A well known Indian corporate has come with a series of advertisement that portrays individual achievements, work opportunities provided and creation of innovative technology as the values they hold in promoting their mining activities. In challenging a stand that technology brings only positive change and not looking for best practices in treatment and management of residue and the environmental ramification of mining and its containment, the presentation of material becomes crucial. Advertisements generally are for 45 seconds and convey powerful messages that create a change in attitude – which is the most difficult change psychologically – they create needs, like ‘fair/thin is beautiful’ and gets you the work assignment of your choice! Implanting an idea at intervals in the mind results in what is termed as automatic behavior in looking for these products and vicarious joining the ‘in crowd’. When an advertisement sets the values of ‘desired’ behavior and can undo the work of awareness building and gender sensitization the impact of the media for change is largely ignored. The effectiveness of an ad to create ‘new’ behavior, [usually for products] makes change happen [safe sex, polio drops and even to sneeze or cough with decorum] and cause the cessation of undesired behavior [tobacco usage, domestic violence] is hardly used by development workers. The effectiveness of social networking was proved in India in the recent times with the unexpected and massive turnout at anti-corruption rallies across age, caste, class and sex barriers. The anti corruption movement proved that social media especially the use of facebook, twitter and SMS was effective in drawing people together as one for a cause – a shadow of the gatherings that swept through the middle eastern countries. The challenge is to be able to fund an advertisement cycle for development purposes that focuses on the ‘doable’, use humour/ridicule to address the impact of discrimination and marginalization and accelerate the process of change. Mindfulness, kindness, awareness of others and helpfulness needs the occasional nudge for fair actions and behavior. Facebook, twitter and SMS bring like minded individuals together for a cause and to form networks to influence policy and decision making maybe the barrier of seeing ads as a purely commercial venture can be altered and tapped into for the efficacy of its reach and its ability to influence thinking and behavior. Prejudice has strongly been ingrained by the use of mechanisms of repugnance and shame resulting in premature cognitive commitments. Taking for example the widespread use of contract staff especially in services like construction work, housekeeping in corporate offices and households, manual labor, results in a system whereby women and the economically disadvantaged are given salaries disproportionate to what is received by contractors. Women especially in housekeeping earn as little as half their stated salaries. They sign for the full amount and receive half and the rest is pocketed by the contractor because of the paucity of available work and the fact that there are over 50 claimants ready to work in these unfair circumstances.Public information through mainline and regional channels may yet be another way to mainstream change.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.