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1. Process of drawing up of a multimedia communication strategy

Today the design of effective communication strategies can only be done with a blend of rigour, professionalism, team work, participation and creativity. This approach follows the basic precepts of sound planning:

Furthermore, the drawing up of such strategies should draw on acquired experience in Communication for Development.

Finally, it is important to note that communication for development aims at a change in (or adoption of) by a target group and, on a longer-term basis, at social change. From this point of view, sustainable behavioural change is a long-term proposition and involves, in addition to issues of communication, other factors such as the availability, accessibility and quality of services, the socio-cultural and political context, the level of education and the socio-economic circumstances. In the African context, it also supposes a certain amount of social change, given the influences of relations and social structures on the individual. The following steps are taken.

The Process of Behavioural Change: Audiences and Possible Communication Strategies

Source: WB, 1999: 16

As the following two figures show, there is a clear relationship between communication and behavioural change.

Fig. 1: Percentage of men and women using modern contraceptives, per channel of communication which have reached them

Fig. 2: Percentage of men and women using modern contraceptives, per step of behavioural change followed (idem, 1994)

Before proceeding to the methodology for drawing up communication for development strategies, it would be useful to specify the notion of strategy in the area of communication and to recall briefly some planning models used in Communication for Development strategies.

Box Number 5: The Notion of Communication Strategy

In communication for development, the strategy provides a framework encompassing the combination of communication activities which can induce the changes in terms of knowledge, opinions, attitudes, beliefs or behaviour in the target community that are necessary for solving a development problem, within a given (and often medium-term) time-table and taking available resources into account. The strategy can be seen as a commitment and a pointer for mobilising and orienting the activities and energies of the various partners.

There is thus a distinction to be made between:

1.1 Planning models for a communication for development strategy

Among the dozens of models in the available literature are:

1- Assess
2- Plan
3- Draft, pre-test and produce
4- Deliver
5- Monitor and evaluate.

1- Analyse
2- Strategic design
3- Develop, pre-test, review and produce
4- Manage, implement and monitor
5- Evaluate impact.

1- Evaluate/Plan: Research; Strategise; Pre-test; Final Plan
2- Intervene: Produce; Distribute
3- Monitor: Audit Process; Evaluate Products; Evaluate Impact.

1- Identify the communication and programme objectives
2- Select audience groups and order by priority
3- Identify the desired changes in each audience
4- Identify the environmental factors favourable or unfavourable to desired changes
5- Determine the types of IEC activities necessary to provoke changes
6- Present the major thrusts of key messages and their strategies
7- Determine the range of channels of communication
8- Identify organisational and management strategies (including monitoring and evaluation)
9- Calculate the amount of resources necessary for these activities
10- Make a realistic schedule and chronology for all steps
11- Re-examine the strategy, adapt it and let it be adopted.

1- Analysis
2- Strategy
3- Mobilisation
4- Action
5- Evaluation
6- Continuity

A comparative analysis of these different models shows a number of commonalities, to the extent that there are always two major phases: An analysis of the current situation (the preliminary phase), and the development of a communication Plan or Strategy (the design phase and preparation of implementation).

1.2 The generic process of planning a communication for development strategy

The process of planning a communication for development strategy has a number of steps for drawing up and implementing the strategies, as summarised in the following table.

Figure 1: The process of planning and implementation of communication

A more detailed representation of the process is shown below.

Box Number 6: plan and implement a communication for development strategy

Figure 4 gives a clear picture of the actual phase of planning, which is the major focus of this document.

Figure 4: The process of planning a communication for development strategy

At this stage, it is useful to explain how to carry out each of these stages, namely:

- How to analyse the situation

- How to draw up the multimedia communication strategy

- How to plan its implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

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