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Communicating with children

Early adolescence

Polio Prevention Television public-service announcements, 1989, UNICEF Nepal

Part of a research project on polio immunization showing alternative ways to present information to children and adults. Study comparing negative, stereotypical, fear-based announcements with positive ones where children and adults with polio speak on their own behalf. People speak of living with polio in a matter-of-fact way, while stressing the importance of immunization. Research shows that viewers liked the confidence of those who were disabled, and prefer this to spots where non-disabled people use fear as a motivation for immunization. Selected spots target older children who often are responsible for care of younger siblings, and portray gender-progressive images (older boys caring for young children). Despite the age of the series, these are landmark examples using positive deviance and confidence-building in health awareness and disease/disability prevention.

Themes: child survival, immunization, child protection, disability



Oneminutejrs  Short (one-minute) television spots (various years), produced by UNICEF and the European Commission Foundation

Spots developed by youth trained to creatively express themselves, which exemplify principles of communicating with children and are appropriate for youth/young adolescent audiences – e.g., “Cleaning Earth” (Lebanon): a boy changes cartoons and other programmes from being violent to being child friendly and positive; “Heart of Gold” (Taiwan, Province of China): a boy looks through binoculars and takes “snapshots” of people, such as a poor mother and child who hold each other in their hearts; “Sarajevo by Night” (Sarajevo): three boys meet for coffee next to a mosque, an Orthodox and a Catholic church, after which each goes to their respective place of worship, then meet again as friends.

Themes: child survival and development, child protection, diversity


Ten Terrific Things for BIG Kids to do with Little Kids! - Book for youth, 2000, produced by Ministry of Education and UNICEF Maldives


Child-to-child, integrative, gender-progressive approach to activities for older Maldivian children who “watch over” younger siblings (including modelling older children with disabilities caring for younger ones), in which both have fun and learn. Research on appeal, interest and comprehension conducted with youth, and impact evaluation of the project up to three years after the campaign. Part of an early child development communication strategy aimed at children, older siblings and adults (14).  Download book


Themes: child survival and development, child protection, diversity



Be Prepared/Let’s Sell Together - Series of books, 2007, written by Myanmar adolescents, produced by UNICEF Myanmar


Based on real experiences of disadvantaged and vulnerable youth to support “life skills and literacy development”. Topics include: bullying, disaster preparedness, HIV risk and peer pressure. Low-literacy, high-interest and appropriate for non-formal education and out-of-school children.


Download Be Prepared   -   Download Let's Sell Together


Themes: child protection, basic education, gender equality, emergencies, resilience


14. Acharya, S.; Bhargava, V. (2004). First Steps…Maldives: A Giant Leap for Mankind! Evaluation of the ECCD Multi-media Campaign. UNICEF, Government of the Maldives.



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