It was an afternoon of stories. Stories that make a difference. Stories that are not bound by budgets, spaces and audience. Radharani Mitra brought with her a narration of social change and the power of lightness to bring about that change.
Radharani is BBC’s Media Action’s Global Creative Advisor, where her over 25 years experience plays a big role in creating relevant content and executing campaigns on sexual health, maternal and child health, gender and tuberculosis.
While just making a shift from the gruelling, yet a relatively uncomplicated world of advertising to an unknown world of real social change is feat enough, it’s her perseverance that got our attention. From a place of finding a voice where no one is listening, to encoding desired behaviour that changes rigid habits to discovering the tenacity of broken down messages for gradual desired changes, her’s is a journey that goes beyond transformation. It’s one about complete and authentic social evolution.
What was more interesting was the lightheartedness in her approach which contrasted with the themes she spoke about. Her emphasis to find ideas and discussions that quietly find their way into a person’s subconscious came from her learnings that media has gone a few steps beyond the obvious. There is a need for a new vocabulary for the illiterate and the marginalised.
In a modern world, where we naturally gravitate towards apps as the best solution to every single information problem, she found potential in the old telephone technology. A ridiculously simple, low cost and effective way to make sure expecting mothers got the right information and knowledge at the right time, without depending on hospitals near or far, brought her to device a ‘kunji’ for them. And also used a literal rendition of 'gaanth bandhana', a phrase that means 'to remember forever', to remind villagers about the number of steps for behaviour change.
She ended her presentation on a high, infecting us with positivity and optimism, something that lingered around us beyond the boardroom and well into the evening conversations over tea.