Communication for change programme
Promoting creative and innovative potential of young people
Rapidly evolving technological innovations in the 21st century have inspired faster speeds of communication, new ways of connecting and new channels of communication. These changes have been essential to our everyday life, opening up new ways for people to connect with each other and new opportunities for engaging people in social change.
Recognizing the power of effective communication and innovation in today’s world, UNICEF Thailand and the Social Innovation for Creative Society (SIY) organized the Communication for Change Programme for the UNICEF Youth Committee to empower young people with the knowledge and skills to develop innovative solutions by utilizing a mix of communication tools to facilitate engagement with communities and the wider society for positive social change.
The Communication for Change workshop began with participants learning about UNICEF Thailand’s five priority areas: (1) Social policy, (2) Child protection and children’s rights, (3) Education, (4) Emergencies and (5) Adolescent development and participation. Participants drew on the learning and concepts from the informational session to further develop their ideas based on their chosen topic of interest.
The goal of the programme is to enhance youth potential in innovation and effective communication, through which young people can develop creative solutions to a problem. The workshop equips young people with key concepts around communication and development, helping them leverage their skills and talents during the ideation and solution phase of project design.
It is important to be able to communicate the impact of an idea as well as to understand how one develops an idea. The design thinking method was utilized, involving eight stages of the creative process (e.g. matching, linking, brainstorming, synthesizing, reversing perspective, scaling and finding a balance) and demonstrating how young people can use this approach in everyday life. A communication canvas was also introduced to provide a framework on how to identify communication objectives, messages, audiences, channels and impact measurement, aiding in the development of activity design and purposeful planning.
Seven youth groups were formed during this process and their proposed ideas for communication for social change are as follows:
- “Adventure to Equality” Exhibition – the goal of the exhibition is to raise awareness among local authorities to provide the necessary support to all groups of children so that every child can have equal and equitable access to quality and inclusive education. Taking a journey through four situational rooms, each room will enhance one’s understanding of the situational context and challenges faced by different vulnerable groups of children in school settings.
- “Children’s Rights Board Game” – a fun and educational board game to inform young children about their basic rights, values and information on the relevant agencies working towards the advancement of children’s rights. The board game could also come in the form of storybooks.
- “Help Me Please! Save the Children” social media campaign to raise awareness on how to report violence against children. The campaign aims to create an understanding on what type of situations should be reported and which hotlines to call to report incidents.
- “Creating Equal Access to Education for Migrant Children” campaign to raise awareness on the challenges and barriers to education faced by migrant children through the use of viral videos, Ted Talk format conferences and exchange forums.
- “Diversity in Classrooms” – increase recognition of diversity in classrooms, targeting educators, through four key activities, including (1) Mockup Classroom – a role reversal from educator to student, getting to know what it is like to be a student nowadays; (2) Workshop on the theory of eight multiple intelligences; (3) Ted Talk, Speak Out – a forum to exchange viewpoints on education; and (4) Progress update to be published through a podcast and social media.
- “Open Voice” website to gather voices from young people from different regions of Thailand. The website will reflect the challenges and problems faced by youth. The goal of the website is to collect and disseminate voices of young people across the country and ensure that their contribution is used meaningfully by decision-makers locally and nationally. An AI chatbot will also be used to help amplify the reach of the programme.
- “Emergencies: COVID-19 Prevention” – improve access to COVID-19 information among marginalized groups of people by producing multilingual resources, updating real-time information on social media and making information more readily available in areas that do not have internet.
After the submission of ideas by each group, an innovation marketplace was hosted for children and youth to exchange their views and vote on their favourite project. The marketplace aims to boost the creative confidence of young people by encouraging them to challenge their own ideas and assumptions and to feel confident in communicating their iterative journey with their peers. “Adventure to Equality” exhibition received the most votes in the contest.
Children and youth reflected that every communication innovation that came up during the workshop has the potential to be brought into reality. The frameworks and tools from the workshop can be used to further improve and develop communication activities and create wider engagement with children, youth and adults for positive social and behavioural change.
This article was originally published in Thai. English translation by Monthalee Songphatanayothin.