Systems Thinking + Design for Rural India
Classroom Project (2011)
The objective of the project was to understand System's level of thinking and problem solving in a rural milieu. I visited a semi-urban area In Delhi that lies close to Haryana. The area is called 'Hastaal-Kheda' and it is a 300 year old village with an interesting history...
Hastaal-Kheda / Hastsaal was a part of the kingdom of the last Hindu king Prithviraj Chauhan (1149-1192 A.D). The area was used to keep the royal elephants of this Rajput king This is where the village derives its name from (Hastha meaning ellephant in Sanskrit). The minaret shown in one of the images is an important landmark and a protected monument. It was buil during the king's era and was used to count the number of elephants. With a rich cultural history, the village has now moved on to become a semi-urban region with almost all the modern facilities available to the people.
In order to narrow down my spectrum of research, I focussed on the various health issues faced by the people in the area. Through research and data colection by conductng surveys, I found that there are four diseases that are extremely prevalent in the region - Dengue, Malaria, Typhoid and Diarrhoea. The fact that all these are directly or indirectly connected to contaminated water and unhygienic surroundings particularly caught my attention.
I could connect the dots once I closely analysed the region.
Based on my findings and data collection, I understood that there are three main preventive measures to tackle this problem.
In the first phase of the project, I wrote a script for a small road show targetted to the youngsters who would understand these values and the importance of cleanliness. The theme revolved around how proper care and protection can be helpful to keep these diseases at bay. The title of the show was 'teen kasmein' which means three vows. Here's the poster for the show.
As the show was targetted to the youth, I made some take-aways that could be distributed to the people in the village whhich would remind them of the three vows.
In the second phase of the project, I saw the various other peoblems at a macro level and tried to devise a solution for them. I created an event called 'Shwet-hast' that would act as a platform for interaction and information transfer from the experts to the people. I realised that every season brings with it a new set of problems and diseases are just a part of those problems. For instance, monsoon season usually ends up with damaged roads and overflowing drains. So, in order to curb such problems, this event can be held before every season to discuss the issues that may arise and to spread awareness about various preventive measures. 
Besides acting as a platform to discuss problems and their solutions, various fairs and other collective activities can also be organised during this event that would fetch some revenue that can be utilised for the betterment of the area. This would create a sense of pride among the people of the village as more people from the urban areas would get acquainted with the village and its importance....
The symbol derives its form from the minaret which is an important and iconic element in the village. The term Shwet-hast' means white elephant. A white elephant is considered to be a sign of superiority and purity in the Hindu culture. The name is meant to glorify the historical importance of the village and create a sense of pride among its people.
The tone of voice for the communication campaign. The copy reads - 'Now Hastsaal will rise up to new heights..'