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ID 2

Provide couples with opportunities to explore and build their own couple bond, relationship identity, communication style. This would provide couples to negotiate their roles while promoting gender equitable norms and nullifying rigid gender normative notions of couple making. This will also encourage gender transformative behaviours within the couple space.

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Key Design Challenges

  • Providing couples with increased opportunities for couple making in order to enable informed and collaborative decision making on FP

  • Facilitating communication between partners regarding shared roles and responsibilities

  • Assisting couples to make more informed and collaborative decisions on FP (contraceptive use & birth spacing)

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Research

Couples, in the initial stages, are in liminal states with regards to their shared and individual roles and responsibilities within their relationship. The pre-existing gender-normative notions of what these may be influence the partners’ bond as a couple, along with their communication and decision-making patterns. This is further concretised with the progression of time and is reinforced through social norms.

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Key Design Decisions

In order to enable discussions between partners on what the shared and individual responsibilities for a couple could be, the normative barriers had to be addressed. Some of these were the dominance of men in decision making around finances and family planning, lack of communication on sharing responsibilities around household chores and finances, and around contraceptive use and family planning. The design needed to address both these aspects.

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Digital Concept

An extension to an existing social media platform meant exclusively for couples to accomplish certain tasks together towards which they receive incentives. These tasks will follow certain themes such as couple making, health awareness, financial awareness etc. For example, one of the initial tasks can ask the couple to plant a sapling together and upload a selfie, in return they'll win points. These points can be redeemed with the partnered e-commerce platform or a telecom partner. If these both are not feasible, local commercial avenues could also be explored. This aims to bring the couple closer to organically start conversations and take up activities together. Since these tasks can be curated from the back end, themes of roles and responsibilities can be woven in too.  AI Chatbots can be leveraged for perception management in order to change the attitude of men towards communication, consent, mutual respect and pleasure

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Physical Concept

A life trajectory mapping exercise facilitated by FLWs (possibly gamified) that leads to a tangible artefact that men and women can keep with themselves. It serves as a guide to get out of their current circumstances, and the recommended avenues to be availed. All pertinent information regarding available policies, health facilities, and training courses can be provided behind the created artefact.

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Assumption

Digital 

  • Couples possess a working smartphone between them with a sim that is recharged regularly or a smartphone between the two of them and have the requisite skills to access the digital platform online. They live in an area where they have network.

  • The couple lives together and man is not a migrant. In case the man is a migrant, they can post via individual handles.

  • The wives have equal duration of access to the smartphone with internet and skills to operate, as the husbands, without control over content browsing.

  • They have a working knowledge of online transactions (talktime recharging/ financial transactions/ e-commerce)

  • Couples will develop the intent, but may still not have the time and space to spend time together

  • The couples’ environment – family included will allow them this space without any backlash. There will also be no backlash from the community.

  • Content created is validated by gender and behaviour change experts to ensure sensitivity around messaging for improving men’s and women’s perception and knowledge on spousal communication, consent, mutual respect and pleasure. 

  • Couples have individual social media accounts and both women and men are able to use freely without any fear or need for self restraint based on their genders and possibility of online backlash.

Non-digital

  • Both the man and the woman have sufficient time available to attend the event.

  • Couples possess the intent to spend time together.

  • Couples possess basic reading skills in the regional language (for info leaflet).

  • Couples are comfortable being in a gamified activity in public and do not fear disapproval.

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Risks

  • Add unwanted pressure on women to participate in activities that they may not feel comfortable with, at the risk of violence for non-participation.

  • Another activity added to the woman’s daily routine and may eat into her time for rest or self-care.

  • Data privacy may be an issue when uploading content online.

  • Feelings of inadequacy may surface if one of the partners is not able to successfully navigate through the digital platform leading to violence in the case of men and ridicule/dismissal in the case of women.

  • As with physical spaces, gender based violence is rampant on virtual spaces. Here as well, women are at the risk of backlash driven by rigid gender norms.

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Potential

Contextually Sensitive

In the given contexts, married couples coming together for any public display of affection is rare. This concept has the potential to bring couples closer together keeping in mind community sensibilities, since the couple has creative control over the content they put out (subject to limitations of what prompts are provided by the app).


Gender Transformative

While participation itself can be reinforcing gender roles, the presence of appropriate content and guidance to break these roles has a huge potential and navigate through these. Who  completes the challenges, the nature of comfort and contribution of both partners, who  posts online, how are they navigating the dynamics of both partners being on social media are real issues that can pave way for transformation. Participating in activities, by means of planning and designing their posts, will allow the couple to make smaller creative decisions together. The concept leverages on these smaller intimacies to build a strong foundation allowing them to trust each other with bigger family decisions, thus impacting the existing gendered nature of decision making amongst the couples.

Participation with men taking up more of household tasks, but not celebrating men alone for doing the work rather celebrating the couple for being more equitable


Couple Empowering

The concept will encourage the couples to come together and get to know each other in a more intimate way, emotionally, mentally and physically. This will aid greatly in the process of couple making wherein the couple will have mutual understanding and respect for one another leading to a united front when faced with external pressures from the family and society.

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ID 2

ID 2 - Provide Alternatives to Notions
of Couple Making

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ID 6

ID 6 - Encourage Sex Positivity for Mutual Pleasure