Assist and/or facilitate couples in navigating through the restrictions of present day norms and sensibilities to achieve their forward-thinking aspirations in terms of finance, lifestyle and individual/family goals.
Key Design Challenges
Nudging couples to have discussions around FP (delaying birth of their first child and effective spacing) sooner as a pathway to achieving their aspirations
Facilitating communication of individual aspirations between partners
Assisting couples to visualize the risks of traditional method failure/ lack of FP uptake to achieving their aspirations.
Insights gathered from the field research presented that showcase that the increasing penetration of smartphones in rural areas has resulted in the development of forward-thinking aspirations, especially for the younger population. The increased exposure through smartphones has broadened their aspirational horizon for the younger couples, not only for themselves, but for the entire family. Couples shared their desire of These now include things like travelling for leisure, wearing clothes which were not appreciated in the contexts they inhabited, for instance, for women, they wanted to wear jeans, maxis and men wanted to buy expensive gadgets. Both together also aspired to have in addition to the more traditional ones like financial stability, owning a house, etc. However, finding feasible means to achieve these aspirations were often missing, leaving them unfulfilled.
Key Design Decisions
Since couples already expressed having possessed certain aspirations, it made sense to map them on a timeline to and to anchor them in reality instead of being left to their imagination. This needed to be also backed up with planning for tentative financial costs to numbers which further concretised this into a plan with milestones that women and men, as individuals and as couples could work towards. To create a direct link with family planning, the achievement of couples’ aspirations needed to be targeted as motivators for them to make conscious decisions to limit the size of their family. As this has a huge impact on whether they achieve their aspirations, this would be a strong reason for them to initiate conversations of family planning.
A digital, finance tracking tool that provides individuals and the couples with ways to plan for and achieve their aspirations. The tool aids them couple with setting individual and family goals and chalks out the financial impact of unplanned pregnancies and/or unanticipated health issues/risks due to non-use of family planning methods. This tool will be a dynamic tracker for life milestones, marking the progress made thus far and the subsequent efforts required to achieve the end goal. It will also provide pathways to achieve these goals, such as training programs, job opportunities etc that can help the couple progress on their common goals further.
A physical job-aid for health system actors (HSAs) that encourages and assists newly married couples in achieving their individual and family aspirations. The intention is to highlight the significance of FP in relation to achieving their aspirations. Analogous tools can be used to provide relevant demonstrations and even ballpark calculations for planning their financial journey. All relevant information and contact details can be provided through distributable leaflets. The information can range from relevant government schemes to avail, to centres for vocational skill-building and employment.
Couples have sufficient time together available to engage with the frontline health workers (FLWs).
Frontline health workers are motivated to engage with couples keeping in mind their workload and increased responsibilities.
Couples have a foundational rapport with the FLWs and are comfortable in sharing their financial goals and aspirations.
This activity will be carried out by couples together, and may largely be undertaken by couples who are either mutuals or functionals and agree to come together on common aspects, that is, they have considerable degree of gender-equitability in their relationship. This activity may not be carried out by couples who are discordants.
For self-access, couples possess a smartphone and have the requisite skills to access the digital platform online.
Couples possess basic reading skills in the language being used to access the smartphone.
The ASHA undergoes training for gender transformative behaviours.
Couples’ aspirations can be a strong reason for them to initiate conversations on family planning.
The ID will be transacted differently for various couples types lying at different levels of mutuality and gender-equitability, and that will have a bearing on the overall outcome of the activity.
The FLWs have already undergone gender transformative training and understand the nuances of facilitating a conversation via men, with 0,1 parity couples.
- The couple has sufficient time available to engage with the FLW.
Couples possess basic reading skills in their regional language.
Increased pressure on women to reduce expenditure on their own well-being, thus sacrificing for the greater good of the family.
A risk of backlash on women by men and/or other family members after FLW approaches the couple for financial tracking as FLWs are perceived as women’s confidantes and talking about finances maybe misconstrued as sharing household information with an outsider.
Added pressure on women to single-handedly take care of the household while also providing a supplementary income.
Given the financial nature of the discussion, the men may want to explore the app independently and not with the ASHA or even with their wife.
Potential backlash on the FLWs by the community members as they approach couples to discuss their financial goals and aspirations.
The concept could act as a catalyst to a set up that the community is already comfortable with. Field research informed that there was a rejection of FLWs in comparison to a reliance on technology and information garnered through the internet, especially for men. This concept may create a space that allows the FLWs to gain the trust and confidence of the community by engaging with technological tools, thus creating transparency and maintaining a record that can be accessed by both the couple and the FLWs. As social determinants like caste, religion as well as class play a significant role in who enters a household, who speaks to whom, and other such related aspects, FLWs engagement will need to be designed keeping all these into consideration.
The concept needs to account for the existing power dynamics between the couple as well as the household dynamics where the couple resides. FLWs are also members of the community and may have similar biases as others. Therefore, it is necessary that the FLWs who are going to transact these need to have gender perspective and skills to negotiate space for women to engage and voice their choices. Gender-sensitization training will make them aware to hold more balanced conversations with the couple, giving both space to talk and in handling varying perspectives.
With the prerequisites in place, it could allow for both the husband and wife to engage in financial communication and decision making, since the app is opened for the couple to see. Given the gender imbalanced contexts, Even if there is a high probability that the final decision is being made by the husband, the activity may nudge for increased communication and create space for wife to weigh in her thoughts, leveraging on the fact that this would eventually affect her body, life and family planning and their children’s futures. The men also may display more consideration for their partners and their choices.
The concept could allow for couples to visualise and understand their life trajectory as a cohesive unit. It may also provide them the space to express their needs and desires to each other.
It will help them to stand together as a united front when faced with inputs from other family members and decide the negotiables and the non-negotiables themselves. This also enables them to effectively have a conversation about their future as a family and promotes collective and collaborative decision making.