Love Matters

Love Matters India (LMI) is a rights based, fact based, pleasure-positive, affordable digital and bilingual Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) information platform catered to the needs of young people in India. It provides open, honest, non-judgmental and science-based information on love, sex and relationships using innovate media formats.

LMI operates at the intersection between media and public health, specializing in media for social change. Harnessing the power of technology, popular culture, design thinking and storytelling, Love Matters seeks to bridge the gap between young people, SRHR organizations and experts and service providers.

Love Matters India (LMI) is the first ever Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and Rights digital initiative for young people in India with a pleasure positive approach. Using website, social media platforms, campaigns, podcasts, radio program, videos including animation and virtual reality, the aim is to give complete and unbiased information on love, sex and relationships to young people. The platform is bilingual available in Hindi and English. Love Matters acts as a communication bridge between sex educators, sexual reproductive health services and young people. Both the websites are publically available and are free of cost.

Love Matters believes that gender-sensitive approaches are necessary to recognize and respond to different needs and constraints of individuals based on their gender and sexuality. Through the content we produce, Love Matters focuses on providing gender-sensitive information on SRH issues, to challenge stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity, help modify gender and power relations in the society, and encourage healthy sexuality. The goal of this work is to encourage equal sexual rights and protections for everyone including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Analysing user comments/ questions etc. and sentiment analysis gives us interesting insights into what young people are thinking, how they interact with the content and how it reflects in their knowledge, attitude, intent to change behavior and behavior change in the long run.

The LMI platform is targeted specifically towards young people in the age group 18 to 30 years old. Mobile and internet penetration is increasing every single day in India, and young people are most likely to have access to the Internet on their mobile, offering us the unprecedented opportunity to deliver SRH information to them. These two factors allow us to reach people who have been neglected by traditional sex education programmes and family planning services. Love Matters is a responsive website that is easily accessible on any kind of high-end or low-end mobile phone. Currently, about 80% of our traffic on the website comes via mobiles phones. Most of our traffic comes from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of Indi and UP, Bihar, Rajasthan, Delhi, Maharashtra are top 5 states. Mobile phones offer something traditional family planning clinics cannot: access to sensitive information anonymously, privately, and at any time. By targeting mobile phones, we are bypassing traditional gatekeepers to provide information we know people are looking for.

The impact of project LMI can also be assessed from the diverse range of questions (examples - safe sex to birth control / contraception, masturbation, condom use, penis shape and size, virginity and hymen, sex after pregnancy, forceful sex, attraction, heartbreak, abortion, intimate partner violence, confused about sexuality, abuse etc.) we receive from young people. On an average, we receive about 150 to 200 questions from our audience every single day on the platform. We are currently working on designing specific programs including research for adolescents. We combine our online program with offline trainings with peer educators in Bihar in the age group of 16 to 20 years old. We strive to create targeted and age appropriate content for young people using human centered design approach.

Love Matters India launched India's first Virtual Reality film for social impact in SRHR space called #KyaYahiPyaarHai to break the taboos on controlling relationships among young unmarried couples of all genders in India. The film used interactive technology to narrate a powerful story and connect with young people. The film was screened free of cost across metro stations of Delhi for 10 days in a row. The film distribution across metro stations was designed by Love Matters India to generate awareness against controlling relationships that are seen and understood by the young people as caring ones, reiterated by the popular culture.

Intimate Partner Violence or IPV is a type of violence that occurs specifically in unmarried couples in India, mostly directed against women. Social norms are identified as the dominant drivers for IPV in India. However, there is a high level of reluctance from both men and women victims to seek external assistance in dealing with IPV. The campaign’s strategy will contribute towards Love Matters’ impact of ‘Young people claim their right to a respectful, loving, healthy and satisfying relationships’.

Love Matters India conceptualized and designed #NotMusicToMyEars campaign in 2017. The campaign aimed at deciphering the actual meaning behind these lyrics and the imbalance that trails behind, by sharing a few creatives by translating these messages into English and putting these sleazy meanings on our screens. The messaging focused on how Bollywood often normalizes violence in relationships as something okay and normal and hence perpetuating stereotypes. It won the Award at the Cannes Film festival in the 'Mobile innovation' category in year 2017.

Love Matters India has created powerful, creative and engaging animation to connect with young people on key and sensitive SRHR issues. The idea is to be able to use infotainment to get rights based and fact based fun and engaging information to young people and helps them make informed choices.

Love Matters India runs a 'Baat karne se hi baat banti hai' program in Bihar. The program is a specially designed toolkit for young peer educators in Patna, Bettiah, Champaran and Khagaria districts. The toolkit has radio and video episodes and written articles in Hindi. The characters of Jugal bhaiya, Rekha didi, Kiran didi and Puru bhaiya were created using a human centered design approach and user journeys together with the target audience.

LMI in Bihar – Glimpses