Innovative communication materials developed by MSM and transgender community members can positively change risk behaviour with greater impact and mobilize the community effectively
A. Joshi, R. Dhillon
SPACE (Society for People’s Awareness, Care & Empowerment), Delhi, India
Issues: HIV intervention programme implemented by SPACE NGO with Kothies’ and Transgender in the state of Delhi brought about the fact that mobilizing community on issues of HIV, condoms and testing was quite a challenge. There is general apathy, ignorance and stigma added to phobia within the community itself about these issues. A lot of communication materials that were available were not appealing to the members as they could not relate it to their lives. All materials talked about heterosexuality and that too in a language least understood by the community members.
Description: To counter this challenge, peer leaders were selected from within the community and an idea was conceptualized to promote voluntary HIV testing and safe sex. Intensive workshops built courage and led some peer leaders to take up the challenge and model for communicative posters. The team came out with interesting wonderful messages and concepts for the posters in a way best understood by the community. A series of innovative posters got developed and it was for the first time that the members from the Kothie’ and transgender community came forward and spoke about issues directly that affect their lives.
· Appropriate and community specific communication materials can do wonders in community mobilization and intervention.
· Community members need to be involved in at least in conceptualizing materials if that are to be used or targeted at them.
· Talking about the issues got a little easier as community members found the materials engaging, empowering and communicative.
· The posters created an unexpected impact. There was great demand from all quarters. Soon they got translated in various Indian languages endorsed by the Government, adoring the walls of organizations working with MSM & TG across states.
Next steps: To carry out Community need assessment for more effective intervention.