Essential Resources - Polio Communication

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January 17, 2018

Occurrence of Home-Based Record Stock-Outs: A Quiet Problem for National Immunization Programmes Continues

"HBR stock-outs...may impact continuity-of-care, increase inefficiencies at the point-of-care and reduce the ability of caregivers to be effective health advocates."

January 12, 2018

Key Messages: Getting the Most out of Polio Eradication

"It is ultimately the political dimension and the strength of political linkages made that will determine the fate of this global health initiative." The Global Health Centre (GHC) at the Graduate...

January 5, 2018

The Evolution of Vaccination Week in the Americas

"As a social mobilization campaign, relevant themes and the use of diverse media have allowed PAHO, its partners, and Member States to give visibility to the importance of immunization and...

January 5, 2018

The Evolution of Vaccination Week in the Americas

"As a social mobilization campaign, relevant themes and the use of diverse media have allowed PAHO, its partners, and Member States to give visibility to the importance of immunization and...

January 2, 2018

Lessons Learned on IPV Introduction and the Switch from tOPV to bOPV in the Americas

"One measure we used to know whether the communication was working was to see the tone of the messages in the media, and we saw mostly positive or neutral messages, which was a good indication that...

December 19, 2017

Technical Advisory Group on Polio Eradication for the Horn of Africa Countries: 16th Meeting Report

"The TAG congratulates the HOA countries for implementing most of the recommendations from the 15th HOA TAG and for progress in building strong C4D [communication for development] networks in many...

December 18, 2017

Communication is key to quashing suspicion around vaccination drives

Author: Wilmot James, December 14 2017 - Cynthia Gorney wrote in National Geographic in November about the phenomenon of "vaccine hesitancy". She cites the example of Pakistan, where polio...

December 8, 2017

Every Last Hiding Place: Fifteenth Report of the Independent Monitoring Board of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative

"A major risk for the eradication is complacency, something for which there is no metric that can be monitored....That is one of the biggest challenges for the Polio Programme and can only be...

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Climate change communication – time for the stage?

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In a recent issue of Mother Jones an American professor was quoted as saying that getting behaviour change from climate change communication is close to impossible: no matter how much you do personall

Setting Our Agenda on Early Learning, Violence and Physical Environment: Care for Child Development

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Meena Cabral de Mello
Publication Date
August 1, 2010

This article by the World Health Organization (WHO)/United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) discusses what the two organisations have learned over the last 10 years about how scalable health servi


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Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change

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Hannah Reid, ed.
Mozaharul Alam, ed.
Rachel Berger, ed.
Terry Cannon, ed.
Angela Milligan, ed.
Publication Date
December 1, 2009

International Institute for Environment and Development (Reid, Cannon, Milligan), United Nations Environment Programme (Alam), Practical Action (Berger)

This special issue in English and Arabic of Participatory Learning and Action focuses on recent approaches to climate change adaptation which are both participatory and community-based adapt

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Kivulini Women's Rights Organisation

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Kivulini was established in 1999 by six women who felt compelled to respond to the needs of women experiencing domestic violence in the city of Mwanza in Tanzania. The organisation seeks to address the root causes of domestic violence by working closely with community members and leaders to change attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence against women. In Swahili, Kivulini means "in the shade/shelter" and is intended to imply a safe place where women, men, and children feel supported.

Communication Strategies: 

Kivulini seeks to focus on prevention rather than on service provision. This includes raising awareness both on the causes and consequences of domestic violence and working to address violence before it happens by changing the attitudes and behaviours that perpetuate violence against women. Kivulini does not highlight women for special attention; rather, they consider domestic violence to be a community problem. Thus, the approach is designed to bring communities together and emphasising the benefits of preventing domestic violence rather than focussing on blame.

Kivulini works to mobilise communities to prevent violence against women and girls and change social norms and behaviours that promote gender violence. The organisation has extensive roots within the community in Mwanza including a network of over 20 community-based groups and about 200 community volunteers who conduct community awareness and education sessions on domestic violence. Community volunteers engage their constituents to challenge traditional norms and customs that encourage gender-based violence. They also support and counsel victims of violence, referring them to human rights organisations, hospitals, courts, and ward tribunals.

A community assessment was done at the outset of Kivulini's work. The participatory action research involved over 400 community members and leaders of all ages to learn more about perceptions about domestic violence, its causes, consequences, and occurrences. The information and perspectives learned through the research informed the development and emphasis of all Kivulini programmes. The organisation has several key strategic programme areas:

  • Advocacy - At the grassroots, advocacy is done within the existing community infrastructure to advocate for change on structures, protocols, and policies that are detrimental to women and impede their access to rights. This includes work with local government, street leaders, and Sungu Sungu (informal community policing), who are often the first level of response to women experiencing violence.
  • Networking - Kivulini collaborates with other organisations to support national campaigns that lobby for positive change on issues related to women's rights and violence against women. Participating in local network meetings on gender, women, health, and children is a way to share information, build coalitions, and increase support on issues of interest.
  • Community Awareness - Through community awareness activities Kivulini works to inspire and organise communities to take action to prevent violence against women. This programme is designed to change attitudes and behaviours in the community to create an environment that is supportive of women's rights, particularly women's right to live free of violence. Participatory activities in this programme include: two-hour educational sessions on women's rights, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, environmental health, life skills, gender, human rights, etc.; educational video shows; community dialogues; theatre performances; songs and traditional Ngoma performances; and festivals.
  • Capacity Building - This programme works to build capacity of community members, partners, and staff. It includes a series of training of trainers workshops, seminars, and on-site work visits with Ward Executive Officers, the Sungu Sungu, and religious leaders.
  • Media/Learning Materials - through print and electronic media, the organisation works to promote discussion and public debate about domestic violence, human rights, health, HIV/AIDS, and other relevant issues. This department also engages journalists and the media in an analysis of how women are portrayed in the media. A media checklist has been developed for various journalists in the Mwanza region to help analyse stories they write about violence against women. In addition, large scale colourful murals depicting issues of family harmony are positioned in strategic areas around Mwanza city viewed by people on a daily basis to stimulate and engage community members in dialogue to help redefine cultural beliefs and accepted behaviours in the community.
  • Legal Aid - Trained counsellors are available on a daily basis. They provide referrals to health care centres, the police, or social welfare if necessary and counsellors often accompany clients to provide support and help them negotiate often-unfriendly environments. Another component of this programme are legal literacy sessions conducted with institutions and community groups on human rights.
Development Issues: 

Gender-based violence, Rights

Partner Text: 

The McKnight Foundation; Canadian International Development Agency, Tanzania; Embassy of Finland, Tanzania; HIVOS; Youth Challenge International, USA & Canada; Interteam, Switzerland; and Rapid Funding Envelope for HIV/AIDS, Tanzania


Performing Arts for Behavior and Social Change

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Summary of Sharing Session of Creative Communication on 8 April 2010

Publication Date
April 8, 2010

This summary report describes the second round of a United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) sharing session on creative communication under the theme "performing arts for behavior and social change".


Email from Keisuke Taketani to The Communication Initiative on April 21 2010.

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Incorporating Male Gender Norms into Family Planning and Reproductive Health Programs

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Program Guidance Brief

Publication Date
November 1, 2009

This brief is intended to provide family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) programme planners and implementers with suggestions for how to incorporate activities that address male gender nor


Email from Sandra Kalscheur to The Communication Initiative on November 6 2009 and January 5 2010.

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Phukusi la Moyo (Bag of Life)

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Created in March 2009, Phukusi la Moyo (Bag of Life) is a radio programme that focuses on mother and child health in Malawi. It is designed to deliver learning content to a geographically dispersed audience and relies on a network of trained women's listening groups who are involved in all aspects of programming and which covers approximately 350 villages and a total population of 80,000 people across the entire district.

Communication Strategies: 

Phukusi la Moyo is a weekly 30-minute mother and child health radio show broadcast by Mudzi Wathu Community Radio in Mchinji District. According to the producers, it was developed in response to a need for education about maternal and child health in Mchinji District.

One of the programme's objectives is to move beyond "messaging" and a one-way "pushing content" approach towards more interactive and engaged models for local educational programming. Training for existing women's groups draws on the experience of both Mudzi Wathu radio and MaiMwana Project. Three representatives from each of the 200 groups are being trained in the skills necessary to facilitate: discussions about the programmes; the application of what women are learning to their own situations; and group-based learning activities and skills development. The groups were established by MaiMwana in 2005 and have been engaging in a community mobilisation action cycle in relation to mother and child health. This has involved meeting on a regular basis to:

  • identify mother and child health problems;
  • explore the causes of these problems and the ways to prevent and manage them;
  • develop locally feasible strategies to address these problems;
  • implement these strategies; and
  • evaluate the results of these strategies on mother and child health.

Two representatives from Mudzi Wathu Community Radio Station, two from the District Hospital, two from MaiMwana Project, and three from communities in Mchinji participated in the workshop, which was supported financially by the Commonwealth of Learning with major in-kind contributions from all parties. The workshop stimulated the development of the following:

  • a list of maternal and child health issues on which to focus the programme's core messages;
  • a message matrix listing, in relation to each identified issue: 1) negative behaviours/practices; 2) possible consequences of the negative behaviours; 3) positive/expected behaviours; and 4) the benefits of practicing the positive/expected behaviours;
  • a programme matrix listing each programme in the series, including: the theme or the issue under discussion, the communication objectives (expected outcomes), the intended audience, and likely interviewees;
  • a format for the programme - in this case, a magazine featuring interviews, debates, vox pops (voice of the people), drama, listeners' letters, quizzes, poetry, and human interest stories;
  • a set of programme success factors, including the roles and responsibilities of each partner; and
  • a strategy for the role of listening groups in the programme.

The Phukusi la Moyo programme is designed to allow community members to participate in all aspects of the programme. The programmes include field recording and live interaction. Organisers say that the programme is participatory in design and draws on local voices together with local and national knowledge organisations for the formulation and contextualisation of learning objectives. Building on MaiMwana Project's community-based approach, the organisation say there is already a sense of ownership for the programme among the communities, which arises from their engagement in the process.

Envisioned to run for about three years, the programme incorporates off-air elements and complementary media for learner support. Community activities are facilitated by trained local women who use visual aids such as picture cards and participatory rural appraisal (PRA) methods to stimulate discussions.

Development Issues: 

Children, Maternal Health

Key Points: 

Malawi's maternal and child mortality rates are amongst the highest in the world. In Malawi, only about half (57%) of women deliver in a health facility, only 57% of women attend the recommended four antenatal care sessions, and only one-third (31%) of women and children receive postnatal care.

The decision to use community radio came out of the lessons learned from MaiMwana Project's first five years working in Mchinji district and the explicitly expressed needs of women in Mchinji for more information and education about mother and child health issues. Data suggest that there is potential for 80% of households in Mchinji District to listen to Phukusi la Moyo. In parallel to this coverage of individual households, the MaiMwana Project aims to scale up the number of groups/listening clubs in Mchinji gradually over the next few years, with approximately 500 groups running by early 2010 (covering half the district) and approximately 1,000 groups by early 2011 (covering the entire district).

Partner Text: 

MaiMwana Project, Mudzi Wathu Community Radio station, Story Workshop, Commonwealth of Learning


Email from Sarah Ball to Soul Beat Africa on June 16 2009; and Wikieducator website on June 25 2009 and May 6 2010.

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Agricultural Employers Association (AEA) HIV/AIDS Awareness Theatre

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From February 2009 to early 2010, the industrial theatre group Quiet Storm worked to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS through drama among farm workers, employers, and rural communities in Namibia.

Communication Strategies: 

Quiet Storm travelled to various farms and small towns across Namibia to perform the HIV/AIDS awareness play. Most of the performances coincided with information days for farm employees, during which various speakers conveyed farming information. The AEA management also urged employers on farms close to where the performances were taking place to give their employees the opportunity to attend these performances. The content of the performance covered safety in the work place, the importance of getting tested and knowing one's status, and how to live a healthy, positive life with HIV. In May 2009, the theatre group concluded their second roadshow in the southern part of Namibia.

According to the organisers, the theatre strategy was developed following the establishment of AEA's HIV/AIDS policy in 2005, which commits the Association and its members to participate in projects and programmes to help to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS. According to AEA, the Association's goal is to provide information to farmers and other employees who do not have access to HIV/AIDS information because they are far removed from the majority of the population. PharmAccess conducted a survey among AEA members in 2007 to examine the accessibility of health care and HIV/AIDS awareness, and the play is a response to the findings in the survey.

January 2010 update: A DVD of the HIV/AIDS awareness play, "lig deur die kraak", was produced and launched in June 2009. Organisers state that the DVD and its story line were so popular that a radio production (in 4 local languages) was also produced. The first broadcast took place in December 2009 on various NBC radio stations; the re-broadcasts are scheduled to take place in February 2010.

The industrial theatre performed for the last time in the first quarter of 2010. However, the DVD, "lig deur die kraak", is being distributed by the Agricultural Employers Association to their members as well as other interested parties to make sure that the message continues to be spread as wide as possible.

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

PharmAccess Foundation (PharmAccess) is a Dutch not-for-profit organisation dedicated to strengthening health systems in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of its work, PharmAccess supports HIV/AIDS workplace programmes, providing prevention and confidential HIV/AIDS treatment for employees and dependents.

Partner Text: 

PharmAccess, Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU), and Quiet Storm. HIVOS, a Dutch humanitarian organisation, funds all the PharmAccess Commercial Farmers projects in Namibia (including the DVD and radio productions). Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit (GTZ) and German Development Service (DED) also came on board with technical and financial assistance for the production of the DVD and the radio productions.


New Era website and Kaiser Network website on May 26 2009; PharmAccess website, January 22 2010; and emails from Rina Hough to The Communication Initiative on January 26 2010 and January 27 2010 and to Soul Beat Africa on August 2 2010.

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Story Workshop Educational Trust

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Founded in 1996 by American artist and educator Pamela Brooke, Story Workshop Educational Trust is a media organisation bringing social change communication together with creative entertainment in an effort to improve the everyday lives of people in Malawi, Africa. Story Workshop uses media and personal contact to reach Malawians on issues that include food security, health and HIV/AIDS, environmental protection, human rights and democracy, and gender.
Communication Strategies: 

Story Workshop uses the strategy of "edutainment" for social change, drawing on radio shows, village theatre, printed materials, music, training/capacity building, and community dialogue. The organisation uses these communication tools to tell stories that are based on the real lives of people and to facilitate community mobilisation. The strategy involves not simply conveying messages but, rather, facilitating communication among people - based on the belief that listening to people's problems and the obstacles they are confronted with is the most effective strategy for helping Malawians improve their lives.

Specific programmes and strategies are described on the Story Workshop website. However, in short, the organisation designs:

  • Radio programmes - soap operas, radio magazines, debates, and short programmes and jingles - which take a number of formats, depending on audience and message (the goal is to ensure that information fits the social context of a community). The organisation's first project was a radio soap opera about family health, funded by UNICEF, called Zimachitika. To cite only one more recent example of a Story Workshop programme,Mutu Umodzi Susenza Denga: Rural Development Communications Campaign Debates was launched in August 2004 to generate dialogue on controversial issues and air possible solutions through monthly policy and advocacy panel debates.
  • Printed material - comic books, booklets, low-literacy prints, and Journalism Competitions. The latter are designed to increase the incentive for public coverage of the above-described radio debates by awarding prizes to journalists who most effectively put a "human face" on the issues raised in the debates through their investigative reporting and creative feature writing skills. To support this process, Story Workshop organises research field trips for journalists.
  • Theatre - participatory village action theatre drawing on oral tradition. Plays take place in the villages where audiences live, incorporating local residents into the performances themselves. The performances have reportedly resulted in house paintings, fabric banners, local dramas, poems, songs and dances illustrating "do" and "don't" behaviours.
  • Music Story Workshop uses music as a vehicle to motivate people to move (physically and emotionally), as well as to facilitate such local productions as Tingathe!, a celebrity compilation focused on raising awareness of violence against women.
  • Community dialogue - Story Workshop incorporates field research and structured community dialogue in an effort to ensure that Malawians do not simply consume messages - but discuss, debate, and put them into action. Activties include radio listener clubs, action research, and radio research gardens. The latter approach is carried out in conjunction with Mwana Alirenji, Story Workshop's farmer-to-farmer radio magazine. Groups of farmers collectively experiment with innovative approaches to agricultural challenges, then report on their experiences to other farmers through the radio shows. In this way, knowledge is transferred from to farmer through peer-to-peer learning.
  • Training and capacity-building - for example, Story Workshop has offered AIDS-awareness messaging training for the Malawi Network of AIDS Services Organizations (MANASO).
Development Issues: 

Health, Family Planning, Women, Girls' Education, Rights, Economic and Political Development, HIV/AIDS, Gender, Natural Resource Management.

Key Points: 

Visit Story Workshop's Listen-and-Look Interactive Studio to experience their radio and print work, and visit their photo gallery to see Story Workshop in action in Malawi.

Partner Text: 

Various activities have been funded by various organisations including UNICEF, European Commission, UNDP, the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA), Population Communications International (PCI), USAID, UNAIDS and UNFPA.


Letter from Pamela Brooke to The Communication Initiative; email from Janie Hayes to The Communication Initiative on September 19 2006; and Story Workshop Educational Trust website.

Networking for Policy Change: TB/HIV Advocacy Training Manual

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Publication Date
Publication Date: 
December 1, 2007

This document is adapted for trainings when tuberculosis (TB)/HIV is the focus of advocacy.

Number of Pages: 



Stop TB Partnership website, December 13 2010.

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