Training a thousand health workers in India in 6 weeks

The Objective

Deliver remote training to frontline health workers in India on topics such as family planning to fill vital knowledge gaps.

The Outcome

Project Samvad trained over a thousand health workers in less than six weeks by distributing digital courses through WhatsApp groups of frontline workers.

Digital Green is a global development organisation that is harnessing the power of technology and grassroots-level partnerships to empower rural farming communities to lift themselves out of poverty. This case study highlights the results of the digital training created by Digital Green's Project Samvad using If you're interested to learn more about Digital Green's on-the-ground experience training frontline workers with then check out our Q&A with Farhad Ali, Project Director at Digital Green.

Background to the project

The team at Digital Green's Project Samvad are on a mission to improve health and nutritional outcomes for mothers and children across 6 Indian states. Funded by USAID, Project Samvad works by conducting detailed research into the communication-related gaps and myths and misconceptions related to health and nutrition. They then use this research to create community videos which directly address these knowledge-gaps. Over 1.9 million people across six states have so far been reached through these community videos, covering topics such as family planning and maternal and child nutrition.

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Project Samvad has been able to reach such scale by partnering with government frontline health workers who screen the videos using pico-projectors. Part of Project Samvad's remit is to train the frontline health workers so that they can also directly support mothers in their local communities. Typically this would be done through hands-on, face-to-face training but, spurred by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Project Samvad realised that there was a real opportunity to see how digital tools could be used to train the frontline workers remotely.

We quickly realised, particularly because of the COVID situation, that it would be really helpful for us to use some of the virtual means of doing this skill building and skill training for the frontline workers

Creating the digital training

Project Samvad's Director, Farhad Ali, realised that was a great tool for creating "micro-modules" i.e. short digital trainings that cover a specific topic. As does not require an app download or lots of training to use it, the Project Samvad team could quickly create these "micro-modules" and send the links to frontline workers via WhatsApp. The courses were written in Hindi, Odiya and Assamese using's drag and drop Course Builder tool. (You can learn more about Farhad's experience creating courses with in our Q&A with Farhad Ali)

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Sharing the training and encouraging completion

The Project Samvad team used a number of innovative techniques to quickly get the training out to large numbers of frontline workers and encourage them to register and complete the courses. Firstly, the team created WhatsApp groups and invited the frontline health workers as members. Within those WhatsApp groups the team shared video tutorials which explained the process of signing up for and starting a digital course. The video tutorials used screen recordings to show exactly what buttons to press with a voiceover clearly explaining the process.

If they find challenges in the beginning of the course they will simply drop out. They'll think 'it's not working for me'. So it's really important that people can register effectively and quickly and get onto the course. Video tutorials, I think, are pretty helpful for this.

The Project Samvad team also recorded voice notes from the frontline workers' supervisors explaining why the training was important and encouraging them to sign up. These voice notes were shared in the WhatsApp groups as further explanation and encouragement to try out the new training tool. Once the participants had completed the courses, they were also encouraged to share their certificates in the WhatsApp group which helped the spur on those who were yet to complete the courses.

Early stage results

The techniques were extremely successful and in less than six weeks the Project Samvad team had on-boarded over a thousand frontline workers to the digital training tool, with 84% having completed the training.


frontline workers trained


completed the training


percentage point improvement between baseline and endline tests


states in India covered

We have proved we can get 84 out of 100 of our frontline workers completing the course. That's huge I would say

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Read more

The Project Samvad team is in the process of writing a full report on the project, including a detailed analysis of the feedback from the frontline workers. Another Digital Green team are also kicking off a digital training project using in the agri sector so watch this space!

In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about the lessons learned by the Project Samvad team (and get some helpful tips and tricks for making the most of!) then why not check out our Q&A with Farhad Ali, Samvad's Project Director.


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