Voice and Agency: Empowering Women and Girls for Shared Prosperity


Women and Land Rights in Burkina Faso

Author: Emma Orchardson, October 2 2015 - This month marks the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Conference on Women. While celebrating the achievements of the past two decades, it is equally important...

Assessing Participatory Development Communication as a Strategy for Agricultural Information Dissemination in Uganda

This study assessed Participatory Development Communication (PDC) effectiveness as a strategy for agricultural information dissemination (indicated in the dissertation as "AIDS", the acronym is used...

ICTs for Agricultural Development: Unlocking the Potential

Author: Lilian Kiefer, August 31 2015 - The advancement of digital technology and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) presents an untapped opportunity to propel Zambia towards...

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."

Resilience and Humanitarian Response: Helping People Deal with Risk, Respond to Change and Cope with Emergencies

"At BBC Media Action, the BBC’s international development charity, we believe that media and communication can help people become more resilient and recover more swiftly from disaster."

Influencing Social Transformation

Author Lilian Kiefer, May 27 2015 - In a society faced with high poverty levels, and limited participation of poor and marginalised people in productive activities, social challenges arise....

Tanzania: Times (and weather patterns) are changing

Author: Carly Griggs, May 19 2015 - A few months ago as I pulled into Songambele village in Dodoma region, Tanzania, a soft drizzle was setting in. I pulled my jumper on as I stepped out of the car...
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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


Reality television show Amrai Pari, broadcast in Bangladesh through BBC Media Action, reaches 15.8 million people with messaging on climate risk and resilience. This research was intended to measure "how target communities worked together to...

Broadcasting from February 2015 to October 2016, Elembo is a 156-part serial radio drama that uses entertainment education to address issues such as adolescent reproductive health, child and maternal health, refugees, and deforestation in the...

Author: Mae Londono Rubio, April 20 2015 - [Google translation of the Spanish below] Amid the imposing central mountain range, specifically in the town of Chinavita, Boyacá, [Colombia,] the peasant collective Native Seed Corn held the First...

Applications are invited for the New Directions for Climate Communication Research Fellowship, which seeks to encourage researchers with an interest in communication and media around climate change to think creatively about new directions for...

"Communication for development, community media and information and communication technologies (ICTs) can help family farmers to acquire and exchange knowledge and information, strengthen rural institutions and give voice to their concerns,...

This project "has created a radio-based knowledge exchange platform with radio programming that will ultimately help strengthen the science-policy–practice dialogue involving several stakeholders, among which are local communities."...

This toolbox contains a range of gender-sensitive and socially inclusive participatory action research tools which are designed to support data gathering that will help integrate gender and social perspectives in climate research and programme...

This 83-page report discusses a study to assess the impact of the Shamba Shape Up (SSU) television edutainment programme on small-scale agriculture in Kenya and to research how the programme influences farmers' activities. Led by the University...

Gillies Kasongo

Author: Gillies C Kasongo, February 18, submitted for World Radio Day, February 13 2015 - Panos Institute Southern Africa (PSAf) commends local radio stations that are transforming themselves into platforms that enable local communities with...

How about using Indian Railways to promote Swachh Bharat!

Author: Anand Shekar, February 11 2015 - Mahatma Gandhi had a long relationship with the railways. The railways were instrumental in the conversion of the...

This invitation calls for submissions of "examples of good practice and that meet the Hyogo Framework Priority Action 3: 'Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels'" for the Third United...

"The goal of this article is to put forth the most critical considerations regarding cookstove adoption that were identified at a meeting of the Working Group to Address Increasing Adoption of Improved Cookstoves. The meeting was hosted by the...

Author: Sunit Bagree, Partnership for Child Development at Imperial College London, September 3 2014 - An innovative approach helps smallholder farmers and supports children’s education at the same time.

What does...

"Today more than ever smallholders and rural communities require access to information and communication to make their voices heard and change their lives for the better. Communication for Development [ComDev] facilitates dialogue and...

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Farmer Radio in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Snapshot Final Report of the African Rural Radio Program Analysis (ARRPA) Project

Publication Date
April 1, 2014

This report discusses the findings of the African Rural Radio Program Analysis (ARRPA) project, a study launched in 2011 by Farm Radio International (FRI) to deepen understanding of farmer radio programming in sub-Saharan Africa and help inform the work of FRI and other organisations working with farmers. The report discusses "the circumstances in which farmer radio programming operates, the strengths of radio stations and the challenges they face in producing farmer programmes, and the desires and preferences of farmer-listeners..."

Contact Information: 

Farm Radio International website on December 12 2014.

Stop Violence Against Girls in School: A Cross-Country Analysis of Change in Ghana, Kenya and Mozambique

Jenny Parkes
Jo Heslop
Publication Date
October 1, 2013

Institute of Education, University of London

This 84-page report discusses the experience and impact of the 5-year Stop Violence Against Girls in School project, which was led by ActionAid in Ghana, Kenya, and Mozambique to empower girls and enable them to enjoy their rights to education and participation in a violence-free environment. The report presents a review of findings from endline studies to assess change and consider the implications for future interventions concerned with gender violence in schools and communities.


ActionAid International website on September 25 2014.

GenARDIS 2002 - 2010: Small Grants that Made Big Changes for Women in Agriculture

Jennifer Radloff
Helen Hambly Odame
Sonia Jorge
Publication Date
September 1, 2010

Association for Progressive Communications (Radloff), University of Guelph (Hambly Odame)

This document discusses the work of the Gender, Agriculture and Rural Development in the Information Society (GenARDIS) small grants fund, which was initiated in 2002 to support work on gender-related issues in information and communications technologies (ICTs) for the African, Caribbean, and Pacific regions. The small grants fund was disbursed to diverse projects in order to counter barriers to women living in rural areas. This document records the process and results, and is intended to contribute to more gender-aware ICT policy advocacy.


Association for Progressive Communications (APC) website, February 16 2011 and March 30 2012.


Understanding Community-Based Information Systems in the Millennium Villages

Publication Date
December 1, 2009

This website from newmediadev2009 was a project of a 2009 research seminar developed and taught by Professor Anne Nelson at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in New York, the United States (US).

Contact Information: 

Email from Anne Nelson to The Communication Initiative on January 11 2010.


The View from Above

Pierre Sibiry Traoré
Publication Date
February 1, 2010

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

From the "Farm Services" Issue 53 of ICT Update, this article discusses how very high resolution imagery (VHRI) made by sensors on satellites gives West African farmers data on soil fertility and land


ICT Update Issue 53, February 2010. Source image: ICRISAT


CEPEHRG and Maritime, Ghana: Engaging New Partners and New Technologies to Prevent HIV among Men Who Have Sex with Men

James Robertson

John Snow, Inc. (JSI)

This 18-page case study provides an instructive example of how to manage some of the challenges of implementing HIV programming for men who have sex with men (MSM) in a socially hostile and politicall


Posting from John Nicholson to the CORE Group Child Survival (CS) Community listserv, February 2 2010.

Image credit: James Robertson/JSI


CEPEHRG and Maritime, Ghana: Engaging New Partners and New Technologies to Prevent HIV among Men Who Have Sex with Men

With the support of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), two of Ghana's community-based organisations (CBOs) are using behaviour change communication (BCC) strategies for the purpo

Communication Strategies: 

Specific elements of the project included:

  • Prevention outreach: Building on its research findings on MSM in Ghana, and in consultation with USAID and its government and non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners, SHARP worked with the Ghana Sustainable Change Project (GSCP) - another USAID-funded project implemented by AED - to develop a basic package of BCC tools and interventions for MSM, including a participatory training curriculum for peer educators. The package contained BCC materials that could be distributed to participants in prevention outreach sessions. The materials included pocket-sized brochures listing MSM-friendly clinics and drop-in centres or illustrating HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention behaviours. One of the brochures is purposefully graphic in its visual representation of behaviours that can reduce transmission risk of HIV and other STIs (see image above). The direct nature of these materials was designed to reinforce the lessons taught during peer outreach.

    Peer educator-led outreach sessions for MSM promoted risk reduction behaviours, offered referrals to testing and clinical services, sold condoms and lubricant, and provided counselling by trained health care workers.

    The programme also worked with its implementing partners on outreach events that included large community parties and small gatherings at private homes and at hot spots such as bars and clubs that attract MSM clientele. Integrating HIV prevention messages into social activities, these events were designed to raise awareness, within a broader peer group, of the value of open communication in MSM relationships and the importance of condom use and other prevention behaviours, such as partner reduction.

HIV and STI services: Clinical services for MSM were also supported at government-run clinics as well as at the four drop-in centres run by SHARP's NGO partners. Services included STI diagnosis and treatment, HIV counselling and testing, post-test counselling and support, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and referrals to other services if necessary.

Health care worker training: SHARP developed a most-at-risk-population (MARP)-friendly curriculum and trained providers to increase their understanding of MARP-related health issues and expand their capacity to provide responsive care in a supportive and non-stigmatising environment.

Support groups: SHARP encouraged CEPEHRG and Maritime to set up support groups for MSM living with HIV.

"Text Me! flash Me!" Helpline: In Ghana, if people have charged phones and a minimal amount of call credit, they can receive calls and "flash" others (call and hang up before the recipient of the call picks up). This costs nothing and signals that the caller at the number shown on the phone's screen wants to be contacted. Branded as part of the "It's My Turn" campaign, the Helpline was staffed by employees of implementing partners and by HIV counsellors from government clinics. To prepare them for this new role, SHARP worked with a number of stakeholders to develop a training curriculum and provided ongoing support to the counsellors. The Helpline was designed to function during a set period of time each day, and callers would "flash" the counsellor on call, who could then phone back directly to answer questions, provide support, or share information about where to find services. Users were also able to send text inquiries that generated automated text responses on a variety of basic topics relevant to MSM health and well-being. In turn, the callers' cell numbers were recorded, with care taken to maintain confidentiality and protect their identities. Subsequently, these contacts were sent regular text message reminders about condom use, the need for testing, and the availability of the Helpline to answer questions or provide directions to clinics.
Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

MSM are, on average, over nine times more vulnerable to infection than the general population. And yet, according to James Robertson, author of the case study "CEPEHRG and Maritime, Ghana: Engaging New Partners and New Technologies to Prevent HIV among Men Who Have Sex with Men", MSM have been neglected in HIV programming in sub-Saharan Africa - frequently ignored in national strategies and hidden in the face of intolerance, stigmatisation, and punitive laws. The media and most prevention programming in the region consistently describe HIV vulnerability in terms of heterosexual risk, and many African MSM do not realise that they too are vulnerable. (Robertson points out that, in discussions with MSM in Ghana, many said that before they received MSM-specific education, they had thought condom use was only necessary during vaginal sex.)

That said, Ghana, which, like its neighbouring states, condemns homosexuality, is distinguished from most countries in sub-Saharan Africa by the level of activity addressing HIV among MSM. Although the Ghanaian government has not publicly embraced these efforts, officials have also not prevented the development of these interventions, despite the legal prohibition of homosexual behaviour.

Partner Text: 



CEPEHRG and Maritime, Ghana: Engaging New Partners and New Technologies to Prevent HIV among Men Who Have Sex with Men, by James Robertson, January 2010.

Image courtesy of AED/SHARP and AED/Ghana Sustainable Change Project (GSCP)

Freedom of Information (FOI) and Women’s Rights in Africa - A Collection of Case Studies from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa and Zambia

Carlyn Hambuba
Rachel Kagoiya
Publication Date
Publication Date: 
December 1, 2009

Published by the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), this resource book is a collection of case studies from Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia. It was produced as part of the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Women’s Rights in Africa Project, a collaboration between FEMNET and the United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organisation (UNESCO), which works to strengthen women’s participation in the processes of formulating, enacting, and implementing the of the Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation in Africa.

Free to download


Number of Pages: 



UNESCO website on January 20 2010.

Radio Ada

Broadcasting since 1999, Radio Ada is a community radio station that works to enable marginalised communities and groups in Ghana to: generate and share their knowledge and experience; participate in

Communication Strategies: 

Radio Ada is located in Ada in the Dangme East District, southeastern Ghana and broadcasts to four Dangme-speaking districts which cover a population of approximately 600,000 people of whom 60% are non-literate. The radio staff is comprised of approximately 50 full-time and part-time volunteers, all of whom come from the four Dangme districts.

According to Radio Ada, their approach to broadcasting is participatory and grounded in the needs and identities of the Dangme-speaking audience. The station's programmes are developed and produced with the active participation of people in the respective communities. Radio Ada also uses a broadcasting technique called "narrowcasting" to reach the different occupation-based groups within the four Dangme Districts. The occupation-based groups are comprised of farmers, fishermen, fishmongers who are exclusively women, breadmakers, taxi drivers, and tailors. Each week, a 30-minute radio programme is recorded with the specific occupation-based group and then re-broadcast later in the week. These groups determine the content of their own programmes and act as co-producers. For example, Radio Ada has created opportunities for voice and dialogue amongst fishermen and women fishmongers. The fishmonger programme producer would visit a different fishing community each week, gather together the fishmongers from that community to ask them questions about their fish smoking work, and facilitate a discussion on issues of importance to them. A 30-minute version of the discussion is later broadcast on Radio Ada. The fishmongers are therefore communicating with the men in their community, and men from all communities are listening to the women over the airwaves.

In a bid to involve and ensure a community voice in its operations, Radio Ada has trained about 500 people in various broadcast skills, which include programme recording, producing and delivering the news, marketing, music programming, and programming on conflict prevention.

As part of its programming, Radio Ada also tackled the poor treatment of physically challenged people through the "Advocacy through Radio" project. This was an initiative financed by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), which, according to organisers, contributed significantly to changing attitudes towards the disabled in the communities.

The station also plays a role in conflict resolution in the community. The station gives the community the space and opportunity to talk about burning issues that create conflict and to resolve their problems peacefully. For example, Radio Ada has resolved conflicts over cultural issues between churches and traditional worshippers in the district.

Development Issues: 

Economic Development, Natural Resource Management, Conflict Resolution.

Key Points: 

According to Radio Ada, community radio can play an important role in poverty reduction. Access to voice, information, and knowledge is vital in facilitating poverty reduction and sustainable human development, as voicelessness is a key dimension of poverty and exclusion. For many, Radio Ada is the only source of information; they have no television and more than 50% of the 600,000 in the station's broadcast range are illiterate. Community radio is also being used in the effort to create national functional literacy.

Research suggests that through Radio Ada's advice programmes, husbands and wives in Anyakpor are learning how to communicate and respect each other, which is helping to reduce household quarrelling and abuse. For example, men are learning to share money with their wives and learning how to explain to their wives that they have no money to share with them. They are realising that they should discuss problems with their wives rather than becoming angry and resorting to abuse. Women are learning how to respect their husbands, but also how to offer critical advice or approach them for help.

Contact Information: 
See video

Kit website, All Africa website, and UNESCO website - all accessed on November 20 2009; and "Community Radio in Ghana: The Power of Engagement", by George White - accessed on July 26 2010.

Africa Talks Climate (ATC): Briefs on Climate Change in Africa

Miriam Burton
Anna Godfrey
Publication Date
September 1, 2009

BBC World Service Trust

"Our climate is changing - the way we talk about it needs to change too."


Contact Information: 

Email from Emily LeRoux-Rutledge, Anna Godfrey, and Grace Davies to The Communication Initiative on October 1 2009, October 29 2009, and October 30 2009, respectively.

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