Deepa was pregnant for the first time and unsure about what’s the ideal diet and weight during pregnancy. I gave her the number of Samvad Mobile Vaani and told her to listen to the messages frequently. I also showed her the video on maternal diet on the pico projector,” shared Prabha Devi, Aanganwadi Sevika in Patratu block, Jharkhand, who disseminates community videos on health, nutrition and family planning topics and also advocates the use of Samvad Mobile Vaani.

Samvad (dialogue in Hindi) Mobile Vaani is an Integrated Voice Response (IVR)-based platform that allows communities to listen to relevant health, nutrition and family planning messages broadcast by the Samvad Project by just giving a missed call and receiving a call back from the system.

Digital Green’s USAID funded project Samvad aims to improve Family Planning, Maternal Child Health and Nutrition Outcomes across 6 states namely; Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttarakhand and Assam through the flagship human-mediated video-based approach.

Increased mobile penetration in rural India and available ICT solutions provide opportunities to adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to increase awareness, achieve higher uptake of recommended actions by beneficiaries, create life-stage specific targeted messaging and increase overall reach. With this aim, Digital Green partnered with GramVaani in Jharkhand to employ their IVR-based social platform to complement our video-based outreach.

The messages on Samvad Mobile Vaani are a combination of drama, testimonials, infotainment directed to behaviour change and action. A unique element of the solution is that the platform allows two-way communication wherein the audience can hear the pre-recorded thematic messages and also record their own messages in response to what they are listening to and can also listen to messages recorded by others like them. These include their feedback, experiences, queries, additional and alternative best practices. The IVR messages reach men and women irrespective of the type of phone they own at zero cost.

In May 2018, we oriented 110 Aanganwadi workers (AWWs) in Patratu block to the use of the Samvad Mobile Vaani. These AWWs, in turn, oriented the community on the benefits and method of accessing this IVR platform and encouraged them to record their messages as well.

Since June 2018, over 10,600 unique callers have accessed Samvad Mobile Vaani about 156,626 times. We also conducted an IVR based survey with about 200 callers to analyze their profile. About 56% of the callers were women and 69% of them were younger than 28 years old. We also found that 69% of the callers were within the 1000-days period. This survey establishes that with Samvad Mobile Vaani we are able to reach audiences in a targeted manner through the help of Anganwadi workers (AWWs) who help deliver the solution to the target beneficiaries.

Callers have recorded over 2,500 messages which include queries, testimonials around various themes such as complementary feeding, IFA supplementation, care during pregnancy etc.

Family planning messages were accessed by over 4,600 callers about 41,000 times and they heard messages on the importance of family planning, spacing methods, spousal communication, and taking a combined decision of Family planning.

We are now evaluating the effectiveness of this solution and based on the results we will scale this across other states we’re working in. Preliminary findings demonstrate that this complementarity of ICT solutions is impactful.

Sharya Bano, Anganwadi Sevika from Jai Nagar, Patratu block narrates the experience of Salma Khatun, mother of an 8-month old child. She says, “Salma was not aware of the importance of a balanced diet for her child’s growth, as a result, her child was very weak. I showed her the video on complementary feeding and also shared with her the number of Samvad Mobile Vaani. She became a frequent listener and started following the practices suggested. As a result, her child’s growth has been very good and has gained weight too.”

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