Information, Education & Communication (IEC)


IEC division is one of the important divisions of WBSAP&CS which deals with awareness generation activities using various communication mediums. Other than IEC activities the IEC division also deals with mainstreaming and partnershiprelated activities with other departments and organizations. IEC division also works on the issue of social protection by working with PLHIVs, CLHIVs and CABA. These initiatives are known as GIPA (Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS) activities. Youth related activities are also managed by the division through formation of Red Ribbon Clubs in Colleges and universities. Currently 400 such clubs are present across the state.

A. IEC Activities

IEC activities are performed using communication mediums such as mass-media (TV, Radio, Newspaper), Mid Media (Folk Troupes, Wall writing, Hoardings, Bus Panels etc.); to generate awareness about HIV/AIDS among people. The division also observe by organizing events on important days such as World AIDS Day, National Voluntary Blood Donors Day etc.

 A.1. Mass Media & ICT:

Long format Radioprogramme- ‘RakterBandhane’ broadcasts in every Sunday during 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.simultaneously from 3 stations of All India Radio. TV spots gets telecasted from Private TV channels and Doordarshan to address the issues on HIV/ AIDS. Audio spots aired from Private FM-Radio Channels and All India Radio. Newspaper advertisements are published during observation of events as per NACO calendar.

 A.2. ICT (Information Communication & Technology):

Bulk SMS are shared to BSNL users during the observance of special days as per the NACO calendar.

A.3. IEC Materials:

Posters, Leaflet, STI Flyers and Banners are designed and printed as part of General IEC activities. Other than that Migrant Booklet, Migrant leaflet, Service Booklets are also developed and distributed by the division as part of knowledge management.

A.4. Mid Media Campaign:

Folk Media has been recognised as a powerful communication tool to reach out to people with social messages particularly in rural areas. In order to ensure effective and efficient utilisation of folk media to disseminate HIV and  AIDS messages, it was realised that there is a need to standardise the scripts and performances so that the messages going to the people are correct and quality of performances is ensured. Keeping these objectives in mind, NACO organized national level workshops where Resource Persons and folk artists belonging to popular folk forms of different states were trained. During the workshop, the Resource Persons and the artists themselves wrote the scripts which were reviewed and vetted by technical experts.  As a follow up of the national workshops, SACS have to conduct State level workshops to create a larger pool of trained troupes and roll out the media campaign in the field. The following guidelines need to be followed by each state in planning, implementing, monitoring and documenting the campaign.

The National Folk media Campaign was rolled out in the State in multiple phases. Different folk forms viz. Baul, Kobigaan, Jhumur, Bhawaiya, Magic shows and Street theatre are used as a platform to spread HIV/AIDS related messages through the empanelled folk troupes. Folk performances held at the Health Camps for the Migrants during October- November every year.  Special folk performances are also organized to cover a large crowd during the festive season in Kolkata and the adjoining districts.

A.5. Special Initiatives

Decorated (with flowers, flex and collaterals) IEC vans equipped with Public Address system has been arranged by all districts in WB to support the folk media and Migrant Health Camp activities. These especially designed IEC vans are utilized to generate demands among public. As part of pre-publicity activities before the Migrant Health Camps and folk media roll out; these vans are used. 

Youths are now-a-days using social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter etc. to connect with each other and to express their views on various issues to the world.  Using social media platforms to reach out to the youths to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS among youth would be an innovative approach. WBSAP&CS plans to use social media platforms to reach out to the youth in a meaningful manner in near future.  

 A.6. Events organized on important days:

Special events are organized to observe these important days. Special events such as rallies, seminars, folk programmes and blood donation camps are organized on these important days. These events are organized both at the state and the district level across the state.

  1. International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking (26th June)
  2. World Blood Donors’ Day (14th June)
  3. National Voluntary Blood Donation Day (1st October,)
  4. World AIDS Day (1st December)
  5. National Youth Day (12th January)


B. Youth Intervention:

Physiologically, young people are more vulnerable to STIs than adults; girls more than boys. Gender imbalances, societal norms and economic dependence contribute to this risk.

Lack of access to correct information (almost 73 percent of young people have misconceptions about modes of HIV transmission), tendency to experiment and an environment which makes discussing issues around sexuality taboo adds to their vulnerability.

Most young people become sexually active during adolescence. In the absence of right guidance and information at this stage they are more likely to have multi-partner unprotected sex with high risk behaviour groups. Particularly vulnerable are impoverished, unemployed, under-employed, mobile/migrant youth, adolescents in sex work, young injecting drug users and street children as they are faced with high risk behaviour in their everyday life. They are also less likely to have information on the risks of contracting HIV and means of protecting themselves from the infection. Such youth may face repeated risk of HIV infection through sexual exposure due to coercion or other compulsions.

Young women are biologically more vulnerable to HIV infection than young men – a situation aggravated by their lack of access to information on HIV and even lesser power to exercise control over their sexual lives. Early marriage also poses special risks to young people, particularly women. This is especially relevant for India, where almost 50 percent girls are married off by the time they are 18 years of age.

WBSAP&CS has been working with organization like NSS, NYKS, NCC, and YWCAto implement special activities to reach out the youths. Various platforms such as colleges, universities and schools are used to reach out school going youths; for non-school going youths, NYKS has been used as a platform.

There are around 400 Red Ribbon Clubs (RRCs)in various colleges and universities across the state. National Service Scheme (NSS) is continuing the work of carrying out RRC activities in the universities and colleges throughout the year. Different events are organized at university and college campuses to make the youths aware about HIV/AIDS related issues and motivate them towards voluntary blood donation.


C. Mainstreaming Activities: 


Mainstreaming is an important strategy for Integrated, inclusive and multi-sectoral approach [that] transfers the ownership of HIV/AIDS issues – including its direct and indirect causes, impact and response to various stakeholders, including the government, the corporate sector and civil society organizations.

HIV/AIDS is not a mere health issue: its occurrence is influenced by a number of socio-economic elements. Health interventions alone, therefore, cannot lead to its prevention. Its prevention requires a concerted collaborative effort from all organizations in public life through their work and programmes. This integrated, inclusive and multi-sectoral approach transfers the ownership of HIV/AIDS issues – including its direct and indirect causes, impact and response to various stakeholders, including the government, the corporate sector and civil society organizations. The focus of all organizations in mainstreaming is to adapt their core business to respond to the challenges of HIV/AIDS.

Why Mainstream?

  • loss of skilled employees
  • large expenditure on healthcare, orphan care and social welfare
  • negative impact on programmes relating to education, livelihood, social welfare, women and child health
  • reduced revenues and lower returns on social investment.

Similarly, within the work of the corporate and business sector, HIV/AIDS can pose a serious threat to corporate performance through lowered productivity or disruption of operations and increased cost of employee healthcare.

Benefits of Mainstreaming

In order to check the emergence of such a situation, HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment is mainstreamed in all government schemes and activities, corporate sector and civil society. The latter contributes by awareness building on HIV/AIDS issues, especially among the poor and high risk groups.

The collective effort is a vital force in fighting off stigma and discrimination associated with the epidemic. It has been a critical step in facilitating a nationwide sustained HIV/AIDS prevention and control programme, and has led to workplace policies addressing HIV/AIDS.  It has proven to be an efficacious cost-effective approach in containing the epidemic in the country.

The programme is also integrated with the ongoing activities and outreach work of Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYK), the National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme (NSS), Young Women Christian Association (YWCA).

Under mainstreaming activities other relevant departments are approached to work together on the issue of HIV/AIDS. Other than departments, PSUs and private sector organizations are also approached. As part of mainstreaming activities action plans are finalized which details out the nature of collaboration and responsibility of each stakeholder.

Corporate or private sector has a significant stake in the well-being of the nation. Since the majority of HIV affected people in our country are in the productive age group of 15-49, workplace interventions are significant both in the prevention of infection, and treatment and care for the infected. 

Action plans has been finalized with Kolkata Port Trust and Haldia Dock Complex. Based on the action plan several training cum orientation programme organized among port workers, truckers and employees on the issue of HIV/AIDS.

Other than advocacy meeting with departments and organizations; different type of personnel has been sensitized throughout the year as part of Mainstreaming & Training activities. The trainees include frontline workers like ASHAs, AWWs, and ANMs, Police / Paramilitary Forces, PRI members, Industrial workers, SLSA/DLSA members, Prison Officers, Prison inmates, Railway police, Tea garden workers, FBO/CSO/NGO/PLHIV etc.

More than 150 prison officers and 2000 inmates were made aware on HIV/AIDS and allied issues.  Inclusion of Folk media activity in these awareness workshops was a fruitful approach. 

Other than govt. departments and PSUs; engaging private sector in a meaningful manner is also an important strategy. Mainstreaming division after several advocacy meetings with private sector organizations able to engage them in a meaningful manner. Currently WBSAP&CS is working with organizations such as Larson &Tubro (L&T), Ambuja Cement, Pepsi Co. etc. 


D. GIPA (Greater Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS):

As part of the ongoing GIPA policy, positive speakers were invited to all workshops and also were involved in pre-publicity during the Folk Media campaign. PLHAs (DLN-s) conducted various social mobilization programmes like rallies, awareness workshops and setting up of stalls at various locations on World AIDS Day and during major festivals in the State. The PLHA were also involved actively in the mainstreaming trainings and workshops. SLN and DLN members are also engaged periodically to seek their views on various issues such as social protection benefits, care and treatment, stigma and discrimination to form right strategies for the state and also to overcome implementation bottlenecks.

People Living with HIV (PLHIV) face various vulnerabilities such as job insecurity, poor access to health care facilities, low access to nutritional support and education for children. In addition, HIV-related social stigma and discrimination diminishes their access to work and medical treatment, and also lowers their self-esteem to even seek government entitlements.  Given these realities and the need for regular income for the PLHIV to meet their escalating expenses for treatment and care, there is a need to plan for social protection for those living with HIV and AIDS. It is recognized that for populations affected by HIV and AIDS have needs beyond HIV prevention and treatment services.

The social protection is viewed with great importance for reducing vulnerabilities and to mitigate the impact of HIV. The strategy on social & legal protection reduce the impact of HIV through ensure entitlements & benefits to PLHAs & affected families. It reduces the burden on household as well as vulnerabilities of people to infection.  The social protection initiatives impacted positively in improving the quality of life of PLHAs & MARPS and its accessibility ensures social, legal and economic rights.  Social and legal protection includes access to rights and entitlements which may be in the areas of nutrition, healthcare, shelter, health insurance, legal aid, travel support, pension and so on. In the light of strategic importance of social protection, the suggested approach to work closely with government departments to identify and advocate for amendment/ adaption of policies and schemes to make it HIV sensitive and accessibility of benefits by PLHAs and MARPs.

DAPCU Led “Single Window” Model for Social Protection :-

The DAPCU led “Single Window” model for social protection is envisaged to improve the accessibility of entitlements and schemes by the infected and affected communities. This model intends to facilitate entitlements and schemes provided by the State and Central Government to all eligible most at risk population and people living with HIV.

The DAPCU office will act as the single window help desk for social protection for the infected and affected communities. At the district, the DAPCU Officer will take a lead to ensure that MARPs and PLHIV are fully assisted in providing information on various entitlements and schemes, in filling the application, submitting the application to various departments, follow-up and its realization.

The feature of this model is to increase demand for social protection among MARPs and PLHIV through social protection help desks. In the DAPCU-led model, the various service centres under the NACP at the district will act as help desks to facilitate social protection. The DAPCU office will act as apex body in the district to facilitate social entitlements and social protection. 

“Single window” refers to a single access point to avail the information on various social protection schemes and submit the application for social protection.  The DAPCU directly advocates with the district administration through the District Commissioner with various departments (including legal services) to make necessary changes in the various schemes to address the needs of the PLHAs and MARPs.

The DAPCU will collect filled in applications from all help desks. The bunch of applications will be again validated by DAPCU and then submitted to the concerned departments. Follow up with respective departments for clearance of application and receipt of benefits will be done by DAPCU in support with the counsellors in the service centres.

Providing Social Protection to the MARPs (Most at Risk Populations) by ensuring provision of schemes is an important initiative by the WBSAP&CS. These activities are carried out under GIPA. To provide benefit under various social protection schemes; advocacymeetings are held with various departments. It is due to these efforts several benefits could be passed on to the MARPs. Advocacy with Dept. of Food Supplies, Govt. of West Bengal resulted in issuance of AAY cards to the PLHIV-s and other marginalized population associated with HIV.