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How Can Social Media Be Used For Social Good? This IIT D Entrepreneur Has Answers

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By YKA Staff:

Pradeep Chopra, an IIT Delhi graduate, has been working in the digital sector since 2000. He is the co-founder and CEO of Digital Vidya, that offers digital marketing training to professionals. In a conversation with Youth Ki Awaaz, Pradeep shares his thoughts on the impact of the digital medium and social media, especially on India’s youth.

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We have a lot of young people on our platform looking to create impact of some kind in the world. How do you believe the digital medium can be leveraged to actualise this?

Digital Medium offers multiple advantages over traditional mediums of communication. Here’s a list of key reasons which make digital medium a very powerful channel to fulfil various objectives including creating social impact:

1. Global Reach: Digital medium offers access to global audience and that too at a fraction of cost compared to traditional media.

2. Targeted Audience: In addition to global reach, digital medium allows one to target specific audience. For e.g., one can target users based on age, gender, location, education, social connection, device and much more through Facebook Ads.

3. Virality: Given the viral nature of this medium, digital media allows much wider and faster impact.

4. Ability to measure: One can measure the effectiveness of a campaign on digital media on real time basis.

The digital world is evolving so quickly. How can one stay on top of trends, as a professional working across sectors like – media, the social sectors and others?

The best approach to stay updated about the latest trends is to stay active as a user on all relevant digital channels. Subscribing to relevant online resources including blogs, apps, newsletters and social media profiles of influencers is another important aspect to stay updated on the latest developments.

I want to caution you about spending time on digital medium. If you don’t use your time wisely and with discipline, you can end up wasting enormous amount of precious time on these digital channels especially social media.

Have you observed any trends on how newer social media avenues are being leveraged to communicate and engage with social messages more, effectively?

Sure. Here are some of the key trends in the recent past about the adoption of social media avenues:

• Videos: Initially text used to be standard form of communication and it was followed by images. Thanks to increasing bandwidth and smart devices, messages through Video has become a very effective approach to reach and engage with your audience.

• Mobile: The real growth of communication through Social Media has happened due to penetration of Mobile. Today, mobile allows you to reach people in almost any corned of the country. For e.g., WhatsApp is a very powerful channel to effectively reach & communicate with your target audience.

How do you see non-profits using social media in multiple ways?

Given the nature of Social Media, non-profits are using it to fulfil multiple objectives especially:

• Raise Funds: Social Media is one of the best channels to generate funds for non-profit sector. A non-profit can ride on the popularity of influencers on Social Media to accelerate this process.

• Community Involvement: Social Media allows a non-profit to not just reach targeted individuals but to involve and build a community of loyal users. Leveraging a hashtag on Twitter is a great example of community involvement on digital medium.

Do you also see brands embracing the digital media for social good?

Yes, while a large set of brands have been using Digital Media, only the ones who’ve genuine intention for social good and understanding of this medium, are the ones who’ve been successful.

Any campaigns that have caught your attention, which have leveraged digital to create an impact?

There are many campaigns, which have leveraged digital media for creating an impact. For e.g., AAP’s victory in Delhi in Lok Sabha elections. Billion Hearts Beating by Apollo Hospitals is another interesting campaign. Tata Tea’s Jaago Re campaign is another interesting example.

How do you see young people using digital platforms in unique ways? What’s your advice to students on this?

Each one of us especially younger generation will continue to spend a majority of our time on digital platforms. GenX is born and brought up on digital media and thus can adopt this medium in more innovative ways to create impact in addition to fulfilling their personal goals. No wonder, channels such as Facebook are built by younger audience.

At the same time, Social Media is a double-edged sword. It can be a huge productivity killer if not used wisely. In addition to knowledge & understanding of digital media, discipline is the key to leverage such platforms. Having trained over 15,000 professionals and students on digital marketing since 2009, we strongly recommend students to pursue career opportunities in digital media. I can’t think of a better time than today.

Pradeep Chopra will be a part of the Webit.India Summit. Webit is a global event series on digital innovation that enables business opportunities at global scale and ignites further the growth of the local ecosystems, inspires and empowers them and creates a platform for dialogue between policy makers, enterprise and entrepreneurs. Supported by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and The Ministry of External Affairs, the event will be held on September 29 in New Delhi.

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  1. Diksha Lamba

    It is very important that everyone should connect digitally and all platforms like all education system were started this process. so its very important the digital marketing goes on to every sector

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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