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