Ankit Ajmera

Emvies 2007: Looking for champions among tribal children

The work done by OgilvyAction to encourage tribal children of Madhya Pradesh to participate in sports was shortlisted in the Best Integrated Campaign category

The Madhya Pradesh (MP) Youth and Sports Welfare Department runs Grameen Yuva Kendras in tribal blocks to identify young sporting talent and bring them to mainstream modern coaching facilities. The programme inspires and helps children realise their dream in sporting activities. OgilvyAction re-branded and re-launched this programme last year by conducting a host of engagement activities. This work by OgilvyAction was shortlisted among the finalists at Emvies 2007 in the Best Integrated Campaign category.

Although the Grameen Yuva Kendras (GYKs) already existed, they weren’t very popular among the tribal masses, the reason being that the GYK offices were perceived to be like just any other government offices, to which people go only when hard-pressed.

Emvies 2007: Looking for champions among tribal children
The objective before OgilvyAction was to enthuse the children and increase participation in talent scouting initiatives, involve the entire tribal community and make it believe that sports is a valid career option for the children, establish a friendly identity for the coordinators of the programme and involve key opinion leaders in creating a positive environment for the project.

It was found that there was already an abundance of raw untapped talent in the tribal areas and the children were used to swimming for hours together to gather chestnuts, hunt in the jungles and run or walk for miles to reach the nearest school or well. The need was to convert this talent into potential.

Ogilvy started action by transforming the most important touch point – the GYK registration offices in the various tribal blocks, which were shabby and dull and looked like typical government offices. In all, 11 tribal blocks were targeted last year and each block formed a cluster of 100-150 small villages.

Emvies 2007: Looking for champions among tribal children
Grameen Yuva Kendra outdoor ad.
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A new logo was created which embedded the words ‘Grameen Yuva Kendra’ in the figure of a kite in a yellow Hindi font. The position line said ‘Josh Duniya Jeetne Ka’. The walls of the office were painted yellow and the message, ‘Badlo Apni Dunia Khel Khel Main’, was scrolled everywhere. Each coordinator for the GYK offices was trained in a three-day workshop on grooming and communication skills.

In the next step, children were contacted through various schools to take part in a demonstration rally which spread awareness about the cause in the neighbouring localities. Mailers were sent to invite parents and key stakeholders and opinion leaders such as MPs and MLAs, village heads, school teachers, local government officials and NGO representatives to the re-launch function of the GYK.

The re-launch was attended by more than a thousand people from each block. Children performed skits to explain to parents and the audience in general why sports should be an essential part of their curriculum. Stories of young tribal achievers were retold through folk songs and A/Vs played success stories of local champions – such as Joseph Buxla, national track and field champion; Ajay Keer, national rowing champion; and Bitu Sharma, national judo champion – to provide inspiration to the audience.

After the re-launch was over, Ogilvy strategically placed intriguing wall messages which used extensive mapping of the movements of the target audience. These messages urged the people to visit their nearest GYK. For example, one of the messages read: ‘Govardhan lohar ka beta Ramesh, teerandaaz kaise bana - Janane ke liye pahuchiye apne nazdeeki Grameen Yuva Kendra par’.

The agency also organised roadshows after the launch of the event. These shows covered various villages and ‘haats’ and involved the screening of sports personality endorsement A/Vs and interactive games to emphasise the importance of sports. The result was that the registration for scouting programmes increased by more than 50 per cent in the area and it prompted the sports ministry of MP to increase the budget allocation for the programme by 300 per cent.