mCenas! SMS Client Education among Youth

"mCenas! engaged young people aged 15-24 with an SMS-based role model story, in which characters were shown overcoming common barriers to contraceptive use faced by youth."  

Our Valuable Voices: Community Digital Storytelling for Good Programming and Policy Engagement

"CARE believes that a vibrant, diverse society becomes stronger when everyone can equally contribute their voice to decisions that impact them."

Dhibcaha Nolosha (Drops for Life ): Can Radio Improve the Effectiveness of Polio Vaccination Campaigns?

"I wouldn't have allowed those vaccinators with the medical jackets who knock on my door, to enter my home, if it were not for the programme." - Father, Galkayo

Getting our mojo back with MOELJO

Author: Clare Lyons, July 22 2015 - One good thing that came from an unsuccessful grant application last year was the seed of an idea for what became our MOELJO course (mobile phone skills and...

Family Planning Law Campaign, Guatemala

"Indigenous Guatemalans have faced a multitude of barriers to access and use of family planning services....While the Guatemalan family planning law was a historic advancement towards empowering all...

Polio, Meet Mobile: Targeting the Final 1% of Global Polio Cases with RapidPro


Dream, Save, Do: Financial Empowerment for Families

"The ability to make careful choices, plan, and save is essential for positive health, education, and overall life outcomes. As with so many other critical life skills, establishing a foundation for...

Delivering digital stories in contexts with no grid power and Internet

Author: Ephraim Mhlanga, June 29 2015 - How do we deliver digital stories in contexts where there are power and connectivity issues?
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The Communication Initiative Network and Partnership convenes the communication and media for development, social and behavioural change community to share knowledge, connect, debate relevant issues, and critically review each other's work in order to advance effective development action across and between all development priorities. Contact Warren


"Our vision is for all African children to have enough stories in a language familiar to them to practise reading and learn to love reading."  South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE)

"We can no longer accept the use of cell lines that have not been authenticated as a normal part of the research process. Cell authentication is a key element towards improved research fidelity. We need everyone within the life sciences...

Author: Elizabeth Drachman, June 23 2015 - The “Customer Centric Design for Ag Programs” breakout session at this year’s ICTforAg conference sounded like a...

Author: Fennovia Matakala, June 19 2015 - A sea of serious faces looked to the front of the local council chambers. Shuffling in anticipation, the crowd exchanged excited whispers.

Looking like they were attending the start of a high-...

"...the widespread penetration and use of phones in Somalia meant that it was appropriate for reaching hard-to-reach communities and represented a relevant mechanism to deliver health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) information."...

This blog-style website brings together research, observation, and commentary from the Digital Media Partnership (DMP) that focuses on early learning and digital media, especially e-books. "This project is concerned with understanding the social...

This article from CHW (Community Health Worker) Central describes efforts to increase access to surgical care in Haiti and across the globe. As stated by the author, Dr. Alexi Matousek, two main crises affecting surgery are: "lack of access to...

"The CDAC (communicating with disaster affected communities) Network aims to ensure that communities affected by, and prone to, crisis are better able to withstand and recover from humanitarian emergencies, and are actively engaged in decisions...

An invitation from the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative:

"Join the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) on Tuesday, June 9 at 11am EDT for a webinar on innovative health communication apps and their uses. This...

Launched in 2013 by The Womanity Foundation with the vision of supporting innovative and effective solutions focused on violence against women, this annual award...

"IICD believes that equipping teachers with pedagogical tools and access to information can bring about large-scale social changes in entire educational systems. Many of the gaps in education in developing countries can be bridged with the...

"The need to communicate - and the idea that information is a form of assistance in its own right - is increasingly acknowledged as an urgent but under-supported aspect of disaster response."

In this article, Imogen Wall offers...


"Good knowledge is essential to prevent disease and improve health. Knowledge management (KM) provides a systematic process and tools to promote access to and use of knowledge among health and development practitioners to improve...

GeoChat is a collaboration tool that allows users to chat, report, and get alerts on their phone. "GeoChat is a[n] source group communications technology that lets team members interact to maintain shared geospatial awareness of who is...

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Executive Summary: Independent Evaluation of Major Barriers to Interrupting Poliovirus Transmission

Ali Jaffer Mohamed
Peter Ndumbe
Andrew Hall
Viroj Tangcharoensathien
Michael J. Toole
Peter Wright
Publication Date
October 20, 2009

This 16-page Executive Summary offers an overview of an independent, external evaluation of the Global Poliomyelitis Eradication Initiative (GPEI).

Contact Information: 

WHO Polio website, accessed December 16 2009. Image credit: WHO

The Station Television Series - Nigeria

The Station is a television drama series which was created and produced in 2006 by Common Ground Productions (CGP) in Lagos, Nigeria.

Communication Strategies: 

The storyline revolves around Action News, a fictional television news station. Through the eyes of the many people that work at the station - journalists, anchors, camera people, businesspeople - the viewer experiences the problems and conflicts that exist among Nigeria's ethnically diverse population. It also offers a glimpse into the world of television journalism. The Station is not designed to provide solutions to the problems Nigerians face in their daily lives, but, rather, raises questions, promotes peaceful alternatives, and provides positive role models for viewers.

Organisers say that The Station is one of the most ambitious productions ever undertaken in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of cast, crew, set design, and filming style. To fully capture the complexity, dynamism, and energy of television journalism, a dilapidated warehouse in Lagos was transformed into a production studio that includes a Cable News Network (CNN)-style newsroom as well as domestic and office interior sets.

Several principal characters were cast through The Academy, a documentary/reality television show created and produced in Nigeria by Common Ground Productions in association with Nestlé. The show was created to celebrate Nigeria's wealth of creative talent and offered a glimpse into the world of acting. The series featured 20 aspiring actors and actresses who put their performance skills to the test for the chance to win lead roles in The Station.

Development Issues: 

Conflict, Gender, HIV/AIDS.

Key Points: 

Common Ground Productions (CGP) is the media arm of Search for Common Ground. Using television, radio, and internet programming, CGP works to transform the way individuals and societies deal with conflict - away from adversarial approaches and toward cooperative solutions.

See video

Search for Common Ground website on November 11 2009.

Wetin Dey

Created by the BBC World Service Trust (WST), Wetin Dey ('What's Up?') is an HIV/AIDS television drama exploring social realities facing young people aged 15-24 in Nigeria.

Communication Strategies: 

Wetin Dey is a multi-strand, multi-character weekly television drama. Set in peri-urban Nigeria, the drama is designed to focus on lower socio-economic groups, with an emphasis on the daily lives of ordinary Nigerians. While each Wetin Dey episode is designed with a message brief in mind, the drama is not necessarily always directive in determining what meanings viewers should take away. It expects that messages retained by the audience will vary according to their social realities. For example, some characters in Wetin Dey are shown to abstain from sex, while others use condoms.

In recognition that audiences are heterogeneous, the characters speak to the diversity of the intended audience, which varies by age, gender, ethnic affiliation, religion, first language, education, and sexual activity. For instance, Yetunde is a character from a lower socio-economic class whose mother dies of HIV/AIDS. Because of this, she faces frequent discrimination, and struggles to find work and care for her younger sisters. Aisha is a rich girl whose father wants her to marry the son of a senator, yet she already has a boyfriend, named Hakim. Bilkisu is a female sex worker, who "sells fish" as a cover. Chike is a mechanic who falls for Bilkisu and wants to keep her from prostitution. Bayo is a 17-year-old aspiring football player who has run away from home. Chris is a policeman who is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. He is in a troubled marriage, and both he and his wife Stella are, at times, unfaithful to each other (Stella is having an affair with a married man - Aisha's father).

Formative research helped establish the general parameters and objectives of the campaign, providing insight into the knowledge, attitudes, behaviours, values, tastes, decision-making processes, information needs, and media consumption patterns and preferences of the intended audience. This formative research included a large qualitative study, which in turn informed a baseline quantitative study. In addition, prior to producing and launching the first series of Wetin Dey, the production team produced a pilot of the drama to be pre-tested with the intended audience and their parents in a qualitative study involving 20 focus group discussions across Nigeria. The purpose of this study was to guide the formation of dramatic concepts, and inform key production decisions. It helped to refine the drama in terms of tone, language, relevance, and appropriateness. The findings were also used by the writers in Nigeria to develop characters and plotlines. In fact, the majority of Wetin Dey episodes were pre-tested before they were broadcast. Pre-testing generally focused on the appeal of an episode, and provided a measure of audience reaction with respect to specific issues such as language, appropriateness, believability, and audience expectations. In addition, it attempted to identify which themes (from storylines or specific sub-plots) were clear to the audience, which themes are unclear, and whether the audience picked up any additional (unintended) themes.

The BBC WST trained a Nigerian team to produce Wetin Dey through workshops that focused on script-writing, editing, and production of reality TV programmes. Many of the international television/film makers and advertising directors who worked on the project are members of the African Diaspora. In addition to teaching technical production skills, training courses promoted increased and more accurate coverage of HIV and AIDS in all media, and aimed to counter the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV and AIDS. The series was shot entirely on location in Nigeria.

Development Issues: 

HIV/AIDS, Youth.

Key Points: 

National Population Commission figures (2002) indicate that approximately 25% of Nigeria's total population are 15-34 years old and nearly 51% are 14 years old or younger. Life expectancy is 46 years, and HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death is. In the 15-49 age group, the HIV/AIDS rate is more than 1 in 20 (World Health Organization (WHO), 2006). The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimated in 2006 that more than 2.5 million people in Nigeria over the age of 15 were living with HIV/AIDS.

Wetin Dey was created as part of a wider project - "Stop HIV" - funded between 2005 and early 2008 by the United Kingdom (UK) Department for International Development (DFID) to address HIV/AIDS and sexual and reproductive health among young Nigerians. The project, delivered in partnership with the Society for Family Health (SFH), was a mass media intervention that included a broad array of mutually reinforcing outputs on radio, television, and film - including Wetin Dey.


"Wetin Dey: Good Girls/Bad Girls in TV Drama in Nigeria", by Emily LeRoux-Rutledge, Linda Nwoke, Anna Godfrey, and Timothy Cooper, July 2009 - sent via email from Emily LeRoux-Rutledge to The Communication Initiative on October 1 2009; BBC WST website, accessed October 21 2009.

STOP HIV Campaign

In April 2005, the BBC World Service Trust (WST) began working in partnership with a range of Nigerian broadcasters and media professionals to raise awareness and change behaviour around HIV and AIDS

Communication Strategies: 

The project used various types of media to offer dialogue and advice to young people on how they can protect themselves against HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The BBC WST sees HIV and AIDS as part of the social dimension of young people's lives, and addresses the issue within its social context. This translates into discussion on-air on all things that matter to young people between 15 and 24, including the role of gatekeepers like parents and community leaders. The mass media output produced was designed to contribute to National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA)'s national strategy on behaviour change communication (BCC). The BBC WST sought to complement the objectives and approach of SFH and recognised the potential for mass media to deliver important information to different audiences using different outputs simultaneously. By appreciating that audiences can be at many different points of the decision-making continuum, the BBC WST sought to respond to the variety of information needs of a heterogeneous audience. Within each of the project's outputs, thinking was informed by a range of attitude change, persuasion, and media effects literature. In particular, the BBC WST's approach to using mass media explicitly recognises the importance of stimulating interpersonal communication (IPC) in behaviour change.

The STOP HIV approach was based on the principles of social marketing, where entertainment is used to promote acceptance and recall of messages on sexual health. The BBC WST produced:

  • Two radio discussion programmes - Flava and Ya Take Ne, weekly radio talk shows in Nigerian English/Pidgin and Hausa, respectively, explored issues around HIV and AIDS, sexual health, and gender. The programmes featured a mix of discussion, music, interviews, features, phone calls from listeners, and letters. Topics covered included: the stigma of being HIV-positive at work and at home, how to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child, HIV and marriage, family planning, women's rights, and HIV in schools. The programmes aimed to serve as an open forum for young people to talk about issues that concern them, including relationships, personal development, life-skills, youth culture, and sexual and reproductive health. Flava was broadcast in English by 50 radio stations, while Ya Take Ne was broadcast in the Hausa language by 35 stations.
  • Radio and television public service announcements (PSAs) - Hundreds of PSAs were produced in Nigeria's 4 most widely spoken languages (English, Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba). The spots ranged in length from 30 to 60 seconds and drew on a variety of formats, such as drama, personal testimony, comedy, music, and celebrity endorsements to carry HIV- and AIDS-related messages. The PSAs were played on most radio and TV stations across the country.
  • A television drama series - Wetin Dey ('What's Up?'), a 30-minute weekly TV drama series exploring the social realities facing young people in Nigeria. Fifty-two episodes were produced by a Nigerian team trained by the BBC WST, and broadcast at peak viewing times by the Nigerian Television Authority's network of television stations.
  • Films - Stop HIV worked in partnership with the Nigerian video film industry ("Nollywood") to incorporate HIV- and AIDS-related messages into the storylines of a number of films. The films were produced (on low budgets) by local directors and production teams with guidance from the BBC WST. The storylines and messages of the films relate to HIV and AIDS, but do not focus exclusively on these issues and are designed to appeal to large audiences. Messages include promoting condom use and discussing discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS. The BBC WST also took advantage of the fact that video films are well distributed across Nigeria, primarily through regional film "markets" and video clubs.

As part of STOP HIV, the BBC WST provided radio and television production training to broadcast partners. Radio workshops included training in talk show and radio spots production, and training in integrating audience feedback into programme production. Television and film training focused on script-writing, PSA production, editing, and production of reality TV programmes. In addition to teaching technical production skills, training courses promoted increased and more accurate coverage of HIV and AIDS in all media, and aimed to counter the stigma and discrimination faced by people living with HIV and AIDS.

Development Issues: 

HIV/AIDS, Youth.

Key Points: 

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS, 2006), one-quarter of all Africans live in Nigeria, the country with the third-highest number of HIV cases in the world (an estimated 2.9 million [1.7 million-4.2 million] people were living with the virus in 2005).

A baseline survey was carried out in 6 Nigerian states - Abuja, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Cross Rivers, and Enugu - at the beginning of the project to assess the media consumption habits of the intended audience. Midway through the project, a midline survey was carried out in the same 6 states to assess the impact that STOP HIV was having on audiences.

At the Asia Media Summit, "Stella", a STOP HIV PSA, won the World Award for best PSA on HIV and AIDS.

Partner Text: 

BBC WST and SFH, with DFID funding.

Contact Information: 

"Media and Behaviour Change: A Case Study of the BBC World Service Trust's 'Stop HIV' intervention in Nigeria - Midline Research Report", by Femi Akinlabi, Tim Cooper, Linda Nwoke, and Anna Godfrey - sent from Emily LeRoux-Rutledge to The Communication Initiative on October 1 2009; and BBC WST website, accessed October 21 2009.

Wetin Dey: Good Girls/Bad Girls in TV Drama in Nigeria

Emily LeRoux-Rutledge
Linda Nwoke
Anna Godfrey
Timothy Cooper
Publication Date
May 1, 2008

BBC World Service Trust

This paper details the work of the BBC World Service Trust (WST)'s drama for development work in Nigeria focusing on the HIV/AIDS television drama Wetin Dey.


Email from Emily LeRoux-Rutledge to The Communication Initiative on October 1 2009.

Tools, Principles or Policies?

Andy Hall
Rasheed Sulaiman
Tesfaye Beshah
Elias Madzudzo
Ranjitha Puskur
Publication Date
September 1, 2009

United Nations University (Hall); Centre for Research on Innovation and Science Policy (CRISP; Sulaiman); International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI; Beshah, Madzudzo, Puskur)

Source:, Issue 37, September 2009.

Women Building Peace and Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict-Affected Contexts: A Review of Community-Based Approaches

Annalise Moser
Publication Date
October 1, 2007


This United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) document focuses on specific thematic areas of good practice in the prevention of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and women's participation in peacebuilding. The study was developed as a background document to inform programming and advocacy within the context of UNIFEM programming, and builds on country-level visits conducted in early 2007. The programme is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).


The study looks at five areas of intervention:

Contact Information:

Engaging Development: Environment and Content of Radio Broadcasting in Nigeria

Dr. Ayobami Ojebode
Dr. Tunde Adegbola
Publication Date
December 1, 2007

According to this publication, Nigeria has developed a relatively huge radio broadcasting sector.

Effective Vaccine Uptake: Lessons Learned from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative

Bruce Aylward
Publication Date
June 15, 2009

World Health Organization (WHO)

Contact Information: 

Email from Judith Kaufmann to The Communication Initiative on July 24 2009; image credit: WHO.
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