Report by Sambit Samal, Bhubaneswar: The Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today felicitated UNICEF for its continuous support in promoting traditional folk arts forms in the state for social development.
Ms Yumi Bae, Chief, UNICEF Odisha received the award on behalf of the international child rights organization. She said, “On behalf of UNICEF, I thank the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Shri Naveen Patnaik for recognizing and acknowledging UNICEF’s work in this area. We reaffirm our commitment to reach the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women and children in the state through innovative methods such as the ZKSS Artist Federation.”
In 2011, under the leadership of the Chief Minister, the governmentof Odisha in an effort to preserve the dying art forms, started anedutainment programme,‘Zilla Kala Sanskruti Sangha’(ZKSS) that uses the medium of folk art and theatre to create awareness and mobilize communities around government schemes.
UNICEF assisted the state government to scale the ZKSS (Artist Federation) effort to all 30 districts. Today, departments with social sector schemesuse these performances to reach largely rural communities with critical messaging. With over 1,200 performances in each district every year, ZKSS has held approximately 146,500 performances from 2012 to 2016.
UNICEF Odisha continues to provide technical support to the Department of Culture to strengthen the ZKSS Artists’ Federation. This includes training of folk groups on social, behaviour change communicationand participatory theatre methods anddeveloping a communication package with messages on issues such as mother and child health and immunization, sanitation and child marriage. The ZKSS troupes performed widely in Puri during Nabakalebara in 2015, thus effectively reaching lakhs of pilgrims.