On International Literacy Day on 8th September, Marico’s Nihar Shanti Amla launched a national program called Phone Uthao India Ko Padhao, demonstrating that the brand believes education is the core foundation for growth.
The program is aimed at providing basic English-speaking skills to underprivileged children by connecting them to volunteers in urban centres simply through a phone call. Simply, ‘Phone Uthao India Ko Padhao’.
To be a part of the program, a volunteer has to simply register online and take out 10 minutes of time for a phone call each week to help a learner practise spoken English.
Nihar Shanti Amla has been running an umbrella program called Nihar Shanti Paathshala Funwala for the last 5 years to enable children to learn spoken English through simple, free-of-cost, IVR-based training modules. This program has seen massive success in these years by positively impacting more than three lakh children in the villages.
However, it had also become evident that only practicing a language ensures true learning. Also there is an existing pool of urban educated adults, who are willing to help but either don’t have the time or an opportunity to include it in their busy schedules.
Hence, ‘Phone Uthao India Ko Padhao’ was launched to connect these educated audience to the children and help them practice English by using technology as a medium, thus helping to improve the eventual learning outcomes.
Koshy George, Chief Marketing Officer, Marico, said, “Nihar Shanti Amla has always been committed towards improving educational outcomes for children. Through the Nihar Shanti Paathshala Funwala initiative over the years, we have made English language learning accessible to children anywhere, anytime. Phone Uthao India Ko Padhao is the next step in this endeavour aimed at helping children practice what they have learned through a simple, convenient phone based intervention. With this, we want to enable willing, urban adults be a part of this movement to make a difference to these children’s lives and strive towards building a confident, educated young India.”
A pilot project for the program was executed in Lucknow earlier in the year and more than 2000 children joined in to practice English through one month of the pilot. So far, more than 55,000 minutes of calls have been answered by these urban volunteers.
Taking learnings from the pilot, this program was launched nationally with a 360* marketing campaign.
Brand ambassador Vidya Balan, along with several other celebrities, pledged their support to the cause and also invited their followers to register as volunteers and take out only 10 minutes a week of their time on a phone call.
Nihar Shanti Amla also partnered with GoAir and included the program message as part of the inflight announcements on all their flights on International Literacy Day. A radio campaign with Big FM along with spreading the message through social media partners was a part of the program launch.
Over the past few years, Nihar Shanti Paathshala Funwala has led massive rural outreach programmes that have positively impacted 7500+ villages with call volumes of 10 lakh from 3 lakh children in these villages in the past year.