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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

Voices from the Ground

From Panos London, this blog follows the lives of five people working and living in developing countries, tracking their experiences in relation to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Communication Strategies: 

Voices from the Ground, December 1 2010 is an online platform for recording the challenges, frustrations, and successes of people affected first-hand by the impacts of the MDGs. Their experiences are recorded by Panos London local journalists in those countries who tell those experiences as first person. The bloggers' stories are told as they happen and feature people from around the world:

  • Northeast India: Takhelchangbam Ambravati (known as Ambra) is a grassroots volunteer with a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) near Imphal, the capital of the northeastern state of Manipur. She visits local women to collect information about human rights violations, domestic violence, and trafficking.
  • Pakistan: Zubaida Noor is working with women in a small village in Khyber Putkunkwa, previously known as North-West Frontier Province, who lost their homes in the recent floods. Her NGO, the Noor Foundation, focuses on women's education, health, and emancipation.
  • Jamaica: Dr Tracy Evans-Gilbert is head of the paediatric HIV programme at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, Montego Bay's main public hospital. Part of her job is to trace HIV-infected children who are not receiving treatment and babies with unknown status born to HIV-infected women.
  • Mali: As a housewife in the village of Tamala in the south of Mali, Sali Samaké has to fetch water every day to do the cooking and washing for her family. She is also one of thousands of small farmers trained by the Malian government to monitor rainfall.
  • Brazil: Dagmar Rivieri Garroux, known as Tia Dag (Auntie Dag), runs Casa do Zezinho, a school in one of south Sao Paulo's favelas. By offering social, cultural, and artistic activities for children, Tia Dag and the teachers aim to prevent them from joining Sao Paulo's criminal gangs.
Development Issues: 

Children, Economic Development, Education, Gender Equity, Maternal Health, HIV/AIDS, Health, Environment.

Contact Information: 

Email from Tia Jeewa to The Communication Initiative on October 15 2010; and Voices from the Ground blog, December 1 2010. Image credit: Sanjit Das / Panos Pictures

In Pakistan's Swat Valley, Health Workers Reach out to Women and Children Already Struggling

Publication Date
September 28, 2010

This article describes social mobilisation activities for "Mother and Child Days" and other health and vaccination campaigns that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is conducting with non-gov

Contact Information: 

Global Health TV, October 29 2010. Image credit: © UNICEF Pakistan/2010/Dhayi
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Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity: A Study on the Mobile Phone Gender Gap in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Publication Date
February 1, 2010

This study from the GSMA Development Fund, the Cherie Blair Foundation, and Vital Wave Consulting analyses data, surveys, a market sizing model, and expert interviews to report on mobile phone use among women in low- and middle-income countries.

Contact Information: 

Global Health Weekly Update, October 12 2010.

Will Rahima's Firstborn Survive Overwhelming Odds? Positive Deviance for Maternal and Newborn Care in Pakistan

Muhammad Shafique
Monique Sternin
Arvind Singhal
Publication Date
January 1, 2010

From the Positive Deviance Wisdom Series (Number 5), a collaborative venture of the Positive Deviance Initiative at Tufts University (Boston, Massachusetts, United States) and the


Emails from Arvind Singhal to The Communication Initiative on June 7 2010 and July 19 2010.

Internet, Schoolchildren and Rural Pakistan: How to Get Community Buy-in Including for Girls

Lisa Cyr
Karen Higgs
Publication Date
March 12, 2010

Association for Progressive Communications (APC)

This Association for Progressive Communications (APC) news article explores a project called Dareecha (meaning "window"), w

Contact Information: 

Email from Lisa Cyr to The Communication Initiative on April 29 2010; and APC website, May 19 2010.

Health Communication: Polio Lessons

Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives, Volume 15, Supplement 1
Publication Date
May 7, 2010

According to the articles in this Journal of Health Communication supplement, the polio eradication experience provides a rich source of health communication knowledge. And yet, it is one that remains relatively unexamined. The papers in this supplement take a small step towards drawing out some of the lessons and looking at what these experiences have to say to the wider field of health communication. They focus on a series of tensions and the manner in which the polio programme has dealt with them.

Tensions like:

  • Short-term expectations / long-term change processes

    Family Advancement for Life and Health (FALAH)

    Launched in June 2007, FALAH is a 5-year undertaking to increase the use of family planning (FP) and birth spacing by removing barriers to services and improving knowledge in 20 districts of Pakistan'

    Communication Strategies: 

    Mapping and research have been at the centre of FALAH's communication advocacy and mobilisation strategy. The Population Council and 6 partners prepared and approved a compliance monitoring plan after receiving training by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) consultants. A baseline survey was completed in 16 districts for comparison at the end of the project, and all public and private health care facilities were mapped in 18 districts. Methodology and messages were developed for mobilisation of married women of reproductive age and their husbands and health providers. For example, a poster was finalised and translated into Urdu (translation in Sindhi to be completed) that details the Tiahrt Requirements for Voluntary Family Planning Projects. (Editor's note: In October 1998, the US Congress enacted an amendment initiated by Representative Todd Tiahrt (a Republican from the state of Kansas) reaffirming and elaborating standards for voluntary FP service delivery projects to protect the rights of FP "acceptors," that is, the individual clients receiving services. Click here to learn more).

    Interpersonal interactions are at the centre of this effort to educate and motivate Pakistan's people around FP and birth spacing issues. FALAH collaborator Greenstar Social Marketing (GSM) has held neighbourhood meetings to provide FP orientation, mobilised community outreach by conducting meeting with male and female "influencers", and dispatched its outreach workers to carry out household visits to reach women. In addition, women of reproductive age are provided with free FP consultations at 1,178 mobile clinics (Clinic Sahoolat) conducted by GSM.

    Capacity-building efforts have involved training of staff in compliance monitoring, healthy timing and spacing of pregnancy, and contraceptive updates. FAHAL also developed a preservice curriculum for medical and paramedic students, which was approved in principle by the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, and basic and advanced training manuals for client-centred FP services. Skill development training was developed for the intrauterine device (IUD), trainings of trainers (ToTs) for client-centred FP services have been held, and leadership trainings have been conducted.

    FALAH has also conducted advocacy work on emergency contraception (EC). This has involved officials from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Population Welfare visiting Bangladesh to observe their programme of EC distribution through community workers. FALAH organised a national consultation seminar for consensus-building around EC, prepared EC training manuals, and held a consultative meeting with provincial coordinators to finalise their training materials. The technical committee of innovations has approved FALAH's proposed provision of EC through lady health workers in 8 districts.

    Development Issues: 

    Family Planning.

    Partner Text: 

    Population Council, GSM, Health and Nutrition Development Society, Jhpiego (Johns Hopkins University), Mercy Corps, Rural Support Programmes Network, and Save the Children. Funded by USAID.


    FALAH page on the Population Council website and USAID website - both accessed February 11 2010.

    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

    MDG3: Strengthening Women's Strategic Use of ICTs to Combat Violence against Women and Girls

    Launched in January 2009 by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC), this 2.5-year project explores the relationship between the growth in use of information and communications technologi

    Communication Strategies: 

    In a multifaceted approach to the intersection between ICT use and violence against women (VAW) and girls, APC is working to empower women and girls through skills, knowledge, advocacy, and community-building along the following lines:

    • administering small grants for interventions aimed at stopping VAW through the use of ICTs;
    • localising the Take Back the Tech! campaign [see "Related Summaries", below] in the 12 selected countries;
    • organising Feminist Tech Exchanges - using this online platform, "FTX" - to build the capacity of women's right activists and marginalised women and girls, including survivors of violence;
    • catalysing policy advocacy processes to integrate women's rights perspectives in ICT policies in national contexts; and
    • working to increase women's involvement and leadership in ICT policy spaces that have an impact on women's rights.

    Women's participation is paramount. Survivors of domestic and sexual violence will participate directly in training activities. Namely, in partnership with women's rights organisations, APC is reaching out to vulnerable women (especially economically poor, rural, and migrant women) through workshops designed to build their capacity to use technology for awareness-raising and educational rights-based campaigns. In addition, APC is reaching out to adolescent girls and girls' networks in participating countries through training, digital story telling workshops, and activities being undertaken as part of the Take Back the Tech! campaign. Finally, APC is providing training on safe practices for internet and telecommunications use to women and women's organisations working in conflict situations. APC notes that, as the exchanges continue to happen in the 12 participating countries, the FTX site referenced above will offer a repository of methodology and materials for training in ICT from a feminist perspective.

    Organisers are engaged in research and dissemination of information about each of the participating countries in order to illustrate different challenges and opportunities for how ICTs impact on VAW, either in worsening the problem - for example, through the use of ICTs in trafficking - or in providing a space where women can collaborate and network against violence. In a series of papers - the abstracts, and eventually, full versions of which may be found here - APC finds that, in all 12 countries, the themes of privacy, freedom of expression, and the enforcement of legislation "form a sobering backdrop to some startling and innovative ways in which women are using technology to advance their rights and empower women."

    Development Issues: 

    Women, Technology, Rights.

    Key Points: 

    Research conducted as part of this project - summarised here - has led to findings such as the gap between legislation and the ability to implement laws on VAW, which is found to be inadequate to deal with the violence that women face. This gap is "particularly stark in South Africa. The country has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, but a woman is killed every six hours - the highest rate of femicide anywhere in the world. Even in legislation, there are tensions between the guarantees of freedom of expression and the perceived need to protect women and children from pornography, and between privacy and the right to information. Likewise, in Uganda, despite a national gender policy and ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), almost a quarter of women report that their first sexual encounter was forced. As with many countries, there is little information available on the intersection between VAW and ICTs. Nonetheless, anecdotal evidence shows that mobile phones are both enabling greater control and monitoring of women by their partners as well as providing women with new spaces to forestall domestic violence."

    Partner Text: 

    Supported by the Dutch government's MDG3 Fund.

    Contact Information: 

    Emails from Karen Higgs and Erika Smith to The Communication Initiative on November 23 2009 and December 9 2009; APC website, December 9 2009; and genderICT portal, December 10 2009.

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