Who is Meena?
Meena is an animation girl character from South Asia. She is a spirited, nine-year-old girl who braves the world – whether in her efforts to go to school or in fighting the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in her village.In Bhutan, UNICEF in collaboration with the Bhutan Post designed and printed 10,000 sheets of Meena postage stamps and 5,000 Meena posters. The Meena postage stamps and posters contain the key message, “Educate Every Girl and Boy”.
Meena is widely recognised and appreciated in most South Asian countries, and is a successful advocacy and teaching tool for girls’ and children’s rights. The Meena figure has achieved remarkable popularity as she tackles the key issues affecting children, and the threats to the rights of millions of girls in South Asia.UNICEF developed the Meena Communication Initiative (MCI) as a mass communication project aimed at changing perceptions and behaviour that hamper the survival, protection and development of girls in South Asia.
Following eight years of extensive research in the region since the initial conceptualization, UNICEF launched the Meena Communication Initiative in September 1998. The name Meena is one that spans the different cultures in the region, and a cast of carefully researched characters has been created for Meena\’s family and community. The Meena stories are entertaining and fun, but also reflect the realities of girls\’ lives in South Asia.
Meena is used as a tool to impart important messages on gender, child rights, education, protection and development. The Meena stories present many positive images of a girl succeeding against odds to gain equal treatment, love, care and respect. Creative and exciting story lines have promoted social issues in an appealing and provocative way.
By the end of 2005, 33 stories had been produced by UNICEF’s Regional Office for South Asia. The core materials are in five languages – English, Bangla, Hindi, Nepali and Urdu. These have been translated or dubbed into many other South Asian languages as well as European languages.