Durex The Birds and Bees Talk (TBBT) programme by Reckitt, a global leader in consumer health, hygiene, and nutrition, assumed the role of Health Partner at the third edition of the Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival 2023. Durex TBBT is being implemented by Plan India in six states of the Northeast, Delhi, and Gujarat. Organized by Department of Tourism, Meghalaya, the annual festival is a cultural and musical extravaganza catering to popular culture inspired by local and indigenous trends and is a major attraction for Northeast India. A celebration of culture, art, and music, the festival saw a blend of international, national and local musicians who enthralled the audience with their performances.
At the Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival 2023, the TBBT display corner engaged children in the interactive Run to Learn game, a virtual reality adventure based on the program’s five principles. Meghalaya-based rapper A. Hosea offered an exclusive glimpse into the forthcoming Durex TBBT rap album, presenting a song influenced by the core principles of Inclusion, Protection, Awareness, Equity, and Consent. Additionally, the TBBT Conscious Corner served as an inclusive and safe space for adolescents navigating the challenges of growing up, reinforcing the program’s commitment to holistic education and well-being.
Gaurav Jain, Executive Vice President, Reckitt – South Asia, underscores the significance of ‘Durex The Birds and Bees Talk’ initiative, stating, “Durex The Birds and Bees Talk initiative has been conceptualized to respond to our evolving world and aims to shape newer generations. Recognizing the profound impact of music, a potent tool that creates a long-lasting impact and high recall, we successfully launched India’s first music album on growing up composed by artists of North East. Building on this triumph, we have once again collaborated with some vibrant young musicians in Northeast India to extend the message of health and wellbeing to the children and youth attending the Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival this year, incorporating key lessons for a healthier and happier future.”
Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs & Partnerships, SOA, Reckitt, said, “Music has played an instrumental role in our journey with Durex The Birds and Bees Talk programme that works towards shaping young minds by providing a platform for open conversations and what growing up means in today’s evolving world. We are honored by our role as Health Partners at the Shillong Cherry Blossom Festival 2023, a musical extravaganza that has evolved into the state’s most beloved festival, providing the largest artist lineup and setup the state has ever witnessed. We’ve taken this opportunity to collaborate with popular rap artists to launch songs that are inspired by the five pillars of ‘Durex The Birds and Bees Talk’ program: Consent, Protection, Awareness, Equity, and Inclusion. We will continue to inspire youth in their transformation journey to become informed, empathetic and confident adults that will lead our future.”
The TBBT Conscious Corner, an inclusive and safe place for everyone inaugurated by Shri Arpit Upadhyaya, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, Ri Bhoi District, became a source of information and support for adolescents navigating the journey of growing up.
District Commissioner, Ribhoi, Meghalaya said, “Music, art and culture are important and the most effective medium to connect with children, young adults and youth. With ‘The Birds and Bees Talk’ partnership in the Shillong Cherry Blossom festival, we intend to utilise rich cultural heritage of North East India and promote local artists to spread correct messages on growing up.”
The Shillong Literary Festival witnessed a thought-provoking panel discussion on Navigating Difficult Topics with our Children with Shannon Massar, Co-founder and Director, Faith Foundation; Zubin Miller, Content Associate, Pratham Foundation, and Bulbul Hasan. Contributing to the discussion, Trishita Sut, National Project Manager, TBBT shared important insights with the audience.
TBBT aims to nurture young minds to cultivate themselves into self-aware, inclusive, empathetic, and kind human beings. Furthermore, TBBT curriculum books and other reading materials were also showcased at the TBBT display corner for children across all age groups. The comprehensive curriculum is developed to inform students about the nuances of sexuality, life skills, sexual preferences and safer practices in order to leave no room for misinformation or doubt.
Durex The Birds and Bees Talk Programme is an innovative and pioneering initiative that has focused on inculcating growing up life skills for adolescents in the north-eastern region of India. Through its systematic intervention, the programme is encouraging conversations around sexual and reproductive health among adolescents, teachers, and their community members. Adolescent girls and boys in the country lack access to information on issues affecting their lives and have limited spaces to develop competencies crucial for their active participation. TBBT programme is addressing these challenges by imparting critical and age-appropriate information, promoting healthy and safe behaviour and practices, as well as equipping adolescents with life skills, values and attitudes to become responsible adults.