Featured in URBONVOICES
Comic strips with relatable animated characters are ‘nudging’ children and the community in the urban slums of Tamilnadu to adopt better health and hygiene practices. Chennai based Tamil Nadu Urban Sanitation Support Programme (TNUSSP) has come up with a compelling comic narrative to pique users interest in community efforts & create conversations among the community on health & hygiene issues.
TNUSSP, launched in November 2015, supports the government of Tamil Nadu (TN) in making improvements along the entire urban sanitation chain in cities. The programme is led by the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) to scale safe and inclusive sanitation across Tamil Nadu.
Explaining the concept behind the introduction of comic strips, Monisha R, Technical Coordinator, TNUSSP said, “Complex awareness messages like safe WASH for children and communities must be powerful enough to grab attention and yet simple enough to be understood by everyone,”
“Therefore, our team felt it needed a visual and colourful format such as a comic. It was conceived as an engaging way to create awareness and disseminate our work to various stakeholders,” added she.
Comics are becoming a new tool of engagements to simplify complex communication challenges. These comics also reflect local perceptions and visual cultural cues to be understood by the readers, especially children.
TNUSSP team introduced the comic strips in the school WASH sessions and community awareness programs.
On its response among children & communities
Niladri Chakraborti, Team Leader – CWIS Trichy said, “Comic strips are a way for communities to narrate their stories and take them to a wider audience in a fun, simple, and effective manner. When key messages are conveyed through compelling and relatable characters in a story format, they are well received and retained by audiences, especially children,”
“After seeing the comic strip on safe water handling practices, children consciously preferred to wash their hands before fetching water and after using toilets. The comic strips drew the attention of children whom we believe are tomorrow’s change-makers,” added Chakraborti.
Comics are becoming a popular medium to talk about sensitive issues and a simplified communication approach so that ordinary people can benefit.