Part IV: Implementation

Chapter 9: Producing the communication support materials

9.1 Need for a multidisciplinary team

The development of materials for communication usually calls for close collaboration between people who are not used to working together. Each person involved in the task must recognise the limits of his field of competence and be willing to consider another person's point of view.

For a long time, people continued to make the mistake of placing those responsible for development of the message also in charge of the development of support materials. Unfortunately, there are few nutritionists who are also creative graphic artists. One can also make the mistake of leaving too much of the design to the graphic or other artist. Professionals and technical personnel concerned with this phase must accept the notion of a team effort where each person's contribution is subject to constructive criticism for the overall good and success of the material.

This is why it is important to define clearly the role of each team member.

Need for a multidisciplinary team

9.2 Pretesting materials

The procedures for pretesting materials and messages are similar. Pretesting the message "One drink is sufficient, three means disaster" before placing it in support material is of fundamental importance. It is equally important to pretest the support material before large scale production for use in the field. Pretesting of materials can lead to redefinition of the message.

As described in Chapter 7, pretesting materials also calls for focus on the five characteristics of attention, comprehension, personal relevance, credibility and acceptability.

The methodology for pretesting is similar to that used in collecting data in the diagnostic phase. It should be recalled that focus groups (T.F. N°4) and in-depth personal interviews (T.F. N°3) can be used in pretesting messages and support materials.

Interviewing in a central location (T.F. N°2) can also prove useful for pretesting. The investigators go to a location frequented by the target audience and asks question about the relevant materials.

The self-administered questionnaire and the legibility test are two other methods often used in pretesting of materials.

Pretesting materials

TECHNICAL FILE No. 8: Writing/rewriting materials

The following guidelines will assist you in writing or rewriting materials for low-literate adults:


1. Write simply, using familiar, commonly used words

2. Write personally, using "you" rather than "they"

3. Use words of two syllables or less whever possible

4. Use active verbs


5. Use simple sentence structure when possible

6. Avoid introductory and embedded phrases and clauses. Limit compound and complex sentences. Do not break down sentences, unless the connecting word (for example, "because") clearly shows the relationship between clauses.

7. Vary sentence length but avoid sentences over 15 words long


8. Vary paragraph length but avoid paragraphs over 5 sentences long

9. Use short headings to introduce paragraphs


10. Write in the active rather than the passive voice

11. Use graphics that are logically linked to the text

12. Use upper and lower case letters rather than all capitals

13. Use white or off-white paper and dark (blue, black) ink

14. Balance the use of text with white space

15. Use an unjustified right margin


16. Avoid excessive information

17. Use concrete rather than abstract words or give concrete examples of abstract ideas

18. Apply the content being presented to the reader's personal/cultural experiences


Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy, College of Education,

The Pennsylvania State University, 1991


It is not possible to overstate the need to pretest all support materials rigorously with a sample of the target population and resource persons. Pretesting is usually undertaken before production of school books and, of course, in commercial advertising, but all too often neglected in public campaigns.

9.3 Large-scale production

Only when the draft model of the support material has been finalized, should large-scale production begin (posters, brochures, T-Shirts, video-clips, flannel boards are all examples of large-scale production).

The selection of a production unit depends on the availability of resources in the country, district or village concerned. Sometimes, a private company may be selected while in other cases work is left to the production unit of the particular ministry.

Large-scale production

In a study of the costs of producing materials, the following should serve as guide-lines:

Chapter 10: Training the change agents

10.1 What are the needs?

First, there is an important need for organization. How can nutrition-related activities be integrated into the daily routine of participants who already have heavy work loads within their departments? How can the activities of the participants from different sectors be co-ordinated? These are questions which the planning team and the people from the different departments concerned must answer.

Most professionals other than health staff and nutritionists lack even basic knowledge in food and nutrition. As their participation in nutrition education activities is important they will require some training. Often agricultural extension workers, health officers, journalists, teachers, and other participants usually express a need for new training once they have begun work in a nutrition communication effort.

All this makes it necessary to program for organizational meetings and training. The programmes must be intrasectoral (teachers will provide help in planning the activities in this area) and intersectoral (representatives from the different sectors will be assembled for the coordination of these activities).

What are the needs?

10.2 How should the training and retraining of participants be organized?

The training of participants is an important activity which must not be under-estimated. For each category of participants, the following steps are necessary:

TECHNICAL FILE N°9: Definition of training objectives

The definition of training objectives should be based on a rigorous analysis of tasks. In the following example, each function is broken down into activities, which are themselves broken down into tasks. Functions, activities and tasks correspond to different levels of training objectives.

FUNCTION (of an agricultural extension officer):

Promote the cultivation of a vegetable rich in Vitamin A.

ACTIVITIES (examples):

A. Demonstration of ways of cultivating the particular vegetable.

B. Discussions on the nutritional qualities of this vegetable so as to promote the consumption and production.

C. Reference to other communication activities used in other geographical areas to encourage production and consumption of this vegetable.

TASKS (examples, in relation to Activity B):

B1. To explain the nutritional value of this vegetable. Corresponding specific objectives:

To be capable of ...

B1.1 Stating the various nutritive elements found in this vegetable,

B1.2 Describing their role in providing nutritional balance and improving health status

B1.3 Indicating the consequences of deficiency in these elements.

B2. To promote use of this vegetable using the relevant transparencies as visual aids.

Corresponding specific objectives: To be capable of...

B2.1 Describing what they have seen,

B2.2 Making comments on the transparencies according to the brochure.

B2.3 Answering questions on the purpose of the transparencies.

This analysis of tasks corresponds in fact to an analysis of the training objectives. It guides the entire training process. The training is considered successful when the participants have achieved all these objectives.


Chapter 11: Executing the communication intervention

11.1 The principle of synergy

On several occasions, it was stated that no one medium can, by itself, significantly alter social communication and consequently nutrition-related habits. Interventions should make use of different media which will mutually reinforce each other. To this end, the planning committee is faced with a formidable task of coordination. This is absolutely essential for the success of the programme.

Programmes that have been successful in bringing about change in nutrition-related habits have demonstrated the need to complement the interpersonal channel with other methods.

Two successful projects. The Indonesian Program for Improvement of Nutrition and the Integrated Nutrition Project in Tamil Nadu.

In both cases a strong team of volunteers were responsible for interpersonal communication in the target population. The Kaders in Indonesia were trained in Nutrition Education and Nutrition Surveillance. In Tamil Nadu selected groups of women led sessions on nutrition education.

These change agents played a direct role in mobilizing the public for the program and in introducing new eating practices into the family. They also reinforced the credibility of mass media messages.

In Indonesia, the radio was used, while in Tamil Nadu the cinema was favoured because of its popularity among the local public.

The people in charge of the Tamil Nadu project made short films which were shown in popular cinemas before the main film.


11.2 The importance of interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication is a very efficient way of studying the nutrition problem and for adapting the necessary messages. When the development officer has not been trained in active listening, role playing is a good method for developing these skills.

In addition to these very personalized interventions, it is desirable to work with groups of people not only to save time and money but also to benefit from group dynamics.

The traditional talks before a passive group should be avoided. These are largely ineffective in bringing about changes in attitude or habits. The psychologist Leivin demonstrated half a century ago the futility of this method in influencing what he referred to as "group decisions."

Active listening implies a capacity for restating the client's point of view so that he discovers the causes of the problem and possible solutions.

This is different from a dogmatic, authoritarian approach of imposing ready-made solutions on the client.

The change agent in nutrition must be well informed of the message content to be communicated. He must also be capable of assisting the client in obtaining the solution to his problems. The message must therefore be adapted to the client's way of life.


The group decision is one taken by the group in order to change something in its own manner. It involves group discussion which is described below (T.F. N°13).

The section will also deal with the use of communication supports and slides (T.F. N°14 and 15). Popular theatre is also discussed (T.F. N°16).

The importance of interpersonal communication

TECHNICAL FILE N°10: The Lecture-Discussion-Presentation

The subject

The subject must be clearly defined. One of the reasons for failure of many traditional "talks" is that the scope has not been adequately defined. In preliminary research for a communication intervention, the messages to be transmitted would have already been determined. It should then be easier to focus on the relevant themes for discussion.

The audience

The audience guides the course of communication and provides direction for the speaker in the lecture-discussion. The speaker must know his audience. During the lecture, he must be pay attention to the reactions of the audience to adapt his address whenever necessary.

The goal

The person responsible for the lecture must be fully aware of its goal. To some extent, the goal is already clarified by the planning committee, since this committee sets the objectives of the intervention. The goal of the lecture will differ according to the objectives: whether they are to modify attitudes, or to improve knowledge, or to motivate, etc.

The plan

The plan must be prepared in advance. In the introduction, the speaker welcomes the audience and presents the topic. Speakers must try to encourage audience interest.

The body of the talk consists of elaborating on the main points systematically and expressing the main ideas so that the audience can grasp easily what the speaker is trying to say. A speaker must make reference to the other channels that are being used in the intervention for transmission of messages. Speakers may, for example, invite the public to listen to radio programs on the subject.

The conclusion must be long enough to allow for recapitulation of the main points. The conclusion must be structured to capture the attention and interest of the audience in the hope of later mobilizing them.

The discussion

The discussion which follows the lecture evolves in three stages.

In the first stage; there is audience debate on issues concerning specific problem analysis and possible solutions. The speakers can assist the audience population in deriving their own solutions to their problems. The second stage is for decision making. The group tries to find new ways of doing things. They must reach agreement on the innovations to be tried. For example, they may decide to try a new recipe at home. At the next meeting, they would discuss the relative successes or failures of the innovation.

Other considerations

The following are some ways for enlivening the lecture-discussion.

Auditory or audio-visual communication supports can improve the lecture. Slides and video can also encourage audience interest. Other supports such as charts, flannel board, and projection-screens can also be put to use.

Communication supports

Demonstrations provide a practical way of explaining to the audience how to carry out a particular task. They are very appropriate for recipes.

Storytelling is a manner of expression particularly suited to a traditional situation. It adds a new dimension to the imagination and can as a result greatly enliven a speech which would otherwise be perceived as technical or boring. It also gives some entertainment value to the lecture, making it more interesting to the listener.

Singing adds a note of gaiety, encourages audience participation and ensures memorability of the message.

Dull traditional talks can be replaced by lively and entertaining audience participation. Positive action for solving community problems is more likely to result from this approach.



TECHNICAL FILE N°11: Video - animation


Television is an excellent medium for modifying attitudes and bringing about improvement in knowledge and skill. It can also be put into good use for enabling the audience to acquire new skills.

When video is used directly in animation for the public, its potential effectiveness is even greater than that of television.

Why is this so?

This is because in addition to sound and moving images, there is the added dimension of interaction between the presenter and his public. It allows for feedback, and consequent adaptation of the message.

There are cost limitations. Video production is very expensive, more so than any other communication support. The producers therefore have to ensure that the videotapes are used for as many groups as possible. The nutrition education on his part has to make the maximum use of available video materials.

In this technical file, we encourage use of programs which have already been produced are encouraged. Readers can refer to the excellent text by Von Stedinck (14).

The selection of video-programmes

There are numerous existing video programmes available. In the field of health and nutrition education, international organisations and health education units bear the responsibility for video production. National television services often have their own resources which they can place at the disposal of development workers. In some countries, specialized centres for video production have been created. These centres can produce material for video animation and even undertake training of video producers from other countries. An example is the case of CESPA (Centre de Services de Production Audiovisuelles) in Bamako, Mali serving francophone African countries. The list of video programs at the centre can be made available to development workers.

To decide on the appropriate video program, the educator should consider the following questions:

    1. Who is the speaker? It is not only useful to identify the producer but also those who are used as speakers (doctors, nutritionists, young mothers, etc).

    2. Who is being spoken to? Who is the target audience of the video program? What are the required educational and literacy levels? What is the age group of the target audience? Does the target audience of the video program correspond to that of the intervention?

    3. What is being spoken about? What is the main theme? Are there other themes? What is the main message? Is the subject content technically correct? Are there any biases or sources of error? Is the information current? Is the subject content appropriate for the educational intervention?

    4. What is the educational objective? Is the program concerned with change in knowledge, attitudes or behaviour? Do the objectives correspond to that of the educational intervention?

    5. What are the pedagogical methods used? What methods are used to encourage interest or favour learning? Can they be used in video-animation for this program?

    6. What are the necessary pre-requisites? Is a certain level of knowledge or maturity required in order to understand the material? Does the target group possess these? Is the technical vocabulary appropriate?

    7. What are the conditions of use? Does this support require special conditions of use? Are the conditions linked to the place, length, size of the group, and to competence of the presenter? Can the conditions be respected in the educational situations in which the support will be used?

    8. What is the audio-visual value of the document? Cartoon' interview, documentary, fiction, eye witness report, debate or talk? What is the technical quality of the image and sound? Do the scenes reflect the talent of the production team?

The selection of video-programmes


A video cassette recorder and a monitor are required for video animation.

The video cassette recorder should use VHS cassettes. Video systems (PAL SECAM or NTSC) differ from one country to the next. The ideal solution would be to acquire a triple-system recorder, which would allow the use of cassettes recorded on any of the systems. However, central units have sometimes facilities to transcribe from the original to the required system.


Video-animation generally involves the following steps:

    1. Introduction of the topic by the presenter: this draws the public's attention to the programme which is going to be presented.

    2. Projection of the video.

    3. A debate moderated by the presenter: What does the producer want to say? What messages did he want to transmit? What do we think about them? How do they concern us? What sections would we want to view again?

    4. Repeated showings of sections that interest the public: Freezing of a particular image (to examine, in more detail, audience facial expressions, attitudes, etc). Rewinding of the cassette as requested by the presenter or audience; discussion.

    5. Conclusion: what are the lessons learns from this video-animation? What is to be modified in relation to know-how? When is the group to meet again to evaluate any changes in the daily lives of the members?


VON STEDINCK, M., Applied Video, Guide for using video in the Field, Rome, FAO, 1990 (14).


TECHNICAL FILE N° 12: Slides presentation


Many development workers have used slides for a long time both for animation or health education. The slide is often used as a visual aid in a lecture. There are, however, other uses. Slides can be a tool for mobilizing trainees. It enables each person to go through the process of behaviour change. The trainee becomes aware of the nutrition-related problem, gains interest in the problem and weighs the consequences of relevant behaviours. He can then try the behaviour, make an evaluation and decide whether or not to adopt the behaviour. He also decides on the most convenient way of doing this.


Role and profile of the facilitator

The facilitater is not the "giver of knowledge". His role is to enable the group to make use of their own resources for solving their problems. The facilitor's task varies depending on the objectives to be achieved.

Progression towards change

Slides can be used in all the phases of the process of change.


    The facilitator seeks to create conditions for increasing awareness of the problem. He also encourages group discussion to obtain solutions. In this stage, the slides first provide a broad view of the subject prior to a more focused discussion of the problem. This technique is called active listening which affords the participants an opportunity to express themselves freely and fully.

    The facilitator invites the group to observe his practices, and note the consequences, both positive and negative. The underlying reasons for traditional practices are also revealed. The slides used in this stage are more focused on the subject. They portray local ways of doing things within the context of community life. The method seeks to find out the "why" and "how" of traditional practices.


    The group tries to justify other more appropriate practices. They agree on the principles which will allow them to put the new idea into practice This is a decisive stage. Resistance must be overcome for change to take place. Slides used here show why the new practices should be adopted and the conditions necessary to put them into practice. The facilitator should encourage discussion on the pros and cons of the new practice. The group can then reach a decision on the practices to be adopted and the manner in which they are to be carried out.


    In promoting a new practice, the slides can be used to show the technical and organizational aspects of change. A recipe, for example, can be described step-by-step. The facilitator should organize his presentation carefully allowing for group discussion on each essential point. In the final analyses, it is the target group itself which will decide whether or not to adopt a specific nutrition-related behavior or to take collective action to promote a specific idea, product or practice.

    Evaluation phase

    Evaluation is carried out with the group concerned. The slides shown during the implementation phase will enable the participants to analyse any obstacles faced during the process and to find ways of overcoming these.

    The use of slides is not limited to implementation of a strategy. It is a technique which encourgages community participation in obtaining solutions to the problems facing them. Nevertheless, for effective use of this technique, some preliminary training is needed.

The key elements in a session

These main elements are observations, feeling, reflection and the decision to act.


The facilitators allow the participants to describe what they see. He emphasises that they should listen to each other and state their thoughts and feelings.


The facilitator must ensure that participants realise that they can speak freely and fully and that the others will listen to them and respect their opinion.

Decision to act

The facilitator encourages each person to consider the possible solutions. he then asks the group to reflect on and discuss the various solutions proposed.


Clavreul J.Y. Le diapo-language, Nouveau regard sur la diapositive, Rome, FAO-Collection, "La communication pour le développement, Etude de cas" 1939


TECHNICAL FILE N° 13: Popular theatre


Theatre tells a story. It presents and dramatizes the way of life of the people. It adds entertainment value to an inspiring message and so maintains the attention of the audience.

This media is particularly suited to the village setting. In most cultures, theatre is traditional. Popular theatre interpretes and discribes the reality of contempory life while using traditional forms of expression. It is a media which permits people to interact on matters concerning the community.

Theatre encourages the audience to reflect on behavior while identifying with specific characters who find themselves in a well known, difficult situation. In this way, the audience can find a model to adopt new behavious and integrate into their daily life. It is important to note that identification with the performers is made easier if there is some physical and psychological similarity. Yet, in several cases clowns and comical traditional well known figures can also change behaviour.

Popular theatre

The scenario

The planners of intervention in social communication would do well to recruit professional actors or at least very good amateurs to transmit the messages. It is not an easy task to conceptualize health messages in the spirit of community theatre. The message must be incorporated into an interesting story with credible characters.

The play can be written so that either the audience becomes totally absorbed in the events on stage, or that it maintains a certain emotional distance from what is being presented on stage. The audience can also be invited to participate in a narration. Therefore theatres designed for public forums and those designed to encourage community action can be distinguished.

The scenario must be elaborated by the director or a group of actors and nutrition officers. The persons concerned must guard against the production of plays that are either too didactive and boring or so amusing, that the nutrition message is lost to the audience.

Costumes and sets

Actors should to be dressed in clothes normally worn in the community. They should provide the clothing and accessoires required for their character. Sets must not be expensive, rather they should reflect normal scenes of daily life. All costume and sets must be carefully planned in advance.


The play must be advertised so that many people come to see it. The title must be catchy to attract a crowd.


The actors must be ready to perform on the day planned. A rehearsal on the eve of the first performance is advised. This is important, not only for the actors but also for the nutrition planners who need to ensure adherence to the nutrition messages in the script.

Audience Participation

The audience will be invited to participate either during or after the performance. Participation increases the likelihood that learning will take place as a result of the play.

Extracts of an experience in Togo

    "Save the chief's son!"

    This piece performed in the village contains tragedy and humour. The tragedy is the illness of the chief's son who is the next-in-line to govern the community. Humour is introduced by fictional characters with whom the audience has no difficulty identifying. These are health workers... the children in the village.

    (...) The quiz master called "President" has called all the influential people together to find a way to fight the disease which threatens the life of their loved one.

    Mr. Medicine: Fear nothing. I am going to call my entire family to the task. Even my cousins sold on the market will help. We are going to eradicate this diarrhoea!

    All the other nobles: No! Sit down! Remain calm Mr. Medicine!

    President: Mr. Medicine, your family is strong, but for the moment, we do not need competition on your part. We appreciate your help but we must use you with care. Wait! Give us a chance! If we fail, the nurse will call on you! You must always obtain permission from the nurse before you act. The President turns towards Mrs Salty Sweet Solution.

    The President: We have a new member on our team. Allow me to introduce her. This is Mrs Salty Sweet Solution who has just arrived in the village. She is interested in helping in this struggle.

    Mrs Salty Sweet: Thank-you. What the President says is true. You will always be able to find me in the village. I am very efficient in fighting dehydration. I can go into each family and bring help to cases of diarrhea. I also have a big brother, Mr. Sachet, who you will always find at the dispensary. He can also help you.

    The President: Thank you Mrs Salty Sweet Solution, we are very happy with what you can do to help fight against dehydration. We have 48 hours to do our best. But if the diarrhea continues after 48 hours, you must send the child to the dispensary. The nurse will take care of him (...).

The play provides an opportunity for learning. Modern day issues are presented using a traditional form of communication. It is in fact the contrast between the ancient and the modern aspects of community life, which is the source of humour. This kind of comedy usually makes an impact on the audience.


11.3 Communication via the mass media

Importance of Mass media

Mass media are important means of reaching largest number of audience at least cost. They are the modem means of communication, which can transmit educational messages in a very effective way. Television is probably the most persuasive mass media and radio is the media which cover largest number of audience. Their effective use is, therefore. very vital when they are used in a programme.

TECHNICAL FILE NO 14: Rural radio

What does it involve?

Rural radio is the use of local radio in an interactive manner. It uses preexisting social communication networks for an educational intervention. It therefore employs traditions of the rural environment.

The peasant can have a say through rural radio. It gives him an opportunity to describe his problems in his own terms. It provides a forum for debate. At first, the debate is confined to the local village. Later after the debate has been broadcast, the forum is extended to the entire region.

What does it involve?

The role of the "nutritionist" is that of facilitator. He intervenes to help bring out the nutrition-enhancing themes.

Through rural radio, the worlds of the village and the development agent come together. It is the occasion for debate between persons of different value systems, one founded on tradition, the other influenced by scientific and technological developments.

Nutrition intervention is at the heart of the debate. The nutritionist presents food as a factor affecting an individual's state of health. The villager views food within the traditional socio-cultural context. These are a source of much controversy in nutrition programs. Rural radio provides an opportunity for useful discussion of these issues.

When should it be used?

Rural radio allows for reflection and discussion of nutrition-related issues affecting the community. It can therefore be used in several phases of the intervention.

During conceptualization, rural radio can be used to determine the opinions of the community regarding a particular issue. It is simply a matter of recording the debates on cassettes. These tapes can be used later in radio programs to encourage social communication.

During the formulation phase, the recordings can be used to develop messages adapted to traditional forms of communication. But it is necessary to check the meaning of used symbols in each different community before using them in messages. Rural radio can be put to use for this very purpose.

During the implementation phase rural radio can serve to build on those beliefs, attitudes and practices which enhance nutrition. The nutrition messages will be more forceful if they are formulated by people from the target population and make use of everyday expressions.

For evaluation purposes, rural radio can be used to determine if there has been any change in social communication. It can be used to find out whether people speak differently about nutrition, if they have paid heed to the key messages broadcast, and whether any nutrition-related habits have changed.

Rural radio can therefore be used on a regular basis to generate ideas on issues related to nutrition, for example during:

Public variety shows

There are several types of variety shows.

In one village, the public was invited to a grand festival. First, the presenter spoke to the villagers. He then asked an elder to present the village and its origins. The program was recorded. A riddle was used to introduce the topic.

Mini-programs with simple nutrition messages can be broadcast regularly. Their strength lies in that they contain comments made spontaneously by members of the community.

The following case in the Sahel region is an example of another kind of public show. There, a traditional remedy for night-blindness consists of throwing away small pieces of cooked liver and asking the patient to look for them. Once the person finds the liver, he is supposed to eat it. This is an efficient method of treatment because of the vitamin-A content of liver. A witness describing these traditional habits can introduce short messages on the importance of liver consumption in the prevention and treatment of night blindness.

The riddle

The riddle

The presenter: "This is the riddle: in the field I creep. As an adult, I wear horns on my arms, he who eats me can travel through a moonless night. Who am 1? Answer: A string-bean (its leaves, rich in provitamin A, fight against night-blindness).

The answers given by about twenty participants in front of an interested crowd reveals a village mentality to entertain individual or group views on a particular subject.


The second game takes the form of a drama. Eight men and women are selected to take part.

The presenter: "You are the bean. Try to convince the crowd to consume your growth, meaning your leaves regularly."

The game results in spontaneous discussion.


The third game is for the four best candidates. They are asked to compose, and then sing a song.

The presenter: "You the finalists in the competition..., I will ask each of you to compose a song on the glory of the string-bean, and then sing it to the public. "

This last test allows the winners to be selected, and compensated accordingly.

A group from the village plays music, popular rhythms and songs throughout the programme. The singers can be encouraged to improvise and introduce nutrition lyrics.


Recorded Interviews

Following the variety show, the villagers are ready to welcome the members of the radio team for individual or group interviews. All interviews are recorded.

Certain rules must be respected:

  • a single idea is dealt with extensively in each interview;
  • a recorded account is presented in a personal and not a general manner;
  • the account is precise;
  • the perspective is dynamic: the researcher asks his speaker about the origin of the phenomena, or habit.

A round table debate can also be organized between the villagers. This will enable different points of views to be shared.

Ail these recordings are a treasure house of information which the radio team can use in future programmes.

Preparation for broadcast

To facilitate its use, all recordings including the public programme are transcribed and eventually translated. The radio team can assist the "Nutritionists" in visualizing the information by cutting and assembling it on paper before editing.

Public programmes will be broadcast according to the programming plan.

The importance of intersectoral efforts The development of rural radio-nutrition programs require intersectorial collaboration between "nutritionists", villagers, specialists in education and radio announcers. Intersectoral efforts should not be limited to the duration of the specific intervention, rather mechanisms should be established for intersectorial endeavours on a long term basis. In this respect, rural radio is an invaluable tool in nutrition communication. Detailed information can be found in (15).


TECHNICAL FILE NO 15: Television


Television can be used to create social models of behavior.


This refers to the specific way of presenting the messages. Possible formats include: a debate, documentary, soap opera, quiz, spot, etc. The script and language expressions vary with the different formats. "Health educators" tend to overuse one particular format without considering the potential of the others. The typical health program is a report on the issue followed by a discussion between the presenter and one or several experts. Two other formats need to be given special consideration. The soap opera whose characters most persons can identify with, and the spot which can be broadcast repeatedly. The slogan used can be an everyday expression in social communication.

The classic health education program appeals to the intellect. Soap operas and films play on the emotions. Short messages like the spots appeal to the instinct. In seeking to change behaviour, various appeals must be made. It is not enough to address the logical side of a person's intellect.


The soap opera

According to modern theories of behaviour, the soap opera has great potential, provided certain conditions are respected.

    1. The audience maybe led to imitate the behaviour presented by a model if they can see the rewards of the behaviour.

    2. The audience may be led to avoid the behaviour presented by a model if they see the negative consequences of the behaviour.

    3. The model should be presented in a real situation so that the audience can relate the behaviour to everyday life.

    4. When the model adopts a behaviour, the consequences must be clearly seen; if the behaviour is nutrition-enhancing, it should have positive consequences; if it is reprehensible the consequences should be negative.

    5. If the audience is to identify with the models, the latter must have characteristics approaching those of the target.

    6. These models, however, should be a little superior to the target population (in beauty, intelligence, wealth) so that the target will want to strive to identify with them.

    7. If a verbal description of what is happening is added to the presentation (for example, a conclusion) the effect on the target audience will be magnified.

Television can lead the audience to modify its behaviour for reasons other than logic, provided some basic rules of psychology are respected. One must guard against forms of manipulation which are not in keeping with the original concept of nutrition education. The change sought is a voluntary one by the people concerned.



11.4 The role of the school

The school lesson is a special form of media. There is the potential in schools of transmitting knowledge, skills attitudes and values to all future generations of children.

In countries where the level of school education is high, the school environment enables one to reach a higher proportion of the population than any other media. Its limitations are with regard to the age of the target population. Children, however, can prove to be effective intermediaries for messages directed at their own parents, or even at the entire community. The programme "Child to Child'' is founded on this belief.

The programme "Child to Child" was launched in London in 1979, the International Year of the Child, under the initiation of Dr. David Morley. It spread rapidly in the English-speaking world, then to French and Spanish speaking countries.

The Programme is based on one observation - everywhere in the world, but especially in developing countries, older children, especially daughters, look after their younger brothers and sisters. The Programme's first aim was to educate these older children to provide better care for the younger ones.

Subsequently, programmes for these children highlighted the role that intermediaries could play in transmitting positive knowledge, attitudes and practices to each other, their parents and eventually to the community in which they live.

The Programme "Child to Child"' grew in many child-care institutions, especially in schools. Participatory educational methods were proposed, based on the analysis of health problems. Direct Interventions were planned in their surroundings. This methodology revolutionized the

traditional academic approach; it made the child the main "player" in his own education.


There are at least two ways of working with schools. The first is to intervene from the outside to educate the children on health or nutrition. The second is to modify the curriculum to include the study of health and nutrition.

Systematic Intervention

The systematic approach consists of using the school as a channel for occasional diffusion of positive messages on health or nutrition. Throughout a promotional campaign on immunization, for example, health workers can explain the program and its benefits to the children (to encourage them to get immunized or to use them to inform others).

The procedure is quite simple. Those in charge of the intervention begin by contacting school principals (if need be, those on the national level should obtain the necessary authorization). Together, they decide on a programme for visiting schools. During these visits, the teachers allow the specialists in the field to speak to the students. The school resumes its normal programme once the campaign comes to an end.

This is one way of integrating school activities in the campaigns. The procedure is simple. It is, however, justified only within the context of a short-term campaign.

The revision of school curricula

The curriculum can be defined as a group of planned activities for education. It consists of definitions of the learning objectives, the content, the methods (including evaluation), the materials (including school manuals) and those aspects related to the training of teachers.

If one wants to modify teaching methods on a continuous basis, all these elements in the curriculum must be reviewed and the new objectives and content adapted to new methods of teaching and retraining of teachers.

It is also important to create a positive nutrition environment in the school. Today, it is known that for nutrition and health, the student learns as much, if not more, through what he experiences, than through what he learns. What purpose do lessons on balanced diets serve if fatty and starchy foods are served for school lunch? Why teach hygiene if the children live in an untidy school environment? Principles learnt must be translated into practice.

"Nutrition Education" is gradually being replaced by the "promotion of nutritional environment," which involves everyone from the educational community. It is not only about teaching, but also about improving conditions of school life. It is useless to teach the qualities of a balanced diet if the meals served at the canteen are not balanced.

The school provides a long-term perspective with respect to change in social communication in nutrition. The messages disseminated at the social centre, the dispensary and elsewhere will find a fertile ground with the future adults of the society, if the school undertakes their training in nutrition from today.


In Nepal, a FAO oriented multisectoral training programme in nutrition, successfully revised the curriculum of the different training institutions including schools and adult education programmes, taking following steps systematically.

    1. A team of experts reviewed the curriculum of each training institution both formal and non formal in all sectors;

    2. The topics related to nutrition were identified;

    3. The topics needed to be added or integrated were listed;

    4. The curricula were revised in a workshop of curriculum development experts including nutritionists;

    5. Prototype teaching-reading materials and audio-visual aids were developed on the basis of revised curricula and field tested in real learning situations by trainers/teachers;

    6. The teaching materials and aids were finalized in a workshop incorporating modifications based on the result of testing.