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UNICEF launches AwaazDo.in to mobilise support for children not enrolled in school

by Kriti Malhotra

by Kriti Malhotra

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) India has launched AwaazDo.in, an online campaign designed to mobilise the Indian society, particularly the Indian middle class, to speak up for the country’s more than eight million children who are currently out of school.

The Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, which guarantees free, quality and compulsory education to every child between the age of 6 and 14, provides an opportunity to increase awareness about the need to enrol and retain these eight million children in schools.

The UNICEF Awaaz Do (or Speak Up) campaign envisages to bring a major part of the middle class together who are willing to speak up for rights of the most disadvantaged children and contribute towards the discourse on the Right to Free and Compulsory Education.

“India is home to a growing urban population that can be mobilised into demanding that the goals set forth in RTE become a reality. We must continue the momentum to achieve this objective and the middle class, as well as the media, can help raise the out-of-school children’s voices to keep RTE firmly in the national spotlight,” said UNICEF India Representative Karin Hulshof. “We hope to have 500,000 people sign-up for the campaign by 24 January, Girl Child Day.”

UNICEF partnered with a creative agency to handle the digital duties for the ‘Awaaz Do’ campaign. The brief provided to the agency was to devise a digital campaign that spreads awareness about the Right to Education Act and gets people to pledge their support for this cause.

According to the creative agency, ‘Awaaz Do’ is a solely digital campaign and has four aspects. Firstly, it urges people to speak up about the RTE cause. People can sign up for the campaign through the website (AwaazDo.in) or SMS ‘AzaazDo’ to 53030 or sign up through the UNICEF India Facebook page (Facebook.com/UNICEFIndia). The campaign seamlessly integrates data from all the three sources into a single database and opens up an avenue for future dialogue and updates on the campaign. All users are plotted on a live Google Map which shows where the traffic is coming from as well.

Secondly, since the website (AwaazDo.in) is rich in content, it allows people to know more about RTE and how they can raise awareness about the Act. A card game has been used to share interesting facts in an interactive manner. Users can share information through social media right from the website making it viral in nature. According to the agency, initial analytics show that this is quite popular and has been working very well for the campaign. The website also allows people to SMS, ‘Donate their Facebook Status’ and email their friends informing them about the cause. Banner codes and blogging kit are also available on the website for download. Posters and screensavers too can be downloaded for putting up in offices, community centres etc to get more and more people mobilised.

Thirdly, a photography and short film making contest aimed at getting youth participation has been designed. Prizes for these contest winners are being sponsored by Canon.

Lastly, several corporate and media houses have partnered with UNICEF to endorse the cause. Tata Teleservices, Barista Lavazza, Park Hotels and Tupperware are urging their customers to speak up. Disney and Chandamama are asking their viewers and readers – primarily children – to spread awareness about the campaign. Corporate houses like CPA Global are encouraging their employees to sign up. Radio City 91.1 and Planet RadioCity.com are appealing their listeners across 20 stations to take the online pledge and be a part of the change.

The agency has further said that being an online advocacy campaign, the prime measurement parameter is the number of people signing up to support the cause. However, the campaign is not restricted to numbers only and the extent of public discourse as well as discussion on social media platforms regarding RTE will be an important criterion for measurement. Also, the number of corporates, individuals, bloggers as well as the number of participants in the photo and film making contest will also constitute a critical parameter.

The campaign is claimed to have garnered more than 11,000 signups on the website in less than a week of its launch. Besides, about 2,000 people have also signed up for the campaign on Facebook and many more on Twitter. The Photography contest has also generated some positive response, according to UNICEF India.

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