Sucking the Lessons out of TestBKK: Miniworkshop on Online Behaviour Change Communication

By January 6, 2016 Learning

To snapchat or not to snapchat. That’s the question – or, at least, one of the discussion topics among young activists who were deciding the most effective social media approach to advocate sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) lessons to their peers in their countries during Sucking the Lessons out of TestBKK – a miniworkshop on the use of technology to implement behaviour change communication for young key populations, catered as a session in IPPF South Asia Regional Office (SARO)UNFPA South Asia Capacity Building Workshop for Young Activists held in Bangkok from 16 to 17 December 2015.

The Workshop trained 12 young volunteers (18 – 25 years of age) from South Asia Regional Youth Network (SARYN) and UNFPA’s Y-PEER South Asia Network with creative and innovative models of engaging young people with diverse sexual health and rights issues that affect them. “We are organising a group of [SRHR and communication experts] based in Bangkok to share their creative change stories and experience with [our young activists]. Their stories and experience can be to further increase the awareness on specific SDGs or broadly target issues that affect local [young] communities. The workshop aims to [teach the] participants [with] the diverse methods/routes/tools by which young people engage and take action on the specific capacities they would need to build/improve towards achieving similar successes,“ explained Malavika Thirukode, a Project Coordinator from IPPF SARO, to APCOM’s TestBKK team.

Funded by LINKAGES managed by USAID and FHI 360 and Elton John AIDS Foundation, TestBKK, Bangkok’s most innovative HIV campaign targeting young gay men, will be running its second phase with its upcoming webisodes that evolve key messages surrounding HIV testing, PrEP, chem sex and other relevant youth-specific HIV matters in a youth-friendly storyline. The success of its first phase, with launched viral HIV testing awareness youtube videos, informative websites and engaging outreach activities in numerous gay-oriented events, has been an exemplary remark in engaging young key populations for SRHR activists in and outside the region. Therefore, the presence of TestBKK in the Workshop fits like a condom glove.

Titled Sucking the Lessons out of TestBKK (pun intended) and facilitated by Safir Soeparna, APCOM’s very own Media & Communication Officer, the miniworkshop introduced TestBKK to twelve young SHRH advocates, hailing from Iran to Sri Lanka, who’s been volunteering in SRHR outreach, ranging from sex education for girls and young women to condom advocacy to young MSM and trans people, and facilitated them with exercises inspired by TestBKK’s inventive approaches in utilizing online tools to endorse behavioral change among young gay men.

Watch TestBKK’s most viral HIV testing awareness video

See more videos here.

Among many lectures prior to the final exercise of the session, the emphasize went to the importance of accurate targeting and target-based messaging, which TestBKK considers as the prominent formula of the correct combination of technology utilization behind an online advocacy campaign. Once the message gets finalised, it needs to be tested with a certain portion of the target market itself.  As an example, TestBKK’s daring, effective “Suck. F*#k. Test. Repeat.” slogan came out of a focus group discussion with young gay men living in Bangkok.

The session also introduced a brief analysis of each TestBKK’s online presences (Facebook page, dating app ad, website, youtube videos, among many others) to the emerging young leaders. The crisp breakdown helped them to understand the pros and cons of each online/technology platform by laying out their estimated cost, human resource and market reach. Tools to make DIY meme, poster, animated video/infographic to spice up their online advocacy effort were also delivered in the session.

A final exercise strategizing a fictional youth-oriented online campaign closed the session. Grouped into two different teams, the young advocates sketched two separate online campaigns to stop domestic violence among young couple and to provide help to teenagers suffering from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) – with marketing components mimicking TestBKK’s strategy. A dialogue to analyse the target audience’s online and social media habit, what tone to set on the visual communication strategies, which technological instrument/platform the campaign, campaign’s slogan/catchphrases, among others, are brought to the table.

“[The] young volunteers are creatively challenged in developing campaign ideas during the exercise. From the group interactions, I can certainly say that they have gained immensely from [TestBKK’s] criticality and domain inputs,” concluded Malavika.

South Asia Regional Youth Network (SARYN) is supported by the IPPF SARO and its nine Member Associations in Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran. SARYN promotes youth-adult partnership among staff and volunteers of the IPPF MA’s in the South Asia Region, and ensures meaningful involvement of young people at all levels of programs and services in the MA’s. Follow SARYN’s Facebook page here.

UNFPA’s Y-PEER began in Eastern Europe and Central Asia in 2000, at a time when HIV prevalence was beginning to skyrocket, fueled by needle sharing among injecting drug users. Today, Y-PEER has expanded and actively engaging youth volunteers in South Asian countries in various SRHR issues. Follow Y-PEER’s Facebook page here.

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