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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Bangladesh: C4D Evaluation - Bangladesh Case Study

Executive summary

With the aim to continuously improve transparency and use of evaluation, UNICEF Evaluation Office manages the "Global Evaluation Reports Oversight System (GEROS)". Within this system, an external independent company reviews and rates all evaluation reports. The quality rating scale for evaluation reports is as follows: “Highly Satisfactory”, “Satisfactory”, “Fair” or “Unsatisfactory”. You will find the link to the quality rating below, labelled as ‘Part 2’ of the report, and the executive feedback summary labelled as ‘Part 3’.


Communication for development (C4D) is the application of the principles of effective communication to further development objectives. UNICEF is one of the lead international agencies in promoting and using C4D as a cross-cutting programme strategy to drive positive behavioural and social change. It applies C4D across a variety of sector-specific issues, such as open defecation, exclusive breastfeeding for the prevention of HIV and AIDS and communicating with disaster-affected communities in humanitarian emergencies. Most recently, C4D was integral to the response to the Ebola epidemic. 

In recognition of the importance of C4D, UNICEF has made substantial investments in developing both its internal capacity and the capacity of national partners in designing and implementing C4D strategies. It has also taken significant steps towards better integrating C4D as a cross-cutting programme strategy into systems, policies, plans and practices at all levels of the organisation.

Given UNICEF’s investment in C4D to date, the recent decision to fund further capacity development through the C4D Strengthening Initiative, and the ongoing evolution of C4D internally, a global evaluation was commissioned to look back over the past five years of capacity building efforts and identify what has worked, areas for improvement and lessons learnt. The findings of the evaluation will guide future work in implementing C4D in UNICEF and strengthen its contribution to country programme results. This is the country case study report for Bangladesh.  


The country case studies had four main objectives (these link to the four objectives of the overall global evaluation):

  1. To assess the relevance, effectiveness and efficiency of the CO’s efforts to (a) develop the individual knowledge and competences of staff in C4D and (b) enhance the CO’s overall capacity.
  2. To assess the extent to which, and how appropriately, C4D has been integrated into the CO structures and programmes.
  3. To assess how relevant C4D-related planning and implementation has been (including through use of the global C4D benchmarks) to the contextual needs of the country programme and identify factors driving or constraining the relevance of C4D-related planning and programming.
  4. To review C4D-related performance monitoring and knowledge management and assess the evaluability of results (outcomes and impact) achieved through programmes using C4D interventions.


The assessment of capacity development looks at the efforts of UNICEF’s Bangladesh country office (BCO) to build its internal capacity on C4D through accessing global support (e.g. the C4D course at the University of Ohio) and CO-led activities. UNICEF’s understanding of improved capacity includes both changes to individuals’ knowledge and practices on C4D and changes to the CO’s overall organisational capacity to implement C4D. 

In order to assess the extent of C4D integration in CO structures and programming, the evaluation focused on a number of factors, including the extent to which there was a clear C4D strategy and vision across the country programme; how this strategy/vision has been reflected in core planning documents and processes; the extent and quality of reporting on C4D; the appropriateness of how the C4D function has been structured to deliver on the strategy and plans; the level of resourcing for C4D and the processes for resource mobilisation; and the ways in which C4D and external communications work together.  

The evaluation assessed implementation from three different angles. First, it looked across the five sectors of UNICEF Bangladesh’s work and summarised the progress made in relation to C4D. Second, it looked at implementation from the perspective of the CO’s performance against a set of global C4D benchmarks. Lastly, it distilled a set of findings about building partner capacity on C4D. Together, this provides a rounded picture of what UNICEF is accomplishing on C4D and the lessons it is learning. 

Evaluability  was assessed by looking at whether it is possible in principle to evaluate the impact of a C4D intervention and whether it is possible to evaluate the intervention in practice. Evaluability was assessed at two levels: at the level of the BCO Results Assessment Matrix (RAM) as a whole and at the level of two programmes with significant C4D components.

Findings and Conclusions:

  • Both the Ohio C4D course and the UPenn social norms courses have been relevant and well aligned to individual and BCO needs, as UNICEF Bangladesh is operating in a context with significant social norms challenges and where creation of demand and behaviour change at community level is key. The BCO regards C4D as one of the key means to address these issues. 
  • While an overarching C4D strategy for the new country programme is still in development, UNICEF Bangladesh has a clear strategy for counterpart capacity development and systems strengthening. 
  • C4D is well integrated in key BCO documents such as the 2015 Situational Analysis and the 2012–16 country programme document (its has its own outcome and contributes to sections’ outputs). The C4D Section is also relatively well embedded in core BCO planning processes. 
  • There has been significant C4D-related activity across sectors, with some notable or emerging successes over the years, such as significant progress on reduction of diarrhoeal deaths, immunisation, open defecation, enrolment in primary education and, increasingly, child marriage. The specific C4D contributions to the above are many but include mass media campaigns, especially the use of Meena, the popular children’s character promoting gender equality (inter alia), and the use of interactive popular theatre (IPT) and other participatory techniques like community dialogues.
  • It is possible neither in principle nor in practice to evaluate C4D results in the Bangladesh 2012–16 country programme.  C4D work is almost invisible in the RAM so extracting the detail of the C4D work being done within all the programme sections, and isolating it in order to track, analyse and evaluate it, is challenging. Furthermore, the C4D-related indicators are low quality and often do not measure the results they are proxies for.


  1. UNICEF Bangladesh should build on the substantial C4D training already done, by adding a few smaller-scale specialised courses/workshops to build internal capacity.
  2. UNICEF Bangladesh should consider reducing the amount of community engagement work done directly by its C4D field officers and refocusing them on training and systems strengthening in C4D.
  3. UNICEF Bangladesh should redouble its efforts to mobilise financial resources for C4D within sectors.
  4. UNICEF Bangladesh should not renew Engaging Communities as a stand-alone programme.
  5. UNICEF Bangladesh should redouble its efforts to adopt an open, flexible style of interaction over C4D with partners.
  6. UNICEF BCO should consider commissioning a review/assessment of Meena.
  7. UNICEF Bangladesh should ensure C4D results are presented clearly in the results matrix for the new CPD.
  8. UNICEF Bangladesh should consider investing further in evaluation of its C4D interventions.
  9. UNICEF Bangladesh should ensure the results of the evaluation of the Engaging Communities programme are widely publicised and lessons are learnt from it.

Full report in PDF

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Report information





Participation (Cross-cutting)

UNICEF Bangladesh Country Office


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