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Innovations, lessons learned and good practices

Myanmar 'Promotion of the ‘4clean’ messages through traditional folk theatre in Labutta Township' (Lessons learned)

Year: 2009
Major Area: Young Child Survival and Development
Sub area: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; Communication for Development
Language: English

In 2009, more than one year after the Cyclone, the sanitary conditions in Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady Delta area continued to be extremely challenging, especially in remote villages. The risk of infections and water-borne diseases remained high. Villagers were struggling to receive support and continued to stay in make-shift dwellings and in poor sanitary conditions. UNICEF for the first time worked together with the Myanmar Theatrical Association (MTA) and traditional folk theatre groups known as Zat to help promote  ‘4Clean’ messages (Clean Hands, Clean Latrine, Clean Food, and Clean Water) in cyclone-affected areas through edutainment performances. It was also the first time for MTA and Zat groups to be involved in a humanitarian project.

The project reached approximately 70,000 people in 54 hard-to-reach villages in Labutta township. Pre- and post-assessment of the intervention demonstrates that the edutainment through Zat created an enabling environment for behavioral change around 4Clean messages, both at individual and community levels. For example, Zat being a well-established and popular group provided an advantage in capturing audience attention. Edutainment performances were delivered in an interactive way, which allowed audiences to ask questions and discuss key messages and the content of the shows. Even after the performances, these messages continued to be discussed in the communities. The assessment, however, shows that to move further in the direction of behavior change and to sustain impact, the performances need to be followed up with more interpersonal activities using multiple communication channels. Building a stronger linkage between the edutainment intervention and programmatic service delivery in WASH or health education in the intervention areas is also important.

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