The Great Wash Yatra

The Nirmal Bharat Yatra [The Great Wash Yatra]- a mobile carnival, initiated by WASH United and Quicksand, travelled 2000 kilometers across rural India and was attended by over 160,000 people, spanning 5 states, in just 45 days. The event gained extensive coverage in global media and was featured in New York Times, The Guardian, The Economic Times and several other leading publications; reaching out to over 200 million people. Partly funded by the Bill & Melinda gates foundation, this campaign was the first and only of its kind at the scale, depth, detailing and outreach anywhere in the world. Our role was to create, detail and manage the $2.2 million campaign across the country, hitting all the targets set by the foundations involved, in terms of timelines, outreach, visitor experience, content and messaging.

The event had the support of the state government as well as the support of the Cabinet Minister for the Ministry of Sanitation and Drinking Water, UNICEF, WSSCC as well as corporations like Unilever and Hindware. Using the power of Cricket and Bollywood, the event had members of the Indian cricket team and a leading Bollywood actress as its brand ambassadors.

nirmal bharat yatra site 01

The ExperienceHired by Quicksand (a Delhi based design studio) as Lead design team for the carnival, our role was to create “The Carnival Experience”, as well as develop messaging and behaviour change exercises focusing on sanitation and hygiene awareness. Apart from the content and experience, we were responsible for the venue design, event planning, and logistics for a crew of 500 people travelling across the country. ABOVE : One of the stops along the route, spread over 7500 square meters, the carnival averaged over 8,500 people a day.

nirmal bharat yatra games 01

Content + GamesDevelopment of simple games that reflected the messaging and promoted behaviour change was the main draw of the carnival. Certain existing games were also modified to suit the content (especially traditional Indian games), ensuring that the gameplay remained simple while the focus stayed on the messaging. Visual language developed by the graphic design team was used to convey the idea of hygiene, sanitation and its importance. All the games were free to play, with children winning bars of soap once they completed the task and could state the key message for the particular game.

nirmal bharat yatra games 02

Game AdaptationsOne of the most popular games that we developed for the Yatra was a modification of ‘Musical Chairs’. The player that was left without a squat toilet when the music stopped was eliminated from the game. WASH United is currently working with the government to distribute a simple and cost effective version of the props required for the game, to schools across the country.

nirmal bharat yatra games 04

Game ModificationsCarrom – one of the traditional Indian games was modified to reflect the content. Since the gameplay was common knowledge, the modified visual language focussed on the messaging and content. ABOVE : Players try to aim the counters (“poo”) into the pockets (“toilets”). In another version players aim remove the counters (“germs”) from the hands using strikers (“soap bars”).

nirmal bharat yatra games 03

Arena GamesTeams games and multiple players reduced waiting lines, while the large format of the game ensured spectator involvement. ABOVE LEFT : Teams of two play “Poo Minefield” guiding each other across the fatal poo “mines”. ABOVE RIGHT : A version of snakes and ladders where soap bubbles are the “ladders” and flies + germs are the “snakes”.

nirmal bharat yatra games 05

Marbles and JIgsaw puzzles

nirmal bharat yatra ellie

Performers + MessagingContent development also included performances by theatre groups, street magicians, fire-eaters, stilt walkers and folk musicians whose performances reflected the messaging while ensuring the active participation of the attendees. ABOVE LEFT: Folk melodies were adapted for the content and performed through-out the venue. ABOVE RIGHT: In a select few stops, the visitors were greeted by an elephant handing out free soap bars.

nirmal bharat yatra performer

Games and PerformersABOVE LEFT : The winner of the game “Musical Toilets” shares a laugh with the presenter. ABOVE RIGHT : Fire eater entertains the crowd as a part of a short play.

nirmal bharat yatra crowd

Menstrual HygieneOne of the key focus areas of the campaign; workshops and discussions were held with women and girls at every Yatra stop. Attitude towards menstruation and busting superstition and myths surrounding it , the workshops were conducted by the Yatra partners – UNICEF and Goonj.

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