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Communication for Development (C4D)

Communication platforms

Theater for development, mass media, community radio and edutainment

Theatre builds peace in Sierra Leone: Learning for Peace

Theater for Development

The primary objective of theater for development (T4D) is to promote civic dialogue within the communities in order to stimulate social debates. The ability of T4D to stimulate discussions is evident as audiences often engage in debates and even constructive argument surrounding sensitive topics.

Theater has been successfully used to initiate community engagement on issues as diverse as health, sanitation, education, HIV awareness, ending violence and child marriage.

With 10 new stations, radio reach expands in rural Guinea
When Ebola hit, the country faced many challenges to stop the spread of the virus, including a widespread rural population and numerous local languages. Learn how building a network of rural radio stations helped overcome these barriers of communication, creating valuable tools for rural communities that are still being used today.

Wise Up uses theatre to raise awareness among youth about HIV/AIDS in Botswana
Wise Up in Botswana raises awareness among youth about the risks of HIV/AIDS by using a combination of social media and theater. Mobile phone messages are sent to appropriate audiences. Drama workshops improve the skills in HIV/AIDS prevention and awareness.

Theatre builds peace in Sierra Leone
Ibrahim, 17, and his fellow actors are part of a Theatre for Development group that created a play that challenges the culture of violence and corporal punishment and encourages peacebuilding. 

Using theatre to promote post-disaster agenda for adolescents
Young members of Haiyan-affected communities in the Visayas, Philippines use theater to raise awareness among their fellow youth on sensitive issues critical to them – adolescent health and sex education, and protection from all forms of violence and exploitation.

Theatre staged to win No-Malaria game
Give it back! You will not sell this! Malaria is killing our babies!,” screams adolescent girl fighting with her father over a blue plastic bag. Around the couple crowds a group of people cheering, laughing and applauding enthusiastically. Welcome to Marangara – a picturesque colline of Burundi’s Northern Province of Ngozi and a scene of open-air interactive theatre where everyone can be an actor playing life-saving role of Impregnated Mosquito Net user.

Mass Media

Traditionally, mass media have been viewed as channels for the dissemination of public information. Mass Media can play a significant role in raising awareness, especially when a high percentage the population lives in remote villages with limited access to facilities and services. In this context, ‘reach’ becomes one of the greatest constraints on equitable and fair development.

With effective strategies, mass media can be a platform for diverse and dynamic two-way flows of information enabling better social and individual decisions. It can perform these functions at scale as they reach a vast audience over a short period.

Kyunki...Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai
Broadcast from 2008 through 2011 all across India, the soap opera Kyunki...Jeena Issi Ka Naam Hai (Because...That's What Life Is) was a Hindi entertainment-education (EE) in connection to and support of the Facts for Life (FFL), which "provides messages and information for mothers and caregivers to use in changing behaviours and practices that can save the lives of children and help them develop and grow to their full potential."

Broadcast on India’s national public television channel, Doordarshan One, the series was set in a fictional rural village, and followed six distinct characters as they struggle through their daily lives. The goal of the EE endeavour was to reach women and frontline workers in underserved communities in order to attain social and behavioural change objectives related to the welfare and survival of children and mothers.


Entertainment-Education is the process designing and implementing media messages that educate and entertain. The intention is to use popular mass media forms to increase audience members’ knowledge about development issues, and to influence positive behavior and social change.

#ISurvivedEbola Campaign

As part of C4D’s Ebola response, UNICEF partnered with PCI Media Impact, Vulcan Productions and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to create the #ISurvivedEbola Campaign, which used entertainment media to inform, engage and empower audiences to tackle Ebola. These media included music videos, radio drama series and app updates, all of which featured real survival stories.

Shuga: Love, Sex, Money - Episode 1

While Tanzania was making progress in the fight against HIV among adults, with the prevalence decreasing from 7.0% in 2003/04 to 5.1%, protecting youth was still an issue. Only just over half of 15-19 year olds (53% girls and 62% of boys) knew that using condoms and limiting the number of sexual partners can reduce the risk of HIV transmission. 

The actual use of condoms was also low, especially for high-risk sex. The show ‘Shuga’ was created in a partnership with MTV, UNICEF and the government to affect the thinking and behaviours of its young audience. And it has done just that.

Community Radio 

Community radio, thanks to its reach and community involvement, has played a vital role in promoting healthy habits and often sharing life-saving information with children and parents about proper nutrition, health, hygiene, education and child protection.

The low-cost operation and ease of implementation make radio one of the most effective tools in humanitarian situations. Community radio has also given voice to millions of people who lack access to mainstream media.  

Young reporters connect with their community, in Côte d’Ivoire

Radio Amitié (meaning “friendship”) is the largest and most popular community radio programmes in Abidjan, and possibly the whole of Côte d’Ivoire. Teenagers have been learning to produce their own 10-30 minute radio shows and then broadcast them to tens of thousands of their neighbours twice a month.

Radio helps schoolchildren catch up on learning in Guinea

To help children catch up on the education they missed an emergency radio education series runs as a month-long pilot project. The series offers catch-up lessons in mathematics and French. For children who are in school, the lessons build on what they have learned in class; for children not in school, they offer an alternative to classroom learning.



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