Family Planning and Population Policy Communication

, 2010

Bernadine Han, MS/MD Candidate

STD/HIV prevention poster in Pune, Maharashtra, India. The caption can be loosely translated as, ‘whether one or many (partners), find a condom!’ The cartooned condom himself asks, ‘what do you think?’

This project explores how shifts in India’s family planning and family planning policy have been filtered down to local communities through images – specifically posters and signs created and distributed by India’s Ministry of Health, local health departments, as well as non-governmental organizations. While the course of population and family planning policy in India has undergone tremendous shifts in recent decades, the collateral of past policy mistakes and the traditions of an ancient culture still present significant challenges to lasting progress. Examining these changes as reflected by the images of posters, signs, and banners lies at the heart of understanding the government’s efforts to communicate with its citizens. This examination has been deeply informed by ethnographic research conducted through time in the field. I am so grateful to the Bixby Center for its support of this project.