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Evaluation database

Evaluation report

2016 Nigeria: Communication for development: an evaluation of UNICEF’s capacity and action

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’.


C4D is concerned with contributing to and achieving behavioural and social change by amplifying people’s voices through communication approaches and tools. The ultimate goal of C4D is to enable positive social transformation through influencing political and social support systems and enabling individual and collective engagement and participation. C4D is a fundamental approach to UNICEF’s rights-based programming and achieving its development goals.
Central to UNICEF’s approach to C4D is that communication strategies should be human rights-based and empower people to take action and advocate for positive social change; participatory and appropriately tailored to the context; and evidence-based and grounded in a clear understanding of social and behavioural data. For UNICEF C4D is a systematic, planned and evidence-based process to promote behaviour and social change.
What C4D is in practice varies; UNICEF applies a range of approaches to a variety of sector-specific thematic issues (health, nutrition, water and sanitation hygiene (WASH), education, child protection etc.) to drive positive behavioural and social change. Key social problems that use C4D strategies include: ending open defecation, promoting exclusive breastfeeding for the prevention of HIV and AIDS, infectious disease prevention and control (e.g. polio, malaria, diarrhoea, cholera, Ebola, Zika, avian and pandemic flu etc.), fostering education enrolment and retention, adolescent health and participation, and communicating with disaster-affected communities in humanitarian emergencies. How UNICEF applies C4D in practice can be grouped into four broad approaches.


The purpose of the global evaluation of UNICEF’s capacity and action in C4D is to generate credible and useful evidence on the requirements for successful implementation of C4D to strengthen UNICEF’s future action and results in this area. The findings will guide future work in implementing C4D in UNICEF and strengthen its contribution to country programme results. It will also feed into the development of UNICEF’s next Strategic Plan 2018–21 and the formulation of an updated C4D strategy/framework and related guidance. Finally, the evaluation will help inform UNICEF’s engagement in the wider development communication community, and position the organisation for C4D related contributions to advance the post 2015 sustainable development agenda and children’s rights in the coming years.


The evaluation is formative35 and focused on identifying improvements and learning on C4D. It is also theory based and built around testing the theory of change that underpinned UNICEF’s efforts to build capacity and integrate C4D in programming. The evaluation used case studies and desk reviews to explore and compare how UNICEF’s theory of change for C4D capacity development and integration played out in a sample of 25 countries.
More section provides details on the main elements of the evaluation design in the report.

Findings and Conclusions:

Behaviour and social change is central to all areas of UNICEF’s work. Recognising the centrality of C4D to its work, UNICEF has made substantial investment in developing its internal capacity and mainstreaming C4D as a cross-cutting programme strategy at all levels of the organisation. The evaluation has found that UNICEF’s efforts to build internal C4D capacity have been largely successful. Through a range of initiatives, UNICEF has created a cadre of professional staff that have the knowledge and skills in C4D to support and advise others in the organisation and externally. This has helped cement UNICEF’s reputation among partners as a leader in C4D. However, the extent to which improved capacity has led to greater integration of C4D at all levels within UNICEF and, in turn, improved the quality of C4D implementation is mixed. Particularly at the country level, the evaluation found that the level of C4D integration in country office planning, resources and monitoring was frequently insufficient to meet the needs of the country programme. While implementation was good, it varied significantly across countries. The main reasons for this are a combination of factors: an absence of adequate financial allocations to C4D, uneven senior management support (particularly among section chiefs) for C4D, and limited investment in building an evidence base on the impact of C4D strategies and interventions. Moving forward, these need to be priority areas for action for UNICEF to build on the gains it has made to date, and to mainstream C4D and ensure consistent high quality C4D implementation across the organisation.


  1. UNICEF should expand the understanding of, and secure more support for C4D as an organizational strategy among a wider range of staff at HQ, RO and CO levels.
  2. To strengthen institutionalisation of C4D as a cross-cutting issue, C4D should be given a higher profile as an implementation strategy in the next Strategic Plan 2018-2021 and country offices should be required to better integrate C4D into strategic planning, reporting and budgeting processes and to put in place mechanisms to ensure C4D has a more sustainable funding base. This should be supported by regional offices and HQ.
  3. Develop an internal strategy to engage with senior managers at all levels of the organization and support them in understanding the value of C4D.
  4. Consider offering a combination of both general C4D and sector specific courses and support.

Read more in the report.

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