Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon: TV Series Narrated by Farhan Akhtar Redefines Edutainment, Empowers Women in India

English: Farhan Akhtar.

English: Farhan Akhtar. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mumbai, November 18, 2015 (Washington Bangla Radio): To address regressive practices such as sex selection, early marriage, early and repeated pregnancies, under-nutrition of girls, domestic violence and gender inequality prevalent in the country (and other parts of the world), Population Foundation of India conceptualized and initiated a communication intervention called Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon (MKBKSH). Using a 360◦ communication approach, it has reached out to intended audiences through television, radio, mobile, social media and an intensive outreach strategy for Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, to enhance knowledge, change perceptions and shift attitudes on these social issues, over the last two years. The initiative has innovatively used the digital mediums to educate communities and initiate discussions. Endorsed by numerous celebrities, eminent policymakers and corporate leaders, the intervention recently announced its association with Farhan Akhtar (Bollywood celebrity and UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador) as the ‘Sutradhar’ (narrator) of the television series.

Gautam B. Thakker, CEO, Every Media Technologies Pvt. Ltd, the digital marketing agency helping Population Foundation of India with the social media campaigns for this initiative, said, “The show is a pioneer in TV edutainment and our aim is to impact minds and bring about behavioral change. With fresh and creative campaign ideas, we have cut through the numerous conversations that happen online. It has been a great experience to be associated with a show like this and we thank PFI for the opportunity.”

Speaking about the initiative, Executive Director of Population Foundation of India, Poonam Muttreja, added, “The show aims to highlight and educate the audience about various dilemmas that women face on regular basis. The digital space today is the most effective way to educate and garner support for the causes the show highlights. The social media team has brilliantly translated the strong messages of the show for the online space, and the social media campaigns have managed to achieve the right effect.”

Focused on enhancing knowledge, changing perceptions and attitudes on women’s empowerment and the social determinants of maternal, reproductive and sexual health, Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon has been able to bring about a measurable impact on knowledge and perception of viewers on issues like age at marriage, importance of family planning, sex determination and domestic violence, among others. The most popular social media campaign was about age at marriage, which showcased a series of high-impact posters in a bid to sensitize the audience, and reached 1,42,000 users on Twitter. Another campaign (#IPledgeNow) urging people to commit to fight evils like drug abuse, sexual harassment and domestic violence among others, attracted 7,100 Facebook users.

Among the ongoing social media campaigns by the initiative (in partnership with MARD) is the campaign called Desh ko badalna hai toh mard ko badalna hoga (#AsliMard), which urges men to create a woman-friendly world.

An initiative by Population Foundation of India and Doordarshan, starring actress Meinal Vaisnav as the lead Dr. Sneha Mathur. Feroz Abbas Khan, the well known theatre and film director, has written and directed the series. Currently in its second season, it is aired every Saturday & Sunday at 7:30 P.M, on DD National.

Population Foundation of India (PFI), an NGO that promotes gender-sensitive population and development policies, was founded in 1970 by a group of socially committed industrialists under the leadership of the late J.R.D. Tata and the late Dr. Bharat-Ram.

The thrust of PFI’s work is to address population issues within the larger discourse of empowering women and men, so that they are able to take decisions related to their lives, health and well being. PFI works with the government and like-minded NGOs to give men and women the knowledge and means to plan and raise healthy families.

The series has been produced after extensive research by PFI and guided by the highly respected entertainment education expert, Dr. Arvind Singhal.