SHKALA was the first Social and Behaviour Change Communications Forum. Held on the weekend of 30-31 May in Kyiv, it brought together leading international and Ukrainian experts on social marketing and behavioural science, and representatives of national and local civil society organizations, local authorities, state communications experts and corporate sector representatives. The Forum was organized by the European Union Project for Civil Society Development in Ukraine in partnership with UNICEF Ukraine.
The Forum was focused on best practice in communications for the non-profit and public sectors, campaigns for social change and behaviour change interventions. The Forum’s programmes included lectures from international and local experts, master classes, discussion panels, consultations from the leading Ukrainian creative agencies and a show case.
Anna Sukhodolska, Communications for Development Specialist at UNICEF Ukraine, made some comments about the uniqueness of the Forum for Ukraine:
“Seeing the need and demand for knowledge sharing in Ukraine, we resolved to establish such a platform with our partners from the EU Project. In recent years, communications have begun to flourish in the public and state sectors in Ukraine. Personally and professionally, I want these communications to become as efficient and effective as possible, and to be institutionalized in Ukraine. I believe that the time is now: possibilities are emerging to introduce the latest technologies in communications, our creativity is strong and there is demand from the public for social change. We just have to go out and do it to a high level that results in effective behavioural and social change”.
“It is a pleasure that the communication for development sector in Ukraine already has its own event, and there is something to talk about, to share and to display there,” says Anastasiya Nurzhynska, Expert on Communications at the EU Project for Civil Society Development in Ukraine. “We received more than 50 cases, but not just campaigns that contained beautiful visualization or ideas. We have received cases that led to real social change. This Forum is about communications that can be influential, that can result in social change.”
Anastasiya Nurzhynska, Expert on Communications at the EU Project for Civil Society Development in Ukraine, explains: “The United Kingdom, the United States, the Netherlands and France have behavioural science units and even advisers on behavioural change. Marketing agencies also have similar units. But there are no such units in Ukraine.
For the forum, we brought in two leading experts on behavioural science from Yale University and the London School of Economics. They gladly joined the Forum, and held master classes and lectures. We hope that the follow-through move will be for the Ukrainian organizations to pay attention to behavioural change methodology and use it in their planning, strategies and communications”.
Participants at the forum discussed a wide range of topics, including changes in public sector communications, the power of behavioural science, social marketing trends, the best global and local examples and tools for behaviour change, the psycho-types of Ukrainians, and ideas and design that change the world.
Saad B. Omer, MBBS MPH PhD, inaugural Director of the Yale Institute for Global Health, gave his perspective about communication in healthcare:
“To transform values into actions, you have to take a lot of steps. Fortunately tools – including various theories and research – on how to push people from intention to action have begun to emerge.
“When we communicate with parents who are not inclined to vaccinate their children, we should think of how to communicate about this. Often, when we talk about vaccination, it’s all about vaccination, but we forget about the disease. So, in order for people to be vaccinated, we recommend talking about diseases, about the dangers of this or that disease.
“But the communication must be correct. How should we reach people? Our role as communication experts is to reach people through values.”
Richard Hertz, UNICEF’s adviser on youth cooperation and partnership for U-Report Ukraine, shared insights on how to involve youth in social change projects:
“There is not yet an ideal option for attracting young people. Today, this is ‘uncharted territory’: this question is still to be answered.
“But they do not want to grow up, they have a low sense of responsibility. This is the problem, because social campaigns call for action, and millennials do not want to take responsibility.
“In Ukraine, we are stuck on using the ‘youth as a resource’ approach. We need to transform this into seeing ‘youth as a value’. Because if our youth are inactive, then in 10-15 years we will have very poor-quality social processes. That is why we should focus on young people as intrinsically valuable, and give them a ‘steering wheel’.”
Innovations Together: about communications for social change at SHKALA forum
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.