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Communication for Development (C4D)

Behaviour and social change

© UNICEF/Liberia/Ryeng
Liberia: Social mobilizers arrange a town meeting to raise awareness on Ebola and preventive measures. The Town Chief shared his experiences and the audience was very active during the meeting.

Behaviour and social change have often been seen as distinct approaches, requiring different strategies and unique skill sets. UNICEF C4D sees them as complementary techniques used to define and address individual and social influences.

Behaviour change is a research-based consultative process for addressing knowledge, attitudes and practices. It provides relevant information and motivation through well-defined strategies, using a mix of media channels and participatory methods. Behaviour change strategies focus on the individual as a locus of change.

Social change, on the other hand, focuses on the community as the unit of change. It is a process of transforming the distribution of power within social and political institutions. For behaviours to change, certain harmful cultural practices, societal norms and structural inequalities have to be considered and addressed. 

Reaching rural communities with good health practices to increase knowledge, raise awareness and shift attitudes
Armed with newfound knowledge and the passion to make a difference, Health Extension Workers, such as Abner Shivute, visit at least four households a day to give support to pregnant mothers, mothers with newborn babies, and people with minor ailments, as well as to give guidance on how people can access social support services such as welfare grants.

Sierra Leone: Ebola survivors begin to find acceptance
Yeabu Kalokoh, 18, is beaming with smiles as she holds her baby girl, Grace, and gently caresses her. The young mother and her nearly 2-year-old daughter share the terrible ordeal and the good fortune of escaping the deadly grip of the Ebola virus. They are two of more than 400 Ebola survivors in Sierra Leone’s Bombali District who met to share their experiences and to discuss issues of stigma and discrimination. 

Mine risk education targets children displaced by conflict
The dangers of mines are recent and unfamiliar to most Malians. Awareness is crucial in the effort to save lives. UNICEF conducted risk education workshops to train partner organizations in how to conduct awareness sessions for children. 

A community takes measures to protect girls from harmful practices including child marriage
In Ethiopia, community-wide discussions on harmful traditional practices were conducted with the Bureau of Education, students, teachers, religious leaders and other community members. After the discussions, the community prepared its own set of laws in order to control the situation, including such penalties as imprisonment and forfeit.

Using theatre to raise HIV/AIDS awareness among youth in Botswana
The Wise Up programme amplifys the message of its multimedia campaigns -- using theatre to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS among youth.

Applying C4D to curb maternal mortality in Cambodia
Families in The Kingdom of Cambodia adopted health seeking behaviours to curtail the nations’ high maternal mortality. The campaign ran on television and radio and was supported by the trained interpersonal communicators. Potentially pregnant women were encouraged by colourful, innovative and captivating radio and TV spots, mobile phone ring tones, posters, banners and leaflets, to come in for their first ANC visit within a month of missing their period. This core message was communicated massively and intensively in the media several times a day, and reinforced at community level. Everybody talked about it – some even whistled the catchy campaign tune.

Eradicating child marriage in Niger 
Child marriages remains the norm in many communities for reasons related to poverty, culture and lack of access to education. A government programme raises awareness those in positions of influence, parents and young girls, attitudes towards early child marriage have started to change. The programme currently covers 100 villages in four regions nationwide and involves selecting and training animators to engage their communities in a dialogue to bring about behavioural and social change.

Meena Communication Initiative
The school-based children's programme centers on a spirited, nine-year-old girl who braves the world – whether in her efforts to go to school or in fighting the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS in her village. The initiative uses a combination of mass media and interpersonal communication to enhance children's self-esteem and self-worth and allow them to familiarise themselves with life skills essential for their empowerment.

Radio 'Meena Ki Duniya' or Meena Radio is an entertainment-education radio series in South Asia designed to communicate with children, especially adolescent girls in rural schools, their educators, parents and community leaders. Launched in 2010 by UNICEF and the Department of Education, the programme reaches 5000 schools in 9 districts of Uttar Pradesh, India.

Thinkwise - Don't Stigmatise 
Bangladesh is a partnership between the government, NGOs and the professional cricket league to raise HIV awareness in adolescents. Spectators of the girl's cricket tournament hear information on the nature of HIV and how to prevent infection as part of the match commentary. Pink t-shirts adorned with the slogan “Be aware, save yourself” have been distributed to cricket fans throughout the competition. Cricket activities across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have joined the campaign and hope that the informed youth will continue to reverse the global spread of HIV.

Nun, Chini, Pani ("Salt, Sugar, Water")
The Nepal oral rehydration communication campaign helped reduce the number of annual diarrhoeal deaths from 45,000 children in the mid-1980s to 30,000 a decade later.

For over twenty years, UNICEF and its partners have supported Tostan, an NGO in Senegal that works on health, education and gender-based issues using a community-led development approach. Tostan has been recognized globally for its contribution towards abandonment of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) using social empowerment and community outreach through public declarations in about 3,000 of the 5,000 communities across Senegal.



FGM/C Report

Turning opposition into action - 2013
Full Report -  Summary

Children as agents of change

The Benefits of a Child-Centered Approach to Climate Change
UNICEF UK and Plan International - 2011

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