New Delhi: NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Centre for Social and Behavioural Change (CSBC), Ashoka University, and the Ministries of Health and WCD, on Thursday launched a behaviour change campaign called ‘Navigating the New Normal’ and its website.
Focusing on Covid-safe behaviours, especially wearing masks, during the ‘Unlock’ phase of the ongoing pandemic, the campaign was launched in the presence of NITI Aayog Member Dr V.K. Paul, CEO Amitabh Kant, Principal Scientific Adviser Prof. K. Vijayraghavan, BMGF Country Director Hari Menon, noted lyricist and CEO and CCO of McCann World Group India Prasoon Joshi. Senior officials of NITI Aayog, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and BMGF were also present. As many as 92,000 NGOs and civil society organisations (CSOs) working with NITI Aayog too participated in the virtual launch.
Developed under the guidance of Empowered Group 6, constituted by the Government of India and chaired by CEO, NITI Aayog, the campaign has two parts. The first is a web portal, http://www.covidthenewnormal.com/, containing resources informed by behavioural science and the use of nudge and social norms theory, related to Covid-safe behavioural norms during the ongoing Unlock phase, and the second is a media campaign focused on the wearing of masks.
Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog said, ‘As India unlocks, one key worry is how do we encourage the public and institutions to practise Covid-safe behaviours. Until a vaccine is available, wearing masks along with practising hand hygiene and social distancing will be important to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus.
NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Centre for Social and Behavioural Change, has made an effort to provide people with prompts and reminders along with simple, easy-to-practice ideas of designing their environment in such a manner that practising these behaviours become easy.’
NITI Aayog Member Dr V.K. Paul said, “Our future is dependent not on the virus but our behaviours. If we create distance, wear masks, or use a barrier like a vaccine, the virus can’t spread.”
Hari Menon, India Country Director, BMGF, said, ‘We are committed to our partnership with the Government of India and NITI Aayog to support the national Covid-19 response. I am hopeful that “Navigating the New Normal” campaign will help normalize protective behaviours, especially mask-wearing.’
Developed in consultation with MoHFW and other stakeholders, the website aims to increase public participation and engage CSOs and NGOs. It will become a repository of strategies and collaterals to practise Covid-safe behaviours in different sectors. It aims to provide open-source access to anyone, including CSOs, NGOs, the public, institutions, anganwadi workers and district administration. With the availability of this information, institutions and civil society organisations can plan to resume their normal activities while practising Covid-safe behaviours.
The portal focuses on easy implementation of four key behaviours in the unlock phase:mask-wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene and not spitting in public. The website will have sector-specific collaterals and guidelines for health, nutrition, and public transport (in metro cities).