02 December 2011
Radio Netherlands Worldwide has launched web and mobile sites that offer reliable information about sexual health and relationships, says Debarati Palit
Radio Netherlands Worldwide (RNW), the Dutch international public broadcaster,
recently announced the launch of Lovematters.info and Lovematters.in, exclusive web and mobile sites that offer reliable information about sexual health and relationships. Amitabh Srivastava, country manager — South Asia at Radio Netherlands Worldwide, speaks about the venture. Excerpts:
For over 100 years, the Netherlands has been a leader in the field of sexual health education. The Dutch have a very frank and non-judgmental approach to talking about sexual health issues. As a result, the Netherlands has some of the lowest global rates of unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortions and sexually-transmitted diseases. We thought we could take this approach and export it to other parts of the world. We use a casual engaging tone and talk about health, but we also talk about pleasure — because that's mainly why people choose to have sex. And if you talk to them about pleasure, they understand why they have to stay safe and healthy.Do you believe that Indians still shy away from sexual issues and problems?
I think that many Indians find it difficult to talk about sexual health issues — but that doesn't mean that they don't have a lot of questions. We recently did a survey in Delhi and Mumbai with 300 18 to 25–year–olds. They clearly indicated they want more info on a whole range of subjects, and they feel comfortable accessing this info anonymously from a credible source on computers and on their mobile phones. With such a large base, we have also decided to adapt Love matters in Hindi and it's our testimony of thinking globally and acting locally.Which are the areas that you are going to focus on more?
That depends on the region we are working in. We can see that Indian visitors are very interested to know about how to maintain relationships over the long term. They are also looking for info on ways to boost pleasure for both partners in sex, and a surprising number were seeking information on candida or yeast infections. We also report on street harassment and 'eve–teasing'.How did you plan to start off the mobile version?
The mobile version has been launched in English and Hindi. It's the perfect device to look at this information because it's so private. We can already see that mobile visitors spend a longer time browsing the site than people on PCs.How relevant will the topics be to Indians considering that you will have Dutch experts?
Our approach is Dutch, not our experts. Long before we launch a site, we seek out reputable local NGOs working on the issue. Indian NGOs are doing superb work in this area, so we ask for their advice on how best to translate and adapt the content for a region. Right now, we're working with the Family Planning Association of India. With their help and organisations such as Tarshi, we are able to understand what issues are important to people, how best to present them, and where the limits of sensitivity lie.