At a time when the entire country is gripped into the second wave of COVID-19, Guwahati-based Dr. Anamika Ray Memorial Trust (ARMT) adopted another innovative way to create mass awareness on Covid Appropriate Behaviours.
ARMT in its collaborative initiative with UNICEF Assam has produced four-string puppetry videos of 4-8 minutes, of which three of them are made on the storyline of creating general awareness on COVID-19, which is largely shared by ARMT's YouTube channel recently.
After the use of scientoon characters for COVID-19 general awareness, ARMT has now come up with the idea of using string puppetry, popularly called Putola Nach in both the lower and upper region of Assam – a traditional means of communication and quite another unconventional mode to reach people of all ages easily in this difficult time.
These three videos are titled 'COVID Shatru', 'COVID Bibhrat', and 'Mama Ro Mina Ko COVID Katha' (Mama Aru Minar Covid Katha).
'Covid Shatru' is based on the storyline of a King worried at the devastation of his kingdom for the spread of COVID-19, later on, preaches his people to follow all the COVID protocols. 'CovidBibhrat' is specially made for the students to consider the basic Covid Appropriate Behaviours – washing hands regularly, wearing masks, and maintaining physical distance as the new normal and other precautionary measures as prescribed in standard operating procedures (SOP), 2020 issued by Central and State government. This video is also supported by Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, Assam. Both of these videos are in the Assamese language. While 'Mama Ro Mina Ko Covid Katha' which is made in Nepali language especially for the Sikkim Government urging to beware of the contamination of coronavirus in any form and prevent it by following the basic COVID norms.
Popular actress in Assamese cinema for comic roles Chetana Das has given the voice over in one of these videos. The videos got a good number of views, likes and shares within an hour of its circulation. One of these videos was also shared by MajuliJansanyogfacebook page.
ARMT urges people to like and share the videos as much as possible from the official homepage of its YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2z2z-qBSjzxnP06omgZplQ and help create awareness in these tiring times when the second wave is creating chaos among the general public.
It is to be noted that these videos are a smaller part of the larger collaborative project of two-months (Nov & Dec, 2020) with UNICEF Assam titled "Risk Communication and Community Engagement to Promote COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB) among Children, Women and Urban Population".
"We have also prepared various other multimedia interactive documents creating general awareness on COVID-19 under this project which will also be shared on our social media platform shortly", said Dr. Ankuran Dutta, the Programme Lead and Managing Trustee of ARMT.
Dutta added, "But for now, as the time demands, we indulge in the larger circulation of these three puppetry videos which encapsulates the Covid Appropriate Behaviours in a simpler, yet in an entertaining and attractive manner for people of all ages. I am really grateful to the entire team as mentioned in the description part of the videos for its successful production".
Earlier, the Trust led an unprecedented movement during the first wave of COVID-19 through preparation of various multimedia interactive documents on COVID-19 general awareness in association with NCSTC, DST, Govt. of India.
COVID Katha remained as one of the most popular documents that reached millions of audiences. Besides this, ARMT also launched a month-long campaign against fake news on COVID-19 which was largely circulated by two popular media partners of the region.