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Engaging Through Storytelling

Puppet shows to convey maternal health messages in rural Assam, India.

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Puppeteering has had a long history in many cultures being not only a form of community entertainment, but also a way of dispersing information on social issues. It allows for improvement in delivery of education both for the recipient and for the performer without relying on literacy or extensive economical outlay. It is especially effective in contexts of low income yet strong community. Fifth Goal (a project by students at RMIT which focused on maternal health in India) proposed a stylised learning environment/ experience on how to deal with certain maternal health issues (postpartum hemorrhaging, morbidity, prenatal care etc) alongside other social challenges via puppetry. via:

How might other forms of story-telling (street plays, animation etc) bridge literacy divides and provide engaging sites for education and discussion on maternal health? Could these be advertised via mobile phones? Could some of their content be transfered to video and be distributed by via mobile phones?


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Photo of Krassimira Iordanova

Hey Meena, your inspiration about puppeteering stayed with me for a long time. I came across this article today that talks about the art of the puppet shows in Andra Pradesh and how, unfortunatley, the art of puppetry is slowly dying....just wanted to share with you-

Photo of Meena Kadri

Great catch, K – thanks for sharing. I feel that humans will always seek ways to tell stories – so as older forms slowly disappear, new forms will replace or blend with them. I expect we'll often have "Storytelling" as a theme on future OpenIDEO challenges to come – and continue to draw inspiration from modes which have engaged people in the past and build upon these to propose solutions for the future.

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