Behaviour Change Campaign II

Swachchta Kranti – Behaviour Change at the Kumbh Mela

The second behaviour change campaign developed for the Gates foundation – “Swachchta Kranti” [the cleanliness revolution] was developed to target rural adults attending the worlds largest religious gathering.  With a direct outreach to 1,700,000+ people, the campaign led to a 2.7x uplift in adoption of good sanitary practices among the participants.

Behaviour Change Campaign at Kumbh Festival
After the success of the behaviour change campaign targeting children, the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation was keen to replicate similar outcomes in the rural adult Indian demographic. The goal of this campaign was to raise awareness of the negative impacts of open defecation on health & environment, as well as disseminate information regarding government subsidies for building toilets.

This time we altered out previous strategy of creating events across multiple districts, to focusing our campaign around the religious festival where the target demographic congregates in large numbers. This stemmed from the foundation research analysis that showed faith leaders having a greater impact than advocacy from medical professionals or celebrities when it came to behaviour change. This strategy also allowed us to allocate larger budget to on ground interventions by drastically reducing the cost of reaching the targeted demographic.

A series of interventions across multiple channels were used to spread the messaging across the event. Short films, radio spots, programmed sermons, OOHs, PSAs, street theatre, mobile stage shows, street performers, information & registration drives, as well as parades were designed to develop a holistic campaign that was live for a week during the month-long festival.

From conceptualization to on-ground implementation, the entire campaign was handled by Our team. This behaviour change campaign at the Kumbh Mela was one of its kind in approach and reach. Partnering with the faith leaders attending the festival was key to the campaign’s successful impact. It was the first time in S.E.Asia that faith leaders were partnering in advocacy around sanitation & hygiene.

Public service announcements featuring the leaders, along with them volunteering to dedicate some of their daily sermons to the campaign & it’s message magnified the reach and impact. The leaders held sermons on the benefits of an open defecation free country in their respective camps at the festival. The focus was on using the religious scriptures to highlight sanitation as an essential step towards the path to God.


Puppet Shows + Street Plays
Several 10 minute plays with characters from everyday life as well as mythology were developed to explain the need to stop open defecation. Some plays focused on the health benefits of toilet use while the others appealed to the religious ideology and the sanctity of the Kumbh Mela to drive home the message.

Short Films with Faith Leaders
Multiple clips with the faith leaders were created for the campaign. The revered leaders spread the message of sanitation using references from the religious scriptures and belief systems. The strategy was to showcase the approach of cleanliness being one of the paths to God. The messages also emphasized on keeping the blessed land of the Kumbh clean, as a mark of respect to the creator.

Sanitation March
The faith leaders held marches where the visitors participated by pledging to use a toilet and ensuring their friends, families and neighbours do the same. Marches were held from various Kumbh Mela camps towards the main dip areas, with the faith leaders showing the way.

Information + Registration
Multiple kiosks were set up across the Kumbh Mela, where the visitors could sign up to be a part of the Swachhata Kranti Campaign. Registrants were given a booklet containing information on government subsidies and a toll free number for updates and queries. A majority of the audience did not know about the monetary support the government provided and once this was communicated, most were ready to build and use toilets. The kiosks also doubled up as feedback centres where people that were already in the process of building toilets shared the issues and bottlenecks they faced while accessing the subsidies.

kumbh mela registration
kumbh mela puppet

Street Plays and Puppet Shows

Kumbh Mela PSA

Faith Leaders in PSAs and event programming

kumbh mela parade

Sanitation parade and marches across the festival

Faith leaders participating in PSAs which were screened at select locations during the festival

PSA short film developed specifically for the Kumbh Mela


The Great Wash Yatra :
Behaviour change campaign in the form of a carnival, aimed at children

Khalsa Heritage Museum :
Narratives and Exhibit design for the museum on Sikh heritage