MEENA COMMUNICATION INITIATIVE

This page is dedicated to the memory of Ram Mohan, father of animated film in South Asia 

Meena logo.jpg
Meena logo.jpg
UNICEF's Meena Communication Initiative has been operating in South Asia since 1992. It was designed to build children's life skills and involve parents, communities, and leaders in addressing all forms of gender discrimination against young South Asian girls.

Meena has also been integrated into many health, education, and other child rights programs as can be seen by the topics on the comic books and videos below. Neill McKee came up with the original concept for Meena when he was UNICEF's chief of communication in Dhaka, Bangladesh during 1990-93. He raised the initial funds and brought on board a wonderful team (see below).

Meena materials are very well-known and still used today throughout the region. Some national language versions are still available online or available from UNICEF country offices. See documentation below for more detail.

Meena's Core Team: Rachel Carnegie was creative designer, first coordinator/co-manager with McKee; Ram Mohan artist and animator, first worked with Hanna Barbera's FIL Cartoons in Manila, Philippines, before taking over all the work with his team in Mumbai, India; and Dr. Mira Aghi, was regional research director and trainer. Nuzhat Shahzadi became engaged in Meena story creation starting in 1992, and then was first Meena focal point for Bangladesh. After Carnegie left, Shahzadi took over as Meena coordinator/manager for regional episodes already started during 1994-95. During this first phase, 8 regional episodes were completed. Also, a partnership was initiated with BRAC for wide utilization of the Meena materials and stories through its grassroot channels, including non-formal primary schools and the Meena team was housed in BRAC from 1995 to June 1996.

Due to the continuing strong support of Morten Giersing, then UNICEF's regional communication officer, a Meena regional coordinator's post was created to take over management at UNICEF's regional office and Kathmandu, Nepal. Christian Clark became the first regional coordinator during 1994-99 and during his time, four additional episodes were created, based on research the regional team had completed. Shahzadi took over from him during 2001-2004, after completing her role as the Sara Communication Initiative coordinator in Africa during 1996-2001. Shahzadi led the creation of 20 new Meena videos (including 6-one minute TV spots), with comic books and facilitator's guides. Carnegie, Mohan, and Dr. Aghi remained involved in Meena throughout the time regional episodes were produced. (Most episodes can be seen below, but not in exact order of creation.)

Original country focal points included Renu Ghosh in India, Raana Syed and Ramzan Azhar in Pakistan, Sharad Ranjit in Nepal, who all played crucial roles. Mira Mitra who took over as Meena's national focal point in Bangladesh in 1997, keeping the initiative very much alive in Bangladesh and creating new episodes for Bangladesh use until she retired in 2015, when Tania Sultana took over. In the credits of the comic books and videos, below, they and other researchers, artists, and UNICEF staff members are mentioned. Mumbai based Deepa Balsavar, a writer and an educationist, and Harsha Mehta, with coordination expertise, joined the regional team and assisted in various productions.

"It is through storytelling that we are given direction, values, vision and inspiration."
- Brian McLaren

Meeting Meena.jpg

Meena's First Decade:
Research, Creation, and Dissemination 

A special thanks to the Government of Norway for supporting Meena from 1991 to 2004

MEENA COMIC BOOKS & VIDEO LINKS

Asian language versions available at
UNICEF country offices and on YouTube

1) Girls' right to education
Count your chickens.jpg
2) Equal food and nutrition for girls
Dividing the Mango.jpg
3) Diarrhea and oral rehydration
Saving a Life.jpg
4) Clean water, sanitation, hygiene
Meena's Three Wishes.jpg
5) Delaying age
of marriage
Too young to marry.jpg
7) Dealing with and preventing bullying
Who's Afraid of the Bully.jpg
8) Girls' equal access to health care
Take Care of Girls.jpg
10) Ensuring infant care and love
Learning to Love.jpg
11) Preventing HIV/AIDS stigma and discrimination
Reaching Out.jpg
12) Helping children with dissabilities
Meena and her friend.jpg
13) Preventing childhood accidents
It Could Happen to Anyone.jpg
14) Preventing night blindness
Seeing in the Dark.jpg
16) Preventing worm  infestation
Safe from Worms.jpg
18) Maternal nutrition and care
When Meena Was Born.jpg
19) Breastfeeding and infant care
When Meena Was a Little Girl.jpg
20) Books and creative learning
We Love Books.jpg
21) Preventing corporal punishment 
Teacher Helps to Learn.jpg
23) Delaying marriage to complete school
School First, Marriage Later.jpg
24) Helping strangers in conflict situations
Strangers in the Village.jpg
I Love School.jpg
Girls' right to sports and recreation
Fair Play for Girls.jpg
Prevention girls' dropout from school
Will Meena leave school.jpg
Promoting interactive  
teaching methods
I Love School.jpg
Preventing male children preference 
It's git to be a boy.jpg

MORE MEENA DOCUMENTATIOM

Heading 3