Building a self-sustained model for awareness
Integrating digital and offline mediums for an environment to promote awareness

CAPED is an NGO that aims to spread awareness about cervical cancer so that this disease can be curbed through preventive healthcare measures and lifestyle improvements.

We have spent 2 years working with CAPED and not once did we talk to our female relatives and friends about it so they could be safe from it. After exploring reasons for it, we figured out a few things:

  1. A discussion on cancer wouldn’t generally happen in a usual setting or conversation.
  2. There’s no set context for us to talk about it and make connection – if the media was covering about the surge of cervical cancer, we all would know about it and it was bound to get the attention. Ex. when H1N1 virus broke out, we all took preventive measures because we saw it in the news everywhere. It was like an epidemic.
    Cervical cancer doesn’t look urgent on the surface but it needs addressing. And for this we have to work towards building the context (which includes talking about the severity of the disease and what needs to be done about it). It is a long and a hard conversation about something we don’t even want to accept we may fall prey to. Who wants to know that they could be a victim to cancer.

So one thing was clear, that our solution had to be around breaking the communication barrier. We questioned, what if we had some information source we could pass on and just ask people to read since awareness has to be rooted in creating and passing of information.
Since people like to suggest and exchange books, we finalised a form of book with a storyline to set the context of cervical cancer. That became our beginning point.

For the success of this solution, it needed to be a self-sustainable and self-propagating awareness model. We wanted this book to also create a chain- that it keeps getting passed from one woman to another and reach as many women as possible. We decided to solve this through tech, by creating a platform to facilitate this action of ‘passing the book on’.

Creating a novelty around this action(of passing on) seemed like a good approach that would attract people to participate. If people invest their time in something, they feel more connected to it. And we wanted them to see their contribution making an impact so we leveraged one of the raging trends right now – #selfies.

The model after all would work something like this:

  • Read the book.
  • Physically give the book to a friend.
  • Use the platform to take a selfie.
  • Get notified whenever the book reaches someone new.
  • Check your connection. Feel empowered.

This platform has the possibility of growing into a full fledged solution for cervical cancer with many more functionalities and a more conducive environment to tackle the disease itself.


After we presented the idea to CAPED team, they were excited to see the possibilities and the creativity of approach in solving the awareness problem.

But there was one looming question: how to get people onto this platform, and how to create the engagement that this solution requires.

It was a valid question for them to see the effort convert into a success. And for that we needed the book, which was going to be the first interaction point to be really great. The story had to be something that resonates with people(especially women) and connects with them. We envision it as a beautiful little piece of content that they can feel powerful in sharing further.

So a lot was riding on the book.

While we were contemplating about the book itself, the development of application to propagate the book had begun.

At one point, we questioned whether a book would even be a good idea because people generally like to hoard the book too. But how we used it to our advantage was that this would infact allow us to create more copies that people would like to keep to themselves and pass on the extra copies.

This means that the capital required to publish all the extra copies would also increase.

Possible solutions to capital problem
1. Assuming that the book is read by a lot of women, we could weave advertisement(for possibly a healthcare related company) into the storyline which would help the story and also get that company’s marketing done. A few options were the leading hospital brands who have partnered with CAPED earlier in executing their campaign. now if people wanted to hoard one copy for themselves and get more to pass onto other people, it was going to help the brand in their advertisement and our solution in getting more and more information spread. In theory it sounded ingenious to us.

2. If we could get a popular author like chetan bhagat to collaborate with us on the story, the awareness problem would then be a piece of cake. But with this approach, we needed to work out a really good reason for Chetan Bhagat’s almost altruistic work.


Maintaining the engagement model over different media


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