August 28, 2007

Communication challenge is to convert information to 'knowledge to action'

‘Knowledge and information are central to democracy and are essential for people to successfully respond to the opportunities and challenges of social, economic and technological changes. But to be useful, knowledge and information must be effectively communicated to people.’ Probably a statement which brings lays importance to the context of development communication. But the issue of discussion here is that we have to not only ensure that the information is disseminated, people are engaged in dialogue, and the information gets converted into knowledge, which is a complex process, not easy but more importantly it is to transform the same towards social action. Converting the information to knowledge and that to action is a major challenge of today’s communication efforts. This is a complex process and needs that enabling environment which complements the change to happen.

There is lot of talk on need to increase awareness or promote behaviours, but then what? Even if one has access to information and is motivated to adapt that positive behavior, but does the environment permits that change or much needed services provide that back up.

‘Involving people and Evolving Behaviour, a book on the issue interestingly points this out clearly and states that ‘All the people wanting to make changes in their lives face the resistance of their family, peers and community. Health services are often inadequate for their needs or insensitive to their situation. The education system often fails them. They may also face religious, cultural, economic, or social pressures or a lack of structural and legislative support-that constrain their freedom to choose healthy and safe options.’ The book further adds that the programmes can gain far greater impact by building on existing cultural, social and other factors which support safe and healthy choices, for example, in discouraging the use of tobacco or alcohol. When we talk of communication we therefore need to think in much broader terms, beyond the individual whose behaviour we are concerned about. Be it immunization, girl’s education, promoting positive practices of hand washing, breastfeeding, or talking about HIV/AIDS. We have to do much more than develop individuals, knowledge, motivation and skills to be effective. The need is to focus on creating a supportive and enabling environment for these individuals. All communication talks and efforts need to build on those aspects of the environment which are supportive to positive behaviour and minimize or change those which are negative or resistant.’

August 27, 2007

Asia, the leading driver of global media market

As per the latest WAN report, the newspaper circulation in Asia is up by 3.61per cent over the previous year. Besides India, sales are found escalating in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Korea, and down in Taiwan and Japan.

WORLD ASSOCIATION OF Newspaper (WAN) released its annual survey of world press trends to more than 1,600 publishers, editors and other senior newspaper executives, who came from 109 countries to attend the 60th World Newspaper Congress and the 14th World Editors’ Forum in Cape Town recently.

As per the report average readership has been estimated to be more than 1.4 billion people each day. More than 515 million people buy a newspaper everyday, up from 488 million readers recorded in 2002.

The number of people buying newspaper remains slightly higher than the Internet users. In 2007 alone the global number of Internet users is expected to rise from 1.13 to 1.23 billion people. Besides that percentage rise in case of Internet users have been much higher than the newspaper readers. In 2002 there were only about 600 million Internet users.

Indian Asian News Service and Press Trust of India stated on the WAN report that worldwide the newspaper circulation rose 2.3 per cent in 2006 with Indian sales increased 12.93 per cent. An increase in the newspaper sale has been witnessed in almost all continents including Asia, Europe, Africa and South America except North America, which registered a decline in the sales.

Last year advertising revenues in paid dailies had been found up 3.77 per cent. China, Japan and India account for 60 of the world’s 100 best-selling dailies, while the five largest markets for newspapers are China, India, Japan, the US and Germany.

In Asia, circulation is up by 3.61 per cent over the previous year. Besides India sales are found up in China, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Korea, and down in Taiwan and Japan.

Interestingly not only newspapers even digi-media market in Asia is also catching up rapidly. Asia Digital Marketing Association (ADMA), the voice of the digital marketing industry in Asia, also released its 2007 Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Yearbook online. It is a vital source for marketers, advertisers, media buyers and anyone looking for leveraging the power of digital media in the region. The total number of broadband users and market penetration is the highest in APAC region. The region boasts the largest number of Internet users, surpassing the US and Europe. 36 per cent of the world’s online population now lives in Asia, and mobile penetration in this region is also higher than anywhere else in the world, with more Asian users accessing the Internet over their mobile phones than the entire US Internet population.

Asia is driving the digital marketing industry too. Merrill Lynch predicts that global online advertisement spend will reach US$14.5 billion in 2007. That represents an increase of 24 per cent from 2006 – and Asia will be the driving engine. In Asia the highest growth rate in 2007 is being predicted to come from China at 50 per cent, Australia at 42.6 per cent, South Korea at 30.5 per cent and Japan at 30 per cent.

August 26, 2007

LSACA takes HIV messaging to grassroots (Nigeria)

In effort to check the spread of HIV and AIDS in Lagos State, stakeholders at the grassroots level, last week gathered in Lagos to deliberate on more effective way to design HIV and AIDS messages that would directly impact on Nigerians in the local communities.

No fewer than 70 people participated in the Behaviour Change Communication Training workshop for community based organizations (CBOs) and public sector workers/workshop for development of posters, handbills and training manuals for use in Lagos State organized by the Ministry of Information and Strategy, Lagos State in collaboration with Lagos State AIDS Control Agency in Lagos from August 16 through 20.

Addressing participants, Head of Project at the Lagos State AIDS Control Agency (LSACA), Dr. Olusegun Ogboye explained that HIV & AIDS messages geared to check the spread of the virus which is currently in use had been designed by people who are not from the communities they were meant to serve, Hence, the misconception of the information in such posters, handbills, among others.

Ogboye said messages to check HIV transmission should be designed by the people for whom it is meant or with the contribution of the people for whom it is meant, ‘so that it will pass the message it is meant to disseminate.’ The current training is expected to expose participants to how to communicate effectively in the design of messages to HIV messages and consequently promote the adoption of positive behaviour among the people of the state.

He hinted that the objective of the workshop include to assist participants acquire the necessary skill, knowledge and confidence to carry out strategic communication campaign on HIV/AIDS in their communities and work places.

Reaching over the language barrier

JAMES CITY - Last September, a water main broke in James City County, possibly contaminating the water supply of 17,000 residents. For three days, locals were ordered to boil their tap water, or not use it at all.

That same week, Gloria Morales said she was alarmed to hear of Hispanic families using the water to cook, or mixing it with their babies' formula.They weren't intentionally violating the boil order, she said. They just didn't know.

"All the information available was only in English," she said.

Since then, Morales, coordinator of the nonprofit Network for Latino People, has been working with local authorities on an emergency preparedness plan for the Hispanic community in the Williamsburg area. The Hispanic population in Williamsburg, James City County and York County is estimated at about 3 percent of the total population, according to U.S. Census data.

While local emergency responders have been receptive to the plan, Morales said many didn't know how to reach non-English speakers, or realize that language could be an issue in a disaster situation.

"When we think of people with special needs, we think of people with disabilities, or even with pets," said Jan Tobias, a volunteer with Lutheran Disaster Response. "We don't necessarily think of people that are non-English speaking."

To help the Hispanic community be prepared, Morales has translated emergency information into Spanish, and placed Spanish-language brochures in places already familiar to the Hispanic community, such as the James City County Human Services Center.

Morales identified 12 apartment complexes in Williamsburg, James City County and York County with large concentrations of Hispanic residents, and found people in each who agreed to help notify their communities in the event of a disaster.

She's also worked with James City County District Fire Chief Bob Ryalls to ensure that future emergency notifications go out in English and Spanish on local public television and the county's Web site. Ryalls said two Spanish-language radio stations have also been added to the county's list of media contacts for emergency bulletins.

Next week, a version of this year's hurricane preparedness guide for James City County, York County and Williamsburg should be available in Spanish. "Having seen Dean go across the Caribbean, we want to make sure that's in the process of being distributed," Ryalls said. There have also been efforts to make language less of a barrier by ensuring interpreters and translators will be available in the event of a disaster. Network for Latino People launched a Community and Medical Interpretation Services program in July, which provides 15 trained bilingual English/Spanish interpreters for use by hospitals, law enforcement or community groups.

Local emergency personnel have also made the effort to become more familiar with Spanish. James City County police officers took a basic Spanish class for law enforcement, and carry cards with them that translate common phrases, police spokesman Mike Spearman said. James City County's fire department completed 16 hours of conversational Spanish training and are looking into further instruction at Thomas Nelson Community College, Ryalls said. A group of Williamsburg firefighters and medics are currently taking Spanish classes at Thomas Nelson, according to District Chief Jim Murphy.

"It's important to be able to converse with them in their own language," Ryalls said. "It's been very beneficial for our operational staff." Still, there have been obstacles. A workshop planned to educate the local Hispanic community about emergency resources was canceled this year when no one showed up. Morales said distrust and fears about immigration status keep many in the community from taking advantages of services. "That was part of my agenda, to explain, 'Don't be afraid,'" she said.

Ryalls said emergency information - in any language - is only as good as people's commitment to put it into practice. He said once organizations make the information available, it is up to citizens to get themselves and their families prepared. "We want to put the message out," he said. "We want them to know what to do in an emergency. Because we know the ability ... to respond to every call that comes in is going to be delayed."

August 19, 2007

Gambia: The Role of Targets-Based Development Communication in Rural Development

Suruwa B. Wawa Jaiteh
Published in The Daily Observer (Banjul)

This is a shallow basis for rural development, which is a prerequisite for sustainable poverty reduction and the attainment of the Vision 2020 goals.

The challenge then is to awaken an inner sense of commitment to self improvement as the basis for sustainable rural development. The task of participatory and persuasive communication is therefore to stimulate the rural beneficiaries to reflect upon their relationship to the larger society in that any improvement in their own lives and environment is thus an integral part of larger societal development. The rural population must recognize first their own worth as individual contributors to the upliftment of the masses. Their skills, talent and energies must be seen as crucial to rural development. They must know that their individual destinies are intricately bound to the destiny of not only the rural areas but of the nation. This feeling of self worth, of having something of value to develop, is perhaps the key to commitment, involvement and ultimately change in the rural areas. Again, these intangible factors which shape attitudes are elusive and sometimes abstract. These factors are deeply rooted in self concept and perception. The way an individual relates and reacts to this environment is determined and qualified by his perception of himself in relation to his society. African societies tend to provide a greater sense of security and belonging as compared to more individualistic societies. It is, therefore, an additional task of the adult educator to reverse the colonial mentality by redefining the Gambian personality from an indigenous base. These are very subtle but powerfull force in persuasive communication. The implications for development are boundless. The dignity of the common man must be reestablished and harnessed as a strategy for rural development. Aspects of traditional life in the rural areas that may be of value in extension education programme are traditional occupations such as farming, local medicine, carpentry, metal work, carving, pottery making, canoe making, fishing and numerous others. These occupations can in many ways serve the cause of rural development. In ignoring the value of such skills and the functions they serve within rural areas, the extension educator (persuasive communicator) unknowingly and inadvertently will diffuse the inherent value systems of the rural folk.

The integration of traditional and western technologies is an example of integrated approach. This raises the possibility of more positive attitude change through recognition and acceptance of (effective) local technologies combined with western technologies. Instead of persuading and convincing rural populations that all local remedies are useless, people may respond more through an approach, which alienates them less, involves them more and thus indirectly raises and improves food security consciousness and food security practices. Extension education should find ways to integrate other traditional occupations into the realm of development.

Two levels of change will emerge. First, the inner attitudinal changes expressed through involvement, participation, commitment and responsibility. And secondly, concrete achievement and improvement in the environment.

It is a mistake assumption to believe that only educational and technical skills are needed for development.


Communication - induced attitude change must successfully motivate people for positive action. Motivation is the process of arousing behaviour. It accounts for the purposiveness of behaviour. Each individual has urges and needs that move him or her to act and cope. Human behaviour is directed by unfulfilled drives, purposes or needs. Maslow (1962, 1970, 1971) postulated a hierarchy of basic human needs.

They can be classified under the following five headings: -

1. Physiological needs - basic human needs such as food, clothing and shelter.

2. Security - the need to be free of physical danger or the danger of being deprived of ways to meet the basic physiological needs.

3. Social (or affiliative) - the need to be accepted by other human beings, to belong and to have the approval of others.

4. Esteem - the need to be recognised by others through the granting of status, prestige and power.

5. Self-actualisation - the need to fulfill one's potential, or to do what one believes is important from his own point of view.

Physiological necessities are the primary order of need in the hierarchy. Only after the basic need has been met reasonably well does the next higher level of need develop enough to motivate the individual. Individuals are of course motivated by a number of needs and any-one may predominate at a given time.

There are at least two sets of variables at play in all production systems - input as well as the output situations. They comprise the internal conditions embodying the needs, purposes and perceptions of each producer (the farmer) and the external conditions of the environment. It is the goal of the frontline extension agent to analyse and target the internal needs of the producer in relation to those of the environment.

The needs and role perception of the producer must include his role as a citizen, a consumer and developer of resources and products and as a worker producing goods and services.

For rural populations, the fulfillment of physiological needs and security are the predominant sources of motivation. The crucial task of communication in this regard is to motivate people to better utilize their environmental resources to fulfill their needs. This is a complex process because it will mean motivation for production beyond a subsistence level and will require more participation and self reliance. Rural development is defined as improving living standards of the low income population residing in the rural areas and making the process of their development self sustaining. Once the individual is able to master his environment to supply his needs of food, clothing and shelter, he will begin to concentrate on satisfying higher order needs such as self-actualization. If an individual becomes more secure, he may begin to develop his activities and skills to benefit himself and his community. Communication for motivation, therefore, must trigger this chain of development. It is an internal mechanism that is unfortunately tenuous. In development parlance this is the only self-reliant strategy for farmer empowerment.

To tap human potential, motivation theories contend that opportunities must be provided for people to satisfy their higher needs through work, responsibility and self direction. Motivation for this purpose must be goal directed, essentially targets-based.

The general motivation theory that best defines this assumption is expectancy theory. Briefly, expectancy theory states that a person will perform some behaviour if that behaviour is likely to lead to some desired outcomes. The existence of desired outcomes translate into goal directed behaviour. Communication for motivational change must therefore operate from a set of shared desired outcomes (goals) in order to reach the target audience.

Relevant Goals for Rural Development

- Agricultural development.

- Improved living conditions.

- Preventive health care/practices.

- Income generating activities.

- Literacy.

- Development of Crafts/Skills.

- Child care.

- Cooperatives and many others.

Care must be taken to incorporate the fulfillment of both lower and higher needs. For, it is through the actualization of higher needs that rural development can be facilitated.

Persuasive Communication

The relationship or significance of persuasive communication to rural development should be clear. The concept of persuasive communication here is understood in terms of a unifying principle, the broad framework of which attitude change and motivation are a part. Strategies for persuasive communication must invariably develop or change behaviour by altering a disposition that controls it. The interaction of the variables which underlie processes of attitude change and motivational behaviour have provided the basis for effective persuasive communication. We can anticipate that strategies for changing attitudes focus on changing either the underlying belief or the value premise. Research in this area has revealed that the likelihood of attitude change depends on the following:-

- The properties of the attitudes that an individual brings to the situation.

- The broader characteristics of the transmission situation itself such as the properties of the persuasive message.

- The properties of the agent that transmits the message, or the source, and

- To a lesser extent, properties of the setting of social context in which transmission occurs.

Some types of persuasive messages are more effective than others in achieving attitude change. The basic appeals in a message (especially to values), and he organization or presentation of the argument as well as other aspects have been examined with a view to discovering the formal properties of elements that are most powerful in inducing change. From this field of inquiry, one major aspect of the persuasive message is recognized for its importance. This is the relationship between the content of the message and the motivational basis on which the attitude rests. This principle can be stated thus: 'the type of message that is likely to be most effective in inducing attitude must fit the attitude structure, being relevant to the motivational basis of the attitude, yet involving new novel arguments against which the individual has little counter information."

Community radio goes live in Rajasthan

Kalyan Singh Kothari

“This is community radio Aapno FM Radio Bansthali on 90.4 MHz live phone-in programme! Best wishes for empowerment and social change.” With these words, Cecillo Adorna, Country Representative UNICEF, recently inaugurated the ‘live’ project of Bansthali Vidhyapeeth and UNICEF at Bansthali, Niwai tehsil, in Tonk district of Rajasthan.

Community radio has been functioning on the university campus since January 2005, reaching 50 villages in and around Bansthali within a radius of 10-15 kilometres. The FM Radio Station that broadcasts for three hours daily has now been extended to six. The programmes focus on topics of education, health, environment, agriculture, rural and community development.

Local anchor Meenaxi Udawat and youth volunteer Ranglal Sainer of Chikana village and Nirmla of Badodiya village, trained in radio production, expressed their experiences at the inaugural session. “Our world has completely changed after coming here for training. Earlier we were afraid to even speak out in public but now we feel confident to express the sentiments and thoughts of our community,” they said.

Village youth volunteers (VYV) from Niwai block have been associated with community radio project since its inception. Around 100 VYVs were given training in how to assess community needs for audience preferences on radio programmes.

In this training workshop, they were exposed to basics of the medium, various programme formats, studio production and field research, how to write scripts, and presentation of interactive programmes – like interviews, discussion, anchoring, phone-ins, skits, dramas and music-based shows.

Sixty-four students of Bansthali Vidhyapeeth have also undergone training in production of radio programmes.

While launching the ‘Live phone-in-programme’ Adorna said that community radio is a truly participative communication tool that allows people to decide their information and entertainment needs in a way that is unique, exciting and empowering for them. It allows them to become “change agents and not merely the subjects of change.”

Hailing the community radio project as “an example of integrated behaviour change in communication programme” Adorna said that the objective was to demonstrate the potential of this new medium for bringing about behavioural change in the community using local language, idiom, culture and entertainment.

He also appreciated that the village volunteers, who emerged from the participatory process, were to be leaders of this project; thereby building their capacity and sustaining their interest in behaviour change communication.

The community radio project operational under the guidance of NGO partner CEDECS, is also a part of ‘Gram Shakti’ – the integrated Village Planning Project supported by UNICEF and the District Administration in Tonk district. Under Gram Shakti project, village planning exercises and follow-up of development plans have been completed in all of 1,044 villages of Tonk.

In Niwai block, where the community radio project is functional, village development plans have been completed in 191 villages – 50 of which fall in the vicinity of the community radio. In these villages, volunteers act as community links and facilitators for the radio listeners’ groups set up in the villages.

A survey was undertaken in these 50 villages in Niwai block to assess the radio listening habits of the audiences who tune in to Aapno Radio Bansthali. Over 3,000 households were contacted. Findings revealed that 60.5% of the people have access to radio and almost 78% of population comprised regular listeners.

While delivering the presidential address, Professor Diwakar Shastri, Chairman of Bansthali Vidhyapeeth said, “Community radio in India faces three constraints. First, their reach is quite limited as compared to other FM radios. Second, they cannot include any programme on news and current affairs in their repertoire. This limits their effectiveness. The last constraint is that they cannot air advertisements. While city-based FM radios are minting money, the agencies running community radios have to do with its own resources.”

Dr Satish Kumar, Rajasthan State UNICEF Representative added that evaluation of the impact of radio programme messages on audiences would be carried out during December 2007 - March 2008.

August 18, 2007

Programme to check rising dengue cases launched in Kuala Lumpur

The nation's capital has launched the Communication For Behavioural Impact (COMBI) programme aimed at increasing public awareness on the danger of dengue fever, said Federal Territories Minister Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique.

“COMBI is part of our one-year campaign against dengue in Kuala Lumpur which had the second-highest number of cases after Selangor. I am confident the COMBI programme will be effective in reducing dengue cases,” he said when launching the programme here today. Zulhasnan said Kuala Lumpur registered 125 dengue cases last week and this was not good for the tourism industry.

The COMBI programme, conducted by the Federal Territory Health Department and Kuala Lumpur City Hall, emphasised on preventive measures including random checks. COMBI was first introduced by the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the dengue outbreak in Johor Baru six years ago and was proven to be effective. Currently, about 1,000 dengue fever cases are reported weekly nationwide, with some involving deaths.

Ref- The New Straits Times

'Use Of ORS' In Diarrhoea needs a push in Madhya Pradesh, India

Sharda, a three year old girl lost her life just few days back in a village in Sehore, about 40 kilometers away from Bhopal, capital city of the state of Madhya Pradesh. She was suffering with acute diarrhoea, and died of dehydration. She is not the only an isolated case, thousands of children die due to dehydration in diarrhoea in Madhya Pradesh and may be millions in India. Bhopal recently lost four lives due to cholera. Oral Rehydration salt solution can save many like Sharda. Every year on July 29 we observe ORS Day with aim to promote the use of Oral Rehydration salt and to educate the people about its use.

Oral Rehydration Salt is a dry mixture of powder containing Sodium Chloride, Trisodium Citrate dehydrate, Potassium Chloride and anhydrous glucose. It is used for prevention and treatment of dehydration due to diarrhoea including maintenance therapy. Acute diarrhoeal diseases are among the leading causes of mortality in infants and young children in India. In most cases, death is caused by dehydration. Dehydration from diarrhoea can be prevented by giving extra fluids at home, or it can be treated simply, effectively, and cheaply in all age-groups and in all but the most severe cases by giving patients by mouth an adequate glucose-electrolyte solution called Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) solution. Oral Rehydration Therapy was first researched in the 1940s but it was twenty years later before the idea was developed by research institutions in Bangladesh and India for the management of severe cholera. It was adopted in 1978 as primary tool to fight diarrhoea and since then has saved million of deaths of children, but still there is grave need to promotes its use and enhance its access.

National family Health Survey III reveals that in the developing State like Madhya Pradesh only 28.6 % children with diarrhoea in last two weeks had received the ORS. Madhya Pradesh has the highest infant mortality rate in India. 76 children die out of the thousand born within the first year of their life; diarrhoea is one of the contributors to the same. State also has high incidence of malnutrition among children especially under three years of age, when malnourished child suffers with diarrhoea it aggravates the situation and increase chances of his or her mortality.

It is an indicatio that there is an urgent need to expand awareness among communities on its importance, its use and enhance its accessibility for communities. Though officially State has many stocking points of ORS like Anganwadi centre's, sub health centre's and primary health care centre's but more important is its accessibility at time when it is needed and knowledge its right usage by the communities and parents of the children when they need the most. Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Madhya Pradesh's medium term strategy document states that diarrhoeal disease episodes per year is 760 per one lakh population and it projects that by year 2015 it will increase to 880 episodes per lakh.

This means that we not only need to expand usage of this inexpensive and readily available intervention in the state which can help reduce death and suffering from dehydration caused by diarrhoea. It will also help to reduce number of days of hospitalization, length of treatment and costly intravenous treatment. The tragedy is that inspite of the medical fraternity and many of us working in social sector know about its advantage as life saviour for children. Experience, research has validated the same and it was hailed by the prestigious British Journal, the Lancet as "…potentially the most important medical advance of the century…" children still die for want of this simple intervention. May be we need to go beyond our present efforts and need to rework out strategies and bridge the existing gap between information and knowledge and action by communities at ground or else we will continue to let children die…