Production Grant for Photographers from Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan

The Open Society Documentary Photography Project and Arts and Culture Program announce a grant and training opportunity for documentary photographers from Central Asia, the South Caucasus, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Pakistan. Both emerging and well-established photographers are eligible to apply. The grant will begin in November 2012 and end in June 2013.

The grant is being offered to:

  • visually document issues of importance in the region; and
  • provide training and support to photographers from the region.



Deadline Date: 
May 10, 2012

Afghanistan Polio Communication Update

Publication Date: 


This bi-monthly e-newsletter from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) outlines innovations and strategic shifts in communication to support polio eradication in Afghanistan.

Number of Pages: 


Contact Information: 

Email from Gitanjali Chaturvedi to The Communication Initiative on August 15 2010. Image credit: UNICEF/Afghanistan/2009

Avian Influenza Control and Human Pandemic Preparedness and Response Project: Public Awareness and Information Component

Launched in April 2009, this 3-month United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) media campaign aims to prevent avian influenza in Tajikistan by changing the behaviours of children and women - the ones who take care of poultry and cook it. The campaign, which is being implemented in 4 regions and in 46 districts of Tajikistan, is designed to protect these at-risk groups by sharing information about safer ways of handling and cooking poultry, and about the importance of personal hygiene in avoiding avian influenza and other diseases.

Communication Strategies: 

The project makes use of a mix of strategies: advocacy, capacity building, behaviour change communication (BCC), and community and social mobilisation.

To begin, high-risk regions were identified for intensive campaign focus, and activities were designed to use the available resources optimally and efficiently. The activities being carried out as part of the larger ongoing project in 46 districts reached out to health, veterinary, and religious/community leaders by offering sessions to provide a space for these specialists to get acquainted with prevention messages, to map the risky households, and to put avian flu prevention issues on the district development agenda. The project has established an active network of volunteers (654 volunteers in 41 districts) who are able to communicate correct practice and behaviours to local farmers and households with backyard poultry.

The media campaign focuses on disseminating information about simple preventive practices that are effective against bird flu through nationwide media outlets and community-based events. As part of the campaign, nationwide and regional television and radio channels will broadcast public service announcements (PSAs) highlighting the need to wash hands with soap after dealing with poultry or eggs, cook chicken properly, and report dead birds to veterinary service or local authorities. Specifically, 6 television spots and 6 radio spots were developed. In addition, UNICEF will integrate these messages in popular television and radio programmes. A roundtable discussion, interview with relevant specialists, and updates on the epidemiological situation will be broadcast on national and regional TV channels.

In close consultation with the Communication Working Group, UNICEF has developed information, education, and communication (IEC) materials and placed them in offices of various departments and hukumats (executive bodies part of local governments in Tajikistan), markets, mosques, clubs, schools, hospitals. etc. These materials include desk and pocket calendars, posters, 4 sets of guidelines, a brochure for children, a leaflet for backyard farmers, a banner, bookmarks, stickers with the logo and 6 main messages, etc.

Partnership with international and national non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is facilitating the linkage of national strategies, action plans, and communication activities to grassroots-level action to carry out community-based interventions. At the local level, UNICEF partners are holding community meetings and events with local leaders and the general public to raise their awareness of simple ways to prevent the risk of contracting the virus. The hope is that, by using existing NGO networks, the project can reach out to most at-risk households in informing safe poultry-raising practices.

For example, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programmes (CCP) is providing technical assistance in communication. The Center employs an approach to health communication that: is a combination of science and local wisdom; follows a programme-oriented use of scientific research methods and theories to understand the social and cultural factors that affect behaviour; and facilitates measurement of impact for programme improvement. The technical assistance in communication has contributed to improving local capacity in the area of risk and crisis communication.

At the national level UNICEF - through the Communication Working Group - coordinates closely with key ministries and state committees to ensure Government ownership and leadership in project implementation. In particular, the realisation of the communication component involves constant collaboration with the Ministry of Health through the Republican Centre for State Sanitary and Epidemiological Control, Ministry of Agriculture and Environmental Protection/State Veterinary Department, State Committee on Emergency, and Civil Defence and State Committee on TV and Radio. The specialists from these agencies are represented in the Communication Working Group, and provide technical inputs to the content of communication activities, coordination, and assessment of project interventions.

The multi-sectoral nature of the project has resulted in collaborative work with other UN agencies like WHO and FAO in strategic communication. The collaborative work has contributed to synchronisation of activities in human health, animal health, and communication components

Development Issues: 


Key Points: 

The Deputy Minister of Health explains that Tajikistan is geographically situated in the migratory path of birds, making it a high-risk country. In addition, backyard poultry is an important economic resource for many families living in rural areas. Although there have been no registered cases of bird flu in Tajikistan (as of April 2009), officials seek to prevent such outbreaks in the future by building public awareness of the risks related to bird flu and ways of tackling these.

A survey conducted by UNICEF in 2006 has shown that about 84% of poultry farmers in Tajikistan caged their birds around the house, and only 49% washed their hands after dealing with poultry and eggs, or cleaning cages. If left unchecked, this behaviour poses the potential risk of spreading bird flu in the country.

Partner Text: 

UNICEF, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, State Committee on Emergency and Civil Defense, Republican Epidemiological Station, WHO, FAO, Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED), Save the Children, Sogd Oblast Healthy Life Style Center, Khatlon Oblast Healthy Life Stile Center, Zuhal, TTHS, Nishot, National Agriculture Resource Center, and national and local TV and radio stations.


Adaptation, Gender and Women's Empowerment: CARE International Climate Change Brief

Publication Date: 
October 1, 2010

This brief on gender and climate change was published by CARE International's Poverty, Environment and Climate Change Network (PECCN). It explains questions relating to CARE’s approach to adaptation, which begins with a comprehensive analysis that includes an examination of differential vulnerability due to social, political, and economic inequalities. This assessment helps tailor adaptation strategies to specific needs, capacities and priorities of impact groups, such as economically poor women.

Questions and some answers from the document include the following:


English, French, Spanish, Portuguese

Number of Pages: 



CARE website, January 25 2011, and emails from Tamara Plush to The Communication Initiative on January 26 and 27 2011 and on April 12 2012.

Central Asian Program on AIDS Control in Vulnerable Populations (CAPACITY) Project

Communication Strategies: 

Through collaboration with all interested stakeholders (government, donor, multilateral organisations, non-governmental organisations (NGOs)), CAPACITY is implementing a methodology to assist with the implementation of the "Three-Ones Principle", which states that each country should have one national AIDS strategy, one national AIDS coordinating mechanism (NACM) to oversee the strategy, and one national monitoring and evaluation system to measure the impact of the strategy. To enable countries to adhere to the Three Ones Principle in practice, CAPACITY interventions include such activities as: 1) produce a technical paper to spell out the methodology for implementing the Three Ones Principle and improving national AIDS stewardship; 2) using rationale developed in the technical paper, advocate at national level with governments and international agencies to accept the authority of the NACM; and 3) support country efforts to restructure and establish one NACM.


CAPACITY works to educate and empower vulnerable populations through the development of the "60 Plus" approach, whereby with feedback from interested stakeholders, a technical paper has been developed describing the need for high coverage among vulnerable populations in order to achieve impact against HIV/AIDS, and describing methodologies by which high coverage of behaviour change interventions can be achieved. Following the 60 Plus approach, CAPACITY has developed, and is implementing and testing, "model" HIV prevention behaviour change communication and social marketing interventions through local institutions.


CAPACITY intends to work to improve resource-use through the integration of HIV/AIDS services. Part of this effort will entail conducting patient-flow analyses to assess and map the movement of patients across the various service-systems of health care delivery, including voluntary counselling and testing (VCT); HIV/AIDS care, support, and treatment; sexually transmitted infection (STI) and tuberculosis (TB) cases for detection and treatment; and patients with co-infection of HIV/AIDS and both TB and STIs. CAPACITY will also conduct fund and functional analyses to clearly define the institutional structure, functional roles and relationships, and existing financing mechanisms of the key actors in providing HIV/AIDS and other relevant prevention and care services (such as TB and STI). This aims to contribute to identification of appropriate integration and financing issues and strategies. Following the above-mentioned assessments, CAPACITY intends to implement the following interventions in model areas: engage in policy dialogues to design models on efficient and effective structures and systems for integration of HIV/AIDS services into primary health care (PHC) and other general health care delivery, and appropriate financing approaches and provider payment systems for the integration; provide organisational and management training for the health managers and providers in the model areas on the new systems and strategies for integration and financing; implement models on integration and related financing mechanisms; and disseminate lessons learned.

Development Issues: 

Health, HIV/AIDS, Rights.

Key Points: 

CAPACITY is working in all five of the Central Asian countries, with an office in each capital city and several project model implementation sites throughout the countries.


CAPACITY focuses its efforts on injecting drug-users, sex workers, and vulnerable youth.

Partner Text: 

USAID in Central Asia, JSI Research and Training Institute, Inc. in partnership with Abt Associates Inc, Brenda Waning of Boston University, Howard University, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, and Population Services International (PSI).


ZdravPlus Quality Public Health and Primary Health Care in Central Asia Project

Communication Strategies: 

Through its "Improving the Efficiency of Resource Use" component, ZdravPlus is working to improve information systems for decision-making and quality control. ZdravPlus believes that while there is an existing infrastructure within Central Asia devoted to accumulating health data and statistics, it is necessary to adapt the existing health statistics systems to increase their efficiency and to shift their focus from collection to analysis of data, through computerisation and more effective use of human resources. According to ZdravPlus, information also should be used for quality assurance purposes that move from evaluation of processes to evaluation of outcomes and to support licensing and accreditation bodies, to ensure that both public and private health providers meet minimal standards. ZdravPlus provides support to the continued development and refinement of these health information systems at the health purchaser level. At the health provider level, ZdravPlus is helping to introduce new management information systems to provide health facility managers with tools to adapt to the new environment, support decision-making and allocation of resources, and monitor quality improvements.


Through its "Redefining Patient Rights and Responsibilities" component, ZdravPlus aims to ensure that the people of Central Asia are better informed about personal health care rights and responsibilities. ZdravPlus educates the public on a broad range of primary and preventive health care topics to encourage them to take greater responsibility for their own health by adopting healthy lifestyles, caring for simple health problems at home, and recognising more complicated problems that require assistance from a health care provider. ZdravPlus also works to enhance public understanding of the health reforms underway in Central Asia and strengthen the population's involvement in these reforms. These activities center on informing the population of their right to enrol with the family/general practice of their choice - a new concept in the region - and helping them choose a practice. They also aim to define and safeguard client rights and to encourage the public to demand high quality health services that are responsive to their needs. Activities take the form of public awareness and policy marketing campaigns and use many different media to reach the public, including radio and television, posters and brochures, grants to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), interpersonal communication, and other strategies.


The ZdravPlus grants programme helps build the capacities of local NGOs to be catalysts for change in the health sector. Support to NGOs is also hoped to contribute to democratic transition in Central Asia and the building of civil society. "Small grants" are awarded to health NGOs undertaking community-based public health interventions to improve the health of the Central Asia population and strengthen the link between the community and primary health care facilities. "Implementation grants" are awarded to health NGOs with a membership base, such as associations, to promote the sustainability of the NGO, improve their capacity to offer services to their members, and provide them with tools to become advocates for their members. Technical assistance is provided to grant recipients desiring to become NGOs including legal assistance to register, to develop governance mechanisms including boards and by-laws, and to build capacity in concert with Counterpart Consortium.


ZdravPlus continues work begun under the previous ZdravReform Project to encourage policy dialogue and to improve policy processes and data based decision-making. One way ZdravPlus helps strengthen policy processes is by supporting Working Groups. Working Groups are formed by the government or health authorities to enhance policy dialogue and build capacity for broad policy and planning issues, as well as to discuss narrower technical issues. ZdravPlus works to ensure that all stakeholders are included in policy dialogue and processes through a consultative, participatory process.


Building on the policy successes achieved under ZdravReform in changing laws and regulations, ZdravPlus continues to provide technical assistance to improve policy content.  As the policy dialogue and analysis processes generate policy decisions and strategies, ZdravPlus provides technical assistance to convert policy decisions into consistent, transparent, and easy-to-implement laws and regulations. Project specialists and lawyers provide technical assistance to counterparts to draft, amend, revise, and comment on the technical content of health sector laws and regulations.


ZdravPlus provides training to create awareness of the benefits of integrating research and analysis into policy decision-making, and establishing a process for formative health policy evaluation. To incorporate more rigorous policy analysis, formative evaluation, and research into the health policy development process, ZdravPlus works with policymakers to use the new clinical and financial information systems that accompany new provider payment systems as a source of routine information for policy analysis and evaluation. Linking this information into a system of health policy formulation and evaluation provides information for continuous quality improvement of the health system as a whole.


The ZdravReform Project contributed to the formation of 22 health sector NGOs, including family group practice associations, hospital associations, and public health NGOs in Uzbekistan. These NGOs have already begun to serve as policy advocates. ZdravPlus builds on past efforts to develop NGOs through technical assistance, training, and grants to enhance their capacity to provide services to members and communicate with the population. In particular, the project focuses on developing a systematic approach to enhance the capabilities of health sector NGOs for advocacy and empower them to harness their natural capacity to contribute to health policy dialogue and processes. According to ZdravPlus, with additional assistance and training, these NGOs have the potential to serve as powerful policy advocates and contribute to democratic transition, representing groups that have traditionally had little voice in health policy decision-making.

Development Issues: 

Health, Rights, Democracy and Governance

Key Points: 

Abt Associates has been active in strengthening the health care systems in Central Asia since 1994, through ZdravPlus and the predecessor project ZdravReform.

Partner Text: 

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Abt Associates, John Snow Inc. (JSI), Boston University School of Public Health Center for International Health and Development led by Brenda Waning, Scientific Technology and Language Institute (STLI), CitiHope International, Morehouse School of Medicine, Institute for Sustainable Communities, and Socium Consult (Kyrgyzstan).

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