The year has begun on a high note for Malayala Manorama, which has been awarded Unesco's rural communication award for a campaign, titled 'Pala Thuli' (Many Drops), to create awareness on water conservation. The award comes under the biennial International Programme for the Development of Communication.
Pala Thuli was an effort on the part of the publication to create awareness on methods to conserve water, and the idea was conceived after witnessing the acute water scarcity in the state. The campaign that began in May 2004 still continues, and was at its peak intensity for a year from its launch.
"Kerala is a state where you have six months of rain. But the water management is poor, and not much by way of positive action was being taken to look at how we can manage our water resources. We had roadshows from one end of the state to another, showing people how we can conserve water with simple measures, and the entire programme was supported editorially," said Varghese Chandy, GM-Marketing Operations, Malayala Manorama.
Extensive road shows on rainwater harvesting were supported by model water harvesting points, for people to view and experience the conservation methods firsthand. The publication also engaged audiences through exhibitions and video shows. The initiative has met with resounding success.
"The message has reached everyone in Kerala and every home is now built with these facilities. We also instituted awards for institutions that came up with methods for water conservation," added Chandy.
The understanding of local population and the use of the local dialects helped in getting the message across effectively, he said. The campaign was a purely editorial and event initiative, there was no advertising involved. Manorama is richer by $20,000, the amount being the Unesco cash award for the Pala Thuli campaign.