Swasth Mahila, Swasth Bihar
With a strict lockdown in 2020 and all medical resources being diverted to COVID-19 responses, women in Patna, India were facing unprecedented challenges in terms of accessing healthcare.
"Swasth Mahila, Swasth Bihar" ( Healthy Women, Healthier Bihar ) is a campaign to show that the need for women to receive health services with care and dignity is critical - not just in crisis, but at all times.
Created while working as a Visual Designer & Design Researcher at Purpose in New Delhi, India.
Communication Design & Campaign Strategy
David & Lucile Packard Foundation
During the initial COVID-19 lockdown in India (March-May 2020), sexual and reproductive healthcare services were de-prioritised.
Through this campaign, our aim was to engage with the low-middle income audience in Patna and provide them with information about their sexual and reproductive health rights.
The COVID-19 pandemic challenged us to innovate and come up with new ways to drive towards outcomes with limited access to engage with women.
We constantly adapted our approach as the situation evolved and built a campaign that has involved online and offline activations, raised awareness and recognition of the issue.
Pregnancy during Lockdown
Through digital storytelling, we created a common demand on social media to prioritise maternal health care. Along with sourcing multiple stories from pregnant women and husbands on their needs during the time, we supported initiatives like “WeCare” which was being jointly run by the UNFPA and The Patna Municipal Corporation. This was a way for us to test how best to engage with the audience online on something that matters to them in the current moment.
Culture of Craft
Crafts have been embedded in the culture and tradition of rural communities in Bihar for centuries. The diverse range of art and craft in Bihar reflects the influence of different successive empires and civilisations that have ruled over the state through history. Amongst the art forms there is one which is particular to the women of Bihar - Sujini embroidery
The branding is inspired by Sujini embroidery, a craft which has been traditionally used by women in the state to communicate their needs and desires to their caregivers. Through embroidered quilts and saris, this art form carries stories of women’s hopes, desires and needs. The thought behind using this style was to create relatable and empathetic visuals that will help women in Patna feel comfortable while talking about their sexual and reproductive health rights in the open.
Messaging & Visual Language
This campaign amplified stories and experiences around the lack of care with dignity provided to women when accessing family planning services. Targeting low-middle income women as the primary audience, the campaign also activated chemists, frontline health workers and low-middle income men to acknowledge and speak up about the issue.
As the campaign progressed, our visual language evolved to portray other traditional arts and crafts of the region. We were inspired by local artisans of Manjusha art and Madhubani painting, through which we highlighted the need to empower women artists, as women are mostly associated with these crafts. Like Sujini embroidery, both these styles of painting are native to Bihar, a state struggling with orthodox ideals and traditions. These are forms help women from small villages showcase their talent. Their art not only depicts the social structure, but also the cultural identity of the land.
The bold and unique visual identity helped the campaign stand out from other campaigns in the sexual and reproductive health space. This was further strengthened by collaborating with artists on ground and conducting co-creation workshops with them to help us understand how to communicate campaign messages to the general public in Patna. The use of art helped us reach out and engage with over 50,000 women and led to over 450 press mentions in the state.
Team Credit: Mallika Arya, Manika Garg, Gayatri Varun, Megha Chadha, Tanmay Mishra, Sudhir Mishra, Marguerite Petit, Harpreet Bagga, Rohan Gupta, Yash Dang, Suma Balaram