NEW DELHI: Reaching out to rural women on critical issues of health and nutrition through mobile phones, a programme was started today under which four informative videos will be sent and they will be "paid to view it".
The digital education programme, which aims to educate 25 million women by 2018 through the free videos in 18 different languages, was launched by Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi in partnership with Indian Academy of Paediatrics, Unicef, HealthPhone and Vodafone.
The videos will be sent to only Vodafone subscribers free of cost and the users will also get an incentive of Rs 10 for downloading all four videos.
According to UNICEF, around 48 per cent of children below five years are chronically undernourished. The campaign will target rural people through videos to educate them on better nutrition practices and prevention of child malnutrition.
"The campaign is very innovative and its target group is village women. There are a certain number of women in almost all villages who use mobile phones. This is going to be absolutely free and not only that they will be paid to view it," the minister said.
Gandhi said that the ministry will talk to other companies as well to participate in the campaign so as to widen its reach.
"The special thing about these videos is that they also tell what will happen if you don't take proper nutrition or if one has malnutrition," she said.
The videos have been produced by the ministry and Unicef and reinforce on diet of expecting mothers, lactating mothers, children under the age of two years and information on importance of breast feeding for children between 0-7 months.
"The videos will be sent to the mobile phones of all our 24 lakh Anganwadi workers. We want to use this platform to spread other messages like women safety and 'Beti-Bachao'.
"So, over a period of time, we will use it for promoting different social messages which are important and carry information not just awareness," the minister said.
According to Unicef, chronic under-nutrition in children is a major challenge.
"The consequences of chronic under-nutrition are irreversible and life-long, ultimately leading to a loss estimated to be over three per cent of the GDP. So, we are pleased to be part of this important partnership to invest in addressing malnutrition," said UNICEF's representative to India Louis Georges Arsenault.