In a distinct and ambitious drive to inform and educate around healthier social norms, break societal stigmas and give voice to some of the most taboo topics for young people, The MTV Staying Alive Foundation, partnering with Viacom18, brings a new campaign to India in January 2020.
MTV Nishedh, will focus on fostering healthier attitudes and behaviours and removing the stigma surrounding several health-related issues, including sexual reproductive health and wellbeing, contraceptive care, tuberculosis (TB) and nutrition.
At the heart of the campaign is a 13-episode fictional series, reflecting the trials and tribulations faced by many young people in India today. MTV Nishedh will premiere on MTV India starting 25th January, 2020 every Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 PM and on COLORS Rishtey starting 1st February, every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 pm. The show will also be available to stream online on VOOT.
Through funded partnerships with the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University along with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this campaign weaves in messaging around sexual reproductive health and wellbeing, contraceptive care and options, consent, preventing teenage pregnancy and reducing stigma around abortion, into its world, characters and stories.
An educational grant from Johnson & Johnson Services, has enabled the campaign to integrate messaging around the realities of TB in India – which has the world’s highest burden of this airborne disease – so young people can better understand the signs and symptoms of the disease. With UNICEF India, MTV Nishedh will also raise awareness around the importance of nutrition for adolescent girls, with a focus on anaemia.
The show has been adapted from The MTV Staying Alive Foundation’s multi-award-winning campaign MTV Shuga that has had proven impact on health and behaviour change in Africa. In addition to the TV drama the campaign features a digital content strategy, a 15-part radio drama and peer to peer education.
Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO and MD, Viacom18: “I’ve always believed that doing good is good for business. This business philosophy of doing good was underscored last year when BMGF worked with us to bring forth a behaviour change content series called Navrangi Re! on the issue of Fecal Sludge Management. The sheer number of social organizations and like-minded corporate who are partnering us to launch MTV Nishedh bears testimony to its scale.” Watch our coverage of the launch of Navrangi Re! in the video:
Georgia Arnold, Executive Director of The MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Executive Producer of MTV Nishedh said, “The power of MTV Nishedh is in its reflection of real life – we engage young people in all stages of its development to ensure the stories are relatable, entertaining, and highly engaging. Crucially, all of our content drives the audience to health services where they can receive valuable help.”
Known for her association with social causes and strong performances in films addressing issues of significance, actor Bhumi Pednekar has lent her support to the campaign. Bhumi said: “I strongly believe that young people in India are going through a tremendous change be it political or social. At a time like this, it is important that they are aware of their sexual rights as well as other issues like TB and nutrition that impacts their health.”
Sarthak Ranade, Managing Director of Janssen India, Johnson & Johnson Private Ltd, said, “We have been working closely with the Government of India, NGOs and other local partners to combat TB and DR-TB at all levels. Building on this commitment, our company is incredibly proud to support the MTV Nishedh campaign to empower youth to advocate for a TB-free India.”
Archna Vyas, Deputy Director of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), said, ‘India’s youth population is the engine of economic and social progress. When youth have access to tools and information that enable them to make decisions about their health — which includes understanding of reproductive health issues, adequate nutrition and combating infectious diseases — we set them up for productive futures.”
Dr. Yasmin Haque, UNICEF India Representative, said, “Stories that touch hearts have the power to influence behaviours. We are confident that the show will go a long way to improve awareness among young people on the importance of their own nutrition.”
The show will air every Saturday and Sunday starting 25th January at 8PM and on COLORS Rishtey from 1st Feb, every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30PM.