Sunday, March 13, 2011


It’s funny to write about Mumbai and my experience after almost a year when I’m ready to head back home for good but I’m glad that I’m finally happy and willing to write about the city and my stay here J

The journey started with XIC (Xavier Institute of Communications) and that’s where I got a chance to visit Mumbai for the first time ever. Like every new comer to this city, I was shocked to see the amount of people and cabs this city had!! How can I forget the deadly rain? Oh my god, never in my life I have experienced such a rainy season. And it’s all the more difficult to handle it when you hate rains. God only knows how I survived. All thanks to the Bata Chappal which lasted me all through the rainy season (LoL). I still remember, my college mates drenched in the rain even after having umbrellas and rain coats covering them and the endless cribbing about the rains and then attending classes where the temperature was never above 18 degrees! Damn, I’ll miss all of that.

For mumbaikars, this season is supposed to be the best season of the year; for them it’s actually something close to winters. And when all this is combined with Marine drive, its sure is a deadly combination. No matter how much I hated the rain, but that was the time when I enjoyed the sea the most. It felt that the sea was enjoying the season too; it was happy, chirpy, touching the sky with joy. It was amazing to see so many people enjoying away to glory…jogging, talking, walking….No matter how many times I went to that place, I’m still not bored of it and would never be. Sitting at Bandstand, Marine Drive late night is just amazing till the time cops ask you to get the hell out of there (LOL). It’s just so peaceful, with the sound of the waves and the moon shining bright and making the water look like diamonds floating. I’m sure you are already imagining it all J and that is the beauty of this city!

Initially, I used to crib about the city, college and the people around so much that even I doubted at times, if I would stay there for the next minute or not. But it so happened that today I’m unable to digest that I finally have to bid goodbye to this place and my people. I was fortunate enough to make few really good friends and got to know a lot of people around. Not to forget the place I stayed made me feel at home, which makes it all the more difficult for me to say “bye” forever. The life here is much simpler yet fast compared to where I have come from (New Delhi). People are easy going, chilled out. No matter whether there are floods, fire, earthquake, you would find people walking around, working, not afraid of anything that comes their way and taking everything in stride and that is the spirit of the people here which I loved.

As I mentioned before, life of the people here is very fast, just as fast as the local trains of the city! Trust me, even the last local at 1am in the night would be packed with people hanging from the train and heading back home from work! It was an experience to travel by the Mumbai locals. I thought only Delhi buses were crazy but I stand wrong there. The first day I went onto the train, I promised to myself that I would never ever step in the train again. But as they say, Mumbai locals are the heart of the city, I realized the importance of trains after being stuck in jams forever. Practice makes a man perfect and that’s what happened! I travelled long distance in these locals and learnt the art of pushing women badly and getting in and vice versa. Dadar station is the father of all the stations and how I wished the train never stopped there but all in vain. Half the Mumbai women come from the Dadar station. ;) But I’m now looking forward to travel by the Delhi metro! The good part is - atleast delhi metros have doors which shut and there is no chance of being pushed out in the running train.

Mumbai is a city of extremes….on one hand you will find big houses, bungalows, people driving Lamborghini’s, BMW’s of the world and on the other hand you will find people unconscious on the footpaths, doing drugs, huge slums, people without food, clothes, small kids begging for money…and the irony is that not only would the riches travel by their luxurious cars, but would also travel by locals. Mumbai is a mixture of people and so many of them that you can get lost in the crowd. But everyone is so simple and easy going that you would love each moment spent here. I did! J

This one year would be the most memorable year of my life. From partying late nights to sitting next to the sea all the time to night stays at friends to late night Maggie making sessions to having free shots in the club to long college hours to the endless assignments we got, I did it all! And I would miss it all as well L This year has been full of learning for me which I would carry with me all my life. The first ever out-of-home experience has been too good to be true and I can just wish for the time to stop right here.

Someone said it right, the city grows on you and it surely did on me J. It will be hard to part away with Mumbai and all the sweet people I met here but such is life. Life will move on so should I…

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Use of Public Relations by Non-Government Organizations (NGOs): A Case Study Approach

Key aim of this paper is to discuss how an NGO can effectively use Public Relations (PR) activities. Taking a case study approach, this document will outline the issue of Child labour in India and how Child Rights and You (CRY) can use PR activities to better communicate the issue of child rights in the country.

Situational Analysis: India is home to the largest number of child labourers in the world – 17 million continue to suffer even after the the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, was passed as early as 1986. Child labour in general terms means the work for children which harms them or exploits them in some or the other way, either mentally, physically, and morally or by restricting them the right to education. Children according to international conventions are those aged 18 and under.

While various specialized agencies and NGOs continue to aggressively push this message in India, Child Relief and You (CRY) is the most vocal amongst all and hence chosen as a case study for this document.

PR Objectives: To successfully deliver the messages against Child labour, CRY needs to first identify the key objectives (below) that it must achieve through the PR activities.

· Educating the masses in India and helping them understand the true meaning of child labour.

· To ensure both parents and children are aware about Right to Education (RTE) and that children must go to a school and not work instead

· Ensuring that each family has basic rights and the pressure of poverty does not force the child to get into child labour

· Gather support from civic, legal authorities and push them to ban employment below the age of 18

Target Audience: Given the multi-faceted nature of the cause, it’s imminent for CRY to target a variety of groups and ensure activism can be transpired to the grass root levels.

· Firstly, while the onus will be on people who employ children aged 18

· The campaigns will also target people in the community who already support the cause and are willing to help to further spread the message.

· CRY will also target associations and bodies that are in position to fund such campaigns, and

· Lastly, civic and legal bodies that can help to enforce laws to curb the issue

Key Messages: As discussed above, while the campaign is targeted at a host of groups to collectively make the move against this cause a success, the fundamentals and underlying messages remain the same. The broader messages arising from this campaign must include, but not remain limited to:

· There’s an imminent need to look at the children’s issues in their entirety, rather than just focusing on education, child abuse, child labour, health etc.

· The issues of Child labour has a strong connect to the broader issues of caste, livelihood, deprivation-gender etc

· The need for various local communities to come together and find a long term solution to these problems

Strategy & Tactics: While a variety of PR and marketing tools can be implemented, it’s important to for CRY to handpick those that offer a healthy balance between high reach and effectiveness.

Stage 1: Awareness

· Create a website that explains the campaign, its activities and reasons why we must act collectively to eradicate child labour from our country.

· Use of Twitter and Facebook – social media has proved to be an effective PR tool, offering the much desired reach to a large base of users at an effective cost. CRY must use Twitter and Facebook to spread awareness about the issue to large volumes of people.

· Blogs – A blog on Child labour can be used in tandem with the website to reflect on the issues faced by the underprivileged youth of our country and how all of us can help in eradicating this issue. Blogs can also be used to arrange online discussion on the issue and exchange ideas.

Stage 2: Activism

· Celebrate World day against Child labour – The International Labour Organization has declared June 12th as the world day against child labour and this day can be celebrated through organizing rallies and sport events in metropolitan and other key towns in the country. This effort can be coupled with social media tools to spread awareness.

Stage 3: Action

· Take the Oath Campaign – Aim to get at least 5,000 people across each Indian metro to take oath of not employing children as a household help.

· Hold press meets and get local governments to publicly announce their intent to help enforce law.

Evaluation: Following the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach, an ideal PR strategy must uses a mix of tools that work in tandem to achieve the desired objectives. In this case, while there are certain tactics that have a wider reach and can help spread the message, others help to create on-ground activism and action. For example, social media tools will be most successful to build awareness about the issue (given their wide reach) and can help to engage proactively with the audience and get comments, suggestions and their thoughts about the issue instantly. On the other hand, tactics like a press meet, sign up by local government and taking oaths help in on-ground, real-time action which social media tools cannot provide. Overall, I expect the campaign to leave a strong impression on people’s mind and help move steps closer to eradicating the issue from India.