May 23, 2013

Tablets Help Build Demand for Safe Water in Rural India

Safe Water Network launches tablet-based water and health education campaign

Safe Water Network Tablet Water Health and Education Campaign

Safe Water Network announced the launch of its tablet-based water and health education campaign designed to build awareness of and demand for safe water in rural communities. In one of the first applications of this technology in such a setting, the campaign uses multiple regional dialects and culturally specific marketing content to educate community members on the benefits of safe water and its link to good health. This work is supported by Merck Foundation and builds upon a long-term partnership with Safe Water Network to accelerate the adoption and usage of safe water for drinking and cooking.

The tablet approach delivers standardized content, which ensures that important messaging remains consistent across users and regions. According to MARI and ECO-Club, Safe Water Network's local partners in the field, delivering safe water and hygiene messaging on a tablet is creating a high level of excitement in rural communities. "The enthusiasm I'm met with in the village when using the tablet allows me to connect with people quickly and hold their attention longer," said Vedanta from MARI. "The tablet symbolizes technology and progress; it creates a connection with their urban cousins."

Safe Water Network's campaign is gaining speed in unexpected ways. Opinion leaders in the village of Pathipaka are so motivated by the message and lessons, they have become advocates themselves. Rajitha, for example, is a leading health worker with ASHA in the Warangal district, and plays an important role in her community. "Women and children," she said, "particularly young pregnant women, need to know the importance of always using safe water. In the past I've struggled to teach my community alone. Help has finally arrived."

The campaign was developed in partnership with Dialogue Factory, a GroupM company that specializes in experiential marketing throughout India. The initiative builds on Safe Water Network's "iJal" safe water brand that was designed to appeal to rural consumers. "We are proud to partner with Safe Water Network in their mission," said Dalveer Singh, CEO of Dialogue Factory. "We believe that tablets represent one of the most innovative and powerful tools to educate, entice and engage rural audiences."

Over the next year, Safe Water Network will introduce additional functionality, including educational video games and an interactive "Project Assessment and Management" application to track safe water site assessments, planning, management and training. 

A nine-month impact assessment completed by the consumer insight and market research firm IMRB will measure the campaign's impact on safe water purchases as well as community attitudes towards safe water and hygiene.