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UNICEF Takes To Social Media To Fight Open Defacation In India

UNICEF India (United Nations Children’s Fund) has launched ‘Take Poo to the Loo’, a digital-led three month campaign targeting the youth to put an end to open defecation in the country.

Through interactive social media components and initial on-ground activations across New Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune and Mumbai, UNICEF intends to create awareness about the need to see India free from open defecation. Mr Poo, the campaign protagonist will be shown as creating havoc through the on-ground activation in different cities and online activities.

The campaign is supposed to include online components such as games, mobile applications, interactive activities on its Facebook page, Twitter handle and YouTube page. #poo2loo will be the campaign hashtag and  a series of videos where Mr Poo will be caught in different situations along with another song will also be released. The call to action for this campaign is to make people sign a pledge to the President of India. People can also donate towards UNICEF programmes that will help to support the cause against open defecation.


UNICEF India has partnered with different civil society organizations, corporates, institutions and key influencers for this campaign. Protsahan, the NGO is organizing workshops for children on this topic using different forms of art to engage them in the discussion. UNICEF has also partnered Indian Institute of Technology Delhi to mobilize students and organize an event on the options of sanitation technology available to stop open defecation.

Cleaning products brand Domex will be contributing part proceeds on the purchase of every bottle of Domex in India from October to December to improve sanitation for children and communities through UNICEF programmes.

Localization of campaign? It appears that the entire campaign is in English.  It is not clear if UNICEF plans to include activities and campaign elements in local languages for better reach. Although the campaign does include on-ground activations, it appears that large part of the campaign will be online. This could seriously limit the reach of the message that the campaign intends to send out.

One of the awareness campaigns in the country that seriously caught the interest of people was the Puliraja/Balbir Pasha campaign that spoke about AIDS. Although a campaign driven entirely through traditional media, it caught the attention of a large crowd in the country. UNICEF could probably take some inspiration from this AIDS campaign to drive home the message in a similar manner using social media.

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