Published on 17 Apr 2013 | over 3 years ago
Brief of MEENA:
Meena is a cartoon character from South Asia. She is a spirited, nine-year-old girl who braves the world -- whether in her efforts to go to school or in fighting the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in her village.
Meena is widely recognised and appreciated in most South Asian countries, and is a successful advocacy and teaching tool for girls' and children's rights. The Meena figure has achieved remarkable popularity as she tackles the key issues affecting children, and the threats to the rights of millions of girls in South Asia.
The Meena Communication Initiative
UNICEF developed the Meena Communication Initiative (MCI) as a mass communication project aimed at changing perceptions and behaviour that hamper the survival, protection and development of girls in South Asia.
Following eight years of extensive research in the region since the initial conceptualization, UNICEF launched the Meena Communication Initiative in September 1998. The name Meena is one that spans the different cultures in the region, and a cast of carefully researched characters has been created for Meena's family and community.
The Meena stories are entertaining and fun, but also reflect the realities of girls' lives in South Asia. The stories revolve around the adventures of Meena, her brother Raju, her pet parrot Mithu, and members of her family and village community.
The stories cover issues such as education, health, gender equity, freedom from exploitation and abuse.
A story about girls' right to play called 'Fair Play for Girls' was developed in conjunction with the Asian Cricket Council, and recently the Government of Japan helped UNICEF produce an episode that helps teachers and children deal with the shocks and trauma of natural or human-made disasters.
The MCI arose from a need to find culturally appropriate ways to communicate messages that address the empowerment of girls in one of the world's most challenging gender environments. Showing a healthy, personable child who can engage constructively with her family and her community to help overcome serious issues has proved extremely popular.
The MCI has been linked to education, health and social development programmes undertaken by UNICEF partners in government, NGOs, the media and the private sector. Meena has proven to be an effective messaging device when implemented alongside other programme interventions, and has enhanced perceptions of girls.
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