Communicating with children

Introduction

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© UNICEF/INDA2011-00107/Graham Crouch
Kolkata, West Bengal INDIA. 30 January 2011: Salim Shekh (13) and Rakhi Kundu (17) trumpeting to the community messages.

We hope this resource pack will encourage and facilitate the production of quality communication products to improve the lives of children globally. In these pages, we hope to further nurture the belief that communication is one of the most empowering ways to improve the lives of children and their families.

The work is meant to inspire you to seek out and use the best of appropriate communication tools, channels and approaches. It is based on extensive collective field experience: We have listened and talked to children, parents, child development experts, caretakers, teachers, programme staff and others. We have worked at village, city and international levels. Above all, we have had the privilege of reviewing a wealth of materials, including teaching and training aids, guides, books, videos, research papers, Web links, posters and evaluations. From this, “positive examples” have been gleaned to illustrate principles and guidelines, and a comprehensive list of inspiring resources representing a wide range of countries, media and experience are provided.

These principles and guidelines will, we hope, excite you to better listen to, discuss with and learn from children, families and communities, explore proven communication research and programmes, and systematically plan your own positive, measurable communication for development strategies. We believe that effective communication involves understanding people: their needs, skills, beliefs, values, societies and cultures, and that communication is a two-way process for sharing ideas and knowledge. We are excited to share our ideas with you and hope you are eager to use them.

Finally, this resource pack should facilitate the process of learning about the critical importance of communication that is age-appropriate and child-friendly, holistic, positive, strengths-based and inclusive. As a part of this learning process, and to establish better two-way communication, a list of common pitfalls has been provided.

Communication for Development (C4D) strategies promote behaviour and social change that are particularly relevant, and in many cases, essential to development programmes as they seek the achievement of the MDGs and the broader realization of the rights of children and women www.un.org/millenniumgoals. However, anyone in development or humanitarian work who wants to positively influence children’s economic, cultural, social and political worlds through communication will find shared interests with C4D. This includes helping heal the wounds of injustice, prejudice and poverty inflicted on children. Healing can be accelerated where the marginalized, vulnerable and most disadvantaged are specifically included, and where communication tries to restore dignity, give due respect to culture and tradition, eliminate stereotypes, reduce gender disparities and promote child, women’s and human rights.

We thank everyone – adults and children, anonymous and acknowledged, experts and laypersons – who proposed, contributed and supported the making of this resource pack.


 

 

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