towards open air defecation. It is not that they do not understand the real benefits of sanitation, more so with women as they have many hardships to face for such a simple task. "Sanitation is critical to women's health and it is a matter of dignity. Lack of sanitation facilities often forces women to restrict themselves by reducing and controlling their diet, which leads to nutritional and health impacts", 2014, Prudhvi Pavuluri. Figure 1, the UNICEF data shows 60.6 percent of people resort to open air defecation though there has been a near cent percent coverage in provision of toilets in household in all sectors of Tamil nadu. Rural population of 80.2 percent still avoid using the facility in spite of concerted efforts on the part of the Government is providing assistance to build in house toilets. In urban areas still 31 percent of population fail to practice sanitation.
Figure 1: Status of coverage of IHHL, 2011
Source: UNICEF 2011
Assessment of the socio economic benefits of sanitation facilities in rural areas brings out a sharp advantage for rural women. Notwithstanding an overall creation of well being, household toilets create more time for employment, more time to increase income, reduce medical expenses, security and dignity of women restored. More than men women folk feel the comfort in household toilets as they can use whenever needed, easy access at times of sickness and menstruation, no need to travel over long distance for open air defecation, can maintain their own toilet clean and finally security and their dignity upheld. Major reasons for open air defecation are established practice, lack of household toilets and lack of awareness about its benefits. Government of India instituted Nirmal Puraskar award for villages that achieve ODF status and one such village of Tamil Nadu, Thirukalakundram Panchayat received the same in the year 2007. The head of village Panchayat Ms. Varalakshmi Vijayakumar said, "Through door to door meetings and intensive sustained awareness programs I was able to motivated all the women's group to take up construction of toilets in each household, schools and anganwadis". Her statement reiterated the fact that Interpersonal communication formed the best mode to propagate awareness, though most villages lack appointment of motivators who could campaign door to door to bring about a change. Evaluation study of TCS in Tamil nadu shows that only 46% of villages have motivators and they work hard to make them construct toilets in their household but continuous usage is still a grey area. Even as large as 36% of houses with toilets do not use them for various reasons and still follow open air defecation. "In Tamil Nadu, an audit conducted in March 2014 has revealed that 46.29 lakh houses did not have toilets. Funds reportedly did not reach District Rural Development Agencies on time and, therefore, the village panchayats, resulting in 46.29 lakh households going without toilets" The Hindu, March 2014. The Hindu report adds that the scheme had a total fund of Rs. 4,247.11 crore between 2009 and 2014 but only spent Rs. 785.71 crore. Such a scenario questions the different modes of communication and awareness creation among the target population that would create a indelible impression leading to change in their mindsets. Creation of change in attitude entitles appreciation of the new facility, ability to adjust to the change regular activity, establish a routine in the new habit or attitude and finally easy availability to the facility. Herein communication media other than interpersonal communication has a role to play and proper usage of select tools would show a lasting desired change.
The successful implementation of any social welfare or security program depends on creation of awareness through various modes of communication. The tools of communication ranges from lectures , personal talks, posters, banners, pamphlets, newspaper, street songs, puppets, street plays, radio, cinemas, TV, advertisements and so on. Each tool has its own merits and demerits and the selection of tool to be used varies according to the stakeholders. Any medium could not be construed as the most effective in all situations as the target population varies in their socioeconomic status, education, access to the medium, their understanding and capabilities to accept change .Rajesh Kumar (2011) reiterates in his study of effects of communication for social change that people differ in their perception and psychology thereby effects produced would be dissimilar as individuals are not isolated but tied with friends, family, associates and community. He concludes that mass communication is undergoing rapid transition leading to new innovations and deleting old ways. Whatever may be the format is acts as a messenger for change but its effect on individual varies and innovations are needed to make it more customer oriented. All pointers indicate a need for innovative, impressive, new methods to communicate and freedom to customise such methodology to suit the program and target is mandatory.
Figure 2: IEC media used in Gram Panchyats of Tamil Nadu, 2014
Source: Rural development and Panchayat raj department of Tamil Nadu, 2011.
Analysis of the various media used for propagation of correct sanitation practises, Figure 2, wall writing, wall painting and slogan were followed in most number of villages and next are poster, pamphlet, street play and banners. Maximum number of villages have used all these seven modalities of communication and it could be understood that people were constantly reminded to follow sanitation practices through posters, pictures and banners as they would hit the eye as they move about doing their routine jobs in their locality. Films, booklet, folksongs, newspaper and puppets find the next slot in communication techniques, wherein people need to spend some time and effort to analyse what is being proposed. In these cases a considerable time need to be spent to understand and assimilate the message given thus creating a lasting impression. Finally radio, TV, slideshow, flashcard, flipchart, exhibition have least number of villages using such modalities, as time and money need to be spent to realise the importance of the message.
Another way of categorizing tools of communication is audio, visual and audio-visual media. Analysis of which is more effective to create a change in the mindset and make a sustainable alteration in the daily life of the people would be a difficult task. "Assessing the impact of WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) intervention is challenging due to methodological issues: for example, a blinded trial of sanitation is impossible because people cannot be induced to use a toilet without their knowledge", 2015, Dawn L Taylor et al. Though tangible results would be difficult to measure in case of satisfaction, dignity, hygiene provided by in house toilet facility, other external variants like time saved, money spent on illness, general cleanliness of the village could be ascertained. Assessment of sanitation status, ODF state awards, follow up to maintain such state, provision of facility for safe disposal of sewage, potable water supply would help to sustain the program down the years. ." Lack of sustained Information, Education and Communication (IEC) programmes has left thousands of toilets being unused. The Integrated Women Sanitary Complexes constructed in all village panchayats were defunct due to poor maintenance." Twelfth five year plan, Tamil Nadu.
Creation of awareness, provision of facility, maintenance, follow up actions would be the correct course of action for any program in general and sanitation program in particular. The real crux lies in change in mind set brought about through effective communication, wherein better modes of communication and focus on target population could help in desired results. "The media shows the public how the standard of living worthy of a human being, thus indirectly causing the community to access whether their environment is feasible or whether it has met these standards and this figure is heavily influenced from what's seen, heard and read from the media" the mass media presence is felt more influence on the younger generation who are in the stage of self", 2013, Virginia Paul. Children and teenagers set as target could create a tangible change in the case of sanitation status, a methodology which is worth to assess and give a trial. Audio visual medium could be put to more use as the present trend of social media leading to revolutions is a reality. Access to internet is available in most villages combined with smart phones, children and youth could be influenced easily.
Governments throughout the World are making effort to improve the standard of living of its citizens through social welfare , social security or social awareness. The theme of the welfare program and modality of dissemination varies according to the needs of the people of that particular country . Apart from this, State governments function as nodal points in executing the various Central Government programs and also supplement or extend or add new programs to suit its citizens. Analysing a single social welfare program viz., Sanitation, in India and Tamil Nadu, is the need of the hour as reinforced under Swatch Bharat . From the foregoing discussion it is evident that Tamil Nadu fares better than most States in implementing the sanitation program in its villages but still the coverage is not 100 percent. Even with the facility available people resort back to open air defecation in many places leading to original level of pollution. A need to change the mindset of people is mandatory and media plays a significant role in this context. Usage of different modalities of media and their positive and negative impacts would help in selecting a particular mode of communication in this problem. Studying the IEC tools used by Tamil Nadu government in sanitation program, banners, slogans, wall writing and posters stand first , next booklets, songs ,street plays and finally radio, television and advertisements. Whether the visual media used give only information without creating a change in the mindset need to be assessed. Further using a audiovisual medium leading to desired effect ought to be probed so as to ascertain the effective tool of communication in this context. The proposal is to find the efficacy of animated audio visuals among target children in changing their mindset regarding the use of sanitation facilities at their home premises. Research endeavor in this direction at the doctoral level is underway in understanding the dynamics of reaching the unreached through animated audio visual medium.
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