Advocacy, as many of us know, is a practice to put forward the pros and cons of a particular thing or an issue and to convince the other person in believing you. Now, media advocacy, is a type of advocacy but is quite powerful in motivating a person to acquire change.
Media advocacy focuses on bringing change in the society specially from a grass root level i.e., rural and suburban areas. Media advocacy imposes its objectives and through the various programs tries to implement them. Programs like MNREGA, SSA, RTE, and other health and women related programs use media advocacy as a tool to inculcate a desire of change among people.
It is important to understand that change can only survive if is originated from a grass root level and not just the outer level or important people who we think are important. Each and every individual constitutes to the change. Therefore same mind set is necessary to be created for uniformity of desire of change.
Media advocacy plays a vital role in this scenario. For instance, in a slum area an extension programme is organized which deals with the awareness of hand wash. This program is organized for children & women, now the extension workers will first plan out what all they want the children and the women to know about hand wash. Then they will plan out the entire program with every details required to be told. In this program the major objective, for instance, is to inculcate the habit of washing hands to avoid getting ill. But this statement alone will not change the mindset of people, so the extension workers use media advocacy as a tool where they would tell the participants about the effects of not washing hands and try to sensitize this by relating the scenario with them. By emotionally attacking the participants and trying to convince them to do what the extension worker is asking to do. This would arouse a feeling of the need to do so.
Media advocacy uses such extension programs to achieve development in the real sense. In such extension programs the use of puppetry, stage shows, nukkad natak, street play, participation by the audience are important elements since they have a lasting impact for a few days in the mind of the audience. This would make them think about it again and again and if accepted it might change their perceptions. Change in perception is the first step to THE CHANGE.
MEDIA ADVOCACY THUS IS A TOOL FOR CHANGE IN THE RURAL & SUBURBAN AREAS.