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3.1 Using Radio in Communication for Development

3.1.1 Nature and Purpose of Radio for Development

3.1.2 Basic Radio Approaches

3.1.3 Common Radio Formats

3.1.4 Basic Elements of Radio Production

3.1.5 Basic Principles of Radio Scripting

3.1.6 How to Evaluate a Radio Programme

3.2 Using Print Materials in Communication for Development

3.2.1 Uses and Rationale of Print Materials

3.2.2 Basic Elements of Print Materials Production

3.2.3 How to Draw for Rural People

3.2.4 Production Criteria in Print Materials

3.2.5 The Printing Production Process

3.2.6 Budgeting for the Production of Print Materials

3.2.7 Pre-testing Print Materials: Field-Testing to Ensure Effectiveness


This chapter provides an introduction on how to produce and use communication materials and media in development.

At the end of this chapter you will be able to:

  1. Have a basic understanding of the various media potentials;
  2. Have an understanding of the production requirements needed for the media presented;
  3. Know the criteria for evaluating a successful production; and
  4. Be able to go through and plan phases involved in the production of communication materials.

3.1 Using Radio in Communication for Development

Radio is a medium widely used in development. It can cover wide areas reaching a large number of people at a relatively low cost. In this section the term radio includes:

  1. the common notion of radio broadcasting, from a central station to a certain area. In the development context it is often referred to as rural radio;
  2. community radio, audio programmes produced locally or by another centre and broadcast to the whole community through loudspeakers set in the village; and
  3. The use of audiocassettes, both for use in the community or for producing and recording local programs on crucial issues, both for inside and outside purposes.

3.1.1   Nature and Purpose of Radio for Development

As for television, radio can be a mass medium and as such has been introduced for information and persuasion purposes. For instance in 1965 the French (OCORA - Office de co-operacion radiophonic - with ORTF, RFI and AUDECAM) assisted an initiative in Africa known as Missions de programmes. The scope was to train local production teams and to produce educational materials by using radio techniques already tested by advertising specialists. This was an interesting approach that has been applied in other instances. However, radio in the development world has been used in many other ways, always with the same main concern: how to assist people to take control of their lives and improve their livelihoods.

The nature of radio is such that it can be used easily, i.e., listened to, while doing other things. Even the poorest countries can afford to establish radio stations and produce radio programmes. Radio receivers are also quite cheap and can be afforded by many people. Batteries sometimes can be a problem as they might be expensive and/or difficult to find in certain areas. With the progressive introduction and improvement of the wind-up radio2 technology, this problem should be greatly reduced.

The role of radio is generally defined as to inform, educate and entertain. In development, however, radio can be multi-faceted as, among other things, it can serve to pass messages, improve the capability of calling upon and organising groups and organisations, enlarge the forum for social dialogue, provide effective capacity building of the community, raise awareness and knowledge of community issues, bring the people's voice to the higher level of their political structure and mobilise the community to tackle issues of collective interest. Radio production requirements and formats can be adapted to specific use and objectives.

3.1.2 Basic Radio Approaches

Radio in the development context can be broadly divided into three categories, each of which requires a different approach:

Educational Radio scope is that of providing knowledge and instructions on specific issues. It can be used for formal education, as in Nicaragua where UNESCO assisted to establish a radio network to teach mathematics to pupils in primary schools, or to provide informal instructions for practical purposes, as used in a number of countries, especially in the agricultural field. These kinds of programmes are usually written and prepared by subject specialists after having investigated and assessed the issue in question. Distance education is another area where radio has played an important role. It has provided the possibility of progressing with the studies to people in remote areas, reducing limiting factors such as the time (programmes are usually broadcast more than once, and can be recorded) and the place (you can listen to them from your house or any other place provided you have a radio instead of going to school). Radio can also be used effectively as a support medium in educational campaigns on issues of collective relevance.

Documentary and Cultural Radio intends to report and provide testimonials on aspects of community life. This is done to draw the attention of the community to specific issues, problems and their solutions. Journalistic investigations also fall in this approach. Journalists, social researchers and communication practitioners are the ones that usually produce this type of programme, often adopting a participant observation approach in order to document the issues accurately and objectively. These programs can be addressed to other communities having similar problems, as well as to the management of development organisations or to policy-makers.

Participatory Radio implies the use of radio for the people and by the people. Even if in the previous two instances some degree of people's involvement is required, it is only with this kind of radio, also sometimes known as community radio, that full participation is experienced. The issues to be discussed and presented in the programme are decided by the community with the assistance of a radio producer. Zimbabwe, since 1988, has witnessed a unique media project that emphasises the two-way communication potential of radio as opposed to its traditional mass medium approach of addressing passive listeners. The Federation of Africa Media Women - Zimbabwe Chapter, conceived the Radio Listening Clubs (RLC) Experience. The project aims at providing the rural population of Zimbabwe access to radio and cross sharing of views and ideas on varied issues. People in the community have the opportunity to set the agenda and contribute to the programme expressing their needs, concerns and priority interests. With the RLC the flow of information can be either horizontal, from a community to other communities, or bottom up, from the community to policy and decision-makers. This project operates by providing a voice to the community. A co-ordinator services the RLC regularly. RCLs are formed entirely by members of the community, and the co-ordinator assists in the recording of the intended issues (even though very often the recordings are done in the absence of the co-ordinator). Having collected the recorded cassettes, the co-ordinator seeks feedback from the relevant authorities or organisations and records the responses. Next, the co-ordinator links the original community recording with the feedback provided by the person responsible and puts the programme on air. In this way the information is shared not only in the community that produced the initial recording, but with other communities as well. Members of the RLC agree that listening to radio programmes on their personal receivers is not as effective as listening to the same programme on their RLC receiver. This is so because after listening to the programme on their RLC receiver they discuss and share their ideas. An evaluation of this project, carried out in 1993, reported that:

Participatory radio's purpose is that of providing an open forum where people can express their views, opinions, and concerns and in doing so providing the opportunities to improve their livelihoods. It also tries to change the common flow of information, traditionally top down, into a bottom up or horizontal flow of information that brings “communication” to its original meaning of sharing and exchanging ideas, opinions, solutions from different perspectives.

Each of the above mentioned approaches could adopt a different radio format. The following are the most common and frequently used formats.

3.1.3 Common Radio Formats

3.1.4 Basic Elements of Radio Production

In the previous section you have seen the different types of formats that can be used when you want to present an issue of concern. Now, let us turn to factors that should be considered if you want to present the issues effectively. These can be divided into three categories: technical, content and presenters.

Technical factors are:

Content and its organisation includes a number of factors such as:

Presenters and their style of delivery can be another crucial element determining the success of a programme. Factors associated with presentation include:

3.1.5 Basic Principles of Radio Scripting

Finally, another significant element of radio production that should be noted is scripting. When you are ready to work on the radio script before anything else, define the subject, the purpose, the primary audience and the intended duration. Then go through the material you have researched and recorded in the field. Ideally in a good number of cases this process should be done in the community, with the community.

Here are some tips when you engage in, or supervise the writing, of a radio script:

3.1.6 How to Evaluate a Radio Programme

By now you have seen some of the basic characteristics associated with a good radio programme. On page 63 you will find a prototype Pre-test Checklist Sheet for the audio production that should give you an idea of what to look for when producing a radio programme. Criteria upon which a good programme is evaluated are: the relevance and the accuracy of the content; the interest it generates; the way information or points are treated and transmitted to the listeners, the technical quality and, most of all, how it has achieved the intended objectives. Evaluation, based on these criteria, should be done systematically. It must begin with the script, since it affects a number of factors such as the content accuracy and relevance, pace and message treatment. Once the script has been written it should be read aloud and timed.

Whenever possible you should pre-test the programme to make sure it is accurate and easy to understand. The questions below are intended to provide you with a guide for revising and pre-testing a script.

(See model of a Pre-test Checklist on the opposite page)





Producer:______________________ Subject Specialist:___________________

Length of time:__________________ Date: ____________________________

Format: _______________________ Radio Broadcast____________________

Audio Cassettes:__________________________________________________

Items to be   

Very low   




















.. ....   










.... ..









Sound quality..   








Special effects.....   





































. ....   

.... ....   



1. What do you think was the main message/issue presented in the program?

2. What do you think are the weak points of this programme?

3. What do you think are the strong points of this programme?

4. Suggestions to improve the programme?

Reviewer:______________________ Sample Tested:_____________________

3.2 Using Print Materials in Communication for Development

Print materials, having text, or visuals or a combination of the two, are widely used in development to make communication effective. Print materials assist facilitators in interpersonal communication during training sessions or demonstrations. Sometimes they can be used as reference materials. Overhead transparencies, posters, and other visual aids can be used to illustrate points during learning. Handouts that are used by trainees themselves to remember important points are normally illustrated – it should be noted that words are images too. Print materials are also produced to provide a set of instruction on how to do something, including how to use communication materials. Print visual materials are particularly effective for generating discussions, as are flipcharts and picture codes. Posters are used extensively where one wants to draw the attention of people to specific issues.

3.2.1 Uses and Rationale of Print Materials

Words and images constitute the two basic elements of the print medium. Words are particularly critical where you want to provide accurate understanding of concepts, instructions and procedures. However, they can also be tedious and difficult to understand at times. In many instances they are practically useless, as the majority of people in the developing world are illiterate. Images, on the other hand, have an easier and more direct appeal, as pictures almost naturally attract the attention of the human eye. To understand a picture (provided it is compatible with the cultural environment) you do not need to have done any particular study.

The rationale for using print materials should be seen within the larger context of the situation in the area of interest. Print materials can be relatively cheap when you want a simple product. For example, when you use cheap materials or use of two colours only. They can be quite expensive if you want a sophisticated product (e.g. high material quality, full colour, etc.). Deciding when to use what and at which level, depends on a number of factors such as the characteristics of the interaction group/s (especially their literacy level), their number, their distribution (to produce 20 booklets for the 20 teachers of a district has a lower per/head cost than producing a radio programme. If, however, you had to reach 200 teachers in the province, radio might be cheaper. Your budget and objectives determine what you are going to do in the final analysis.

Materials using text are very useful when you want to inform people about events as well as provide them with technical knowledge on specific issues. Print visual materials are on the other hand, particularly effective when used to stimulate discussion (an image appeals to everybody and its meaning can be interpreted by anybody in a variety of ways) or to draw attention to a specific subject, either by appealing to their curiosity, desires or fears. In this handbook print materials are divided into four groups namely; text, visual materials, combined print materials and visual discussion tools. The latter is widely used in a number of communication strategic approaches because it encourages peoples' participation through dialogue, (see box 4).

Box 4

Types of Discussion Tools.  

ClOTH FLIPCHARTS: stimulating discussion in rural areas

Flipcharts are one of the best interpersonal communication tools for creating dialogue and rapport between field staff and rural communities. They are effective in remote areas with groups large and small, and also work well in schools, clinics, and markets and staff meetings.

Benefits of flipcharts

  • The large pictures attract attention stimulating interactive discussion.
  • Illiterate people clearly see important ideas for discussion.
  • Discussions are relevant because the pictures show local people and their situations, etc.
  • Both problems and solutions are seen.
  • Problems can be further discussed, probed and sometimes even solved.
  • Peoples values of a particular subject can be raised because positive benefits are seen.
  • Technical details can be examined.
  • Technical information is consistent.
  • The presenter can easily check to see whether or not the interaction group has understood each point.
  • Feedback is immediate as questions can be raised and answered on the spot.
  • A whole story (or series of linked events) can be seen picture by picture in one short session.
  • The story can be adapted to examine local situations to create consensus for action.
  • Pictures of the problems stimulate a search for solutions.
  • Field staff and rural people gain confidence to exchange ideas.
  • Interaction between field-staff and the beneficiaries is immediate and guaranteed.

On the practical side, clothe flipcharts...

  • Keep information in the correct step-by step sequence, to aid the presenter;
  • Allow the presenter to select certain pictures to reinforce a point of view;
  • Are durable for field conditions and resistant to tearing, heat, dust and rain;
  • Are washable for use over many years;
  • Are portable, lightweight and do not break down easily;
  • Unlike projectors, they do not need a darkened room or electricity;
  • Can be printed in sufficient quantities so that all field staff and key people in the community may have copies to use;
  • Are made locally, and relatively cheaply, without foreign exchange.


Flipcharts user's guide: enhancing practical communication skills

For field staff, teachers and other community mobilisers, a guide booklet tells how to turn a simple flipchart into a dynamic discussion tool. It interprets the meaning of the pictures, explains the story line possibilities and suggests interpersonal communication techniques.

The guide describes how to:

On the practical side, the booklet is printed in sufficient quantity so that field staff and others can use it as a general communication guide.

PICTURE CODES: stimulating discussion

Picture codes are drawings, used in a similar manner as for flipcharts. They differ from flipcharts in that they do not portray a series of events but rather a single act and that they are usually on paper. Quite often on one side of the picture code there is the drawing and on the other side there are the suggested questions to go with it. Benefits and uses of picture codes are the same as those for flipcharts.

POSTERS AND LEAFLETS: promoting ideas and action

Very often these utilise or adapt the flipchart images. Posters raise awareness and the value of the important “new ideas” discussed in the flipcharts.

Leaflets provide reminders about the “ideas” and key technical points raised in the flipcharts.

With posters and leaflets:

On the practical side, posters and leaflets are printed in large quantities and in local language versions without much additional expense.

ADULT LITERACY AND SCHOOL BOOKLETS: These are often used for teaching farmers and their families

These booklets, that usually include a number of drawings and pictures, are an excellent way to encourage interaction groups, field staff and students to learn more about the intended issue. Booklets are usually in high demand among literacy programmes and individuals that do not have enough reading materials. For many individuals these serve as a starting point or reference for discussion. They can also be reused many times.

Adult literacy and school booklets:

Large quantities of adult literacy and school booklets are usually distributed to rural communities in target areas where an extra effort to inform people and to ensure their participation is needed. In such circumstances local language versions should be made available for each relevant community.

3.2.2 Basic Elements of Print Materials Production

Printed materials include mass media such as newspapers, posters, pamphlets, banners, stickers, billboards, booklets, etc. and group media such as flipcharts, picture codes. The former usually intend to pass on information or messages to people while the latter enhances face-to-face discussion thus facilitating the investigation of critical issues and the exchange of knowledge. As for other media, when considering aspects related to the production process, you should assess the situation to be addressed by the communication strategy. There are a few elements you should be aware of when preparing for the production of print materials.

3.2.3 How to Draw for Rural People

As mentioned above, because of their level of formal education, relative isolation from the media and other printed matter, rural people may have limited skills to interpret drawings. Just like reading a book, comprehending a drawing is an acquired skill, called “visual literacy”. To help such viewers, make illustrations that can be understood easily, possibly without any written or verbal explanation. The followings are some tips that can assist you when drawing for rural people:

To create effective visual materials that will meet your objectives, it is necessary to identify the various themes and ways of telling the story, as people from the community would describe it. These will be transformed into ideas, which will provide the basis for pictures and text. To be effective, ideas must be clarified. Incomplete and vague ideas will waste the time and effort of artists, writers, technicians and even the intended interaction group. Use the storyboard technique to put all ideas in a sound written and visual form.

What is a storyboard? It is a way of assisting you to organise the various aspects involved in the production of visual print materials. It allows you to match images with the text or questions accompanying them. A storyboard is made this way:

The storyboard is the key creative planning tool. It enables easy alteration, which ensures that ideas are clear and the story sequence and technical information are complete. At this stage all concerned with the communication effort can review and suggest improvements.

The guidelines presented here are mainly intended for flipcharts although they also apply to other materials. Remember to sketch the entire group of flipcharts, posters, leaflets and booklets, before drawing full sized versions. This shows planners that all main themes are covered. In summary you should observe the following:

For the end of the story prepare questions that help the interaction group to discuss and to give their views on what happened and what could be done. Often individual pictures are viewed again for this discussion.

Finally if you are producing posters or booklets pay attention to the suggestions below:

3.2.4 Production Criteria in Print Materials

The design and production process must be participatory. This means that at every stage of the design process the interaction group has to be involved in terms of ideas and, if there is a local artist, in terms of drawing the illustrations. By so doing, the community perception of visual literacy is demystified. The community is empowered by virtue of being engaged from the brainstorming, to the creation of learning, discussion materials.

3.2.5 The Printing Production Process

The communication strategy describes the content and direction messages and discussion themes should take. Therefore when describing the production process you should start from the research. Also remember that before authorising mass production of the materials it is always advisable to have a prototype produced. You can follow these basic steps in the production of print materials (a similar process applicable to media production in general is presented in the last section of this chapter):

Step 1: Research

Identify objectives, messages/exchange themes by consulting field staff and interaction groups. Take photographs to help the illustrator.

Step 2: Storyboard and writing/drawing

With interaction groups, use participatory approaches to sketch individual images, and draft accompanying texts. Check materials with technical specialists. Produce illustrations, lettering and complete texts.

Step 3: Field-testing and approval

Show materials to assess effectiveness with the interaction groups, field staff and technical specialists. After field-testing, improve message content, illustrations and text. Obtain final approval.

Step 4: Preparing to print

Obtain competitive quotations, choose a printer, and produce final illustrations, typeset text and paste-up camera-ready artwork for printing. Wherever possible produce a prototype first.

Step 5: Budgeting and printing

Deliver camera-ready artwork to printer. Confirm final budget. Approve first printed samples prior to authorising full printing job. The next section deals with budgeting aspects in detail.

Step 6 Training and distribution

Train field staff to use materials at communication training workshop - do not distribute materials to field staff unless they have been trained to use them. Detail the distribution plan with field staff co-ordinators to coincide with communication activities.

3.2.6 Budgeting for the Production of Print Materials

Budgeting for discussion materials that usually are based on visual aids may present some differences from the one involved in print materials using text. The process however is similar, and in this section we look at the former. The budget for producing print materials, and in particular, discussion tools, can be a major cost of the communication activities. It is important to be able to make an accurate estimate by being familiar with all factors involving costs. These include:

When you start planning the production of print materials you should make sure to have all the necessary expertise on board. The Production team usually consists of a team leader, a scriptwriter, an illustrator (from the project area), technical adviser or subject specialist (from the project). The activities this team will be involved in may include:

Once the process has reached the stage of production, you should define the specifications needed to accomplish this task. To determine costs printers must know specifications, which include:

Determine Quantities By:

Finally you have to determine the quantity considering the following factors:

The following tables provide an example of various budget lines to consider in the production process, categorised by communication activities, personnel, type of materials for printing, training and distribution.

Table 4

Production Team Activities.

1.1 Personnel 

Estimated cost
1.1.1 Team leader
1.1.2 Illustrator
1.1.3 Project technical specialist
1.1.4 Secretarial service

1.2 Preparation


1.2.1 Research field trip
1.2.2 Per diems
1.2.3 Fuel for field trip
1.2.4 Fuel for town
1.2.5 Art and photographic materials
1.2.6 Office, artist studio, telephone
1.2.7 Pilot-testing field trips
1.2.8 Per diems
1.2.9 Fuel


Estimated subtotal


 Table 5

2.1 Printing   Quantity Estimated cost

2.1.1 Flipcharts
2.1.2 Flipchart users guide
2.1.3 Picture codes
2.1.4 Posters
2.1.5 Leaflets
2.1.6 Literacy booklets


Estimated subtotal


Table 6

Training and Distribution.

3.1 Training and Distribution Quantity Estimated cost
3.1.1 Training the trainers workshop
3.1.2 Local-level training of field staff
3.1.3 Distribution, transport to local areas
3.1.4 Usage - activities

Estimated subtotal


TOTAL (table 1, 2 and 3)


3.2.7 Pre-Testing Print Materials: Field-testing to Ensure Effectiveness.

The process of pre-testing is similar for all materials. In this section, however, our focus is on discussion tools. People interpret drawings and the message behind them on the basis of what they already know and what they believe in. Their “Visual Perception” is particular to their culture, education and extent of exposure to media. It is therefore essential to test all draft media materials with the intended interaction group and users before you print, or distribute and even use them.

Testing will save money, time and effort

Field testing, or pre-testing, puts the production team in direct contact with the people that are important, i.e., the project beneficiaries. During and after field-testing the team can modify the materials to ensure effectiveness.

The viewers

Rural people often see illustrations in ways that are very different from people who live in towns. They may even interpret a drawing to mean the exact opposite of what you intended it to mean. With the illustrator, show the pictures to the intended interaction group and ask what they see. If they see something different from what you intend, ask their advice on how to make the picture better if it is to reflect what you intend it to do. The illustrator should re-sketch the subject on the spot and try it again. In just a short time you will have pictures that rural people understand and enjoy. These new sketches can be finalised back at headquarters. But if there is any doubt about rural people's comprehension of these final materials (in terms of concepts, colours, rearrangement, etc.) the materials should be field-tested again before printing. Remember you are also testing for the acceptability of the idea and not just for the comprehension of the individual pictures.

Test the materials, not the people

When field-testing materials, remember that the materials are being tested, not the people who are asked to comment and make suggestions. There are no “right” or “wrong” comments. A farmer is not “wrong” if he or she identifies a drawing of a cow as a dog! The drawing is “wrong”. The illustrator needs to redraw it to fit the farmer's image of a cow. Do not be embarrassed if the drafts of media materials “do” poorly. The challenge is to adapt these materials in order to communicate effectively with rural people.

The kind of questions that field-testing will answer with the interaction group are:

With whom and how many people should you pre-test with?

To get a balanced view with the intended interaction group, show the drawings to different individuals across the social scale age and gender. Keep testing until you find a trend that gives you an idea of what the problems are. Consistent answers from 20 to 30 people are enough to indicate if the materials work or require changes.

Test for the meaning of the text

Get people to read aloud any text that is intended for them, for example slogans on a series of posters. If they cannot read, read it to them. Do they understand the meaning of the slogan? Can they suggest a slogan to convey the meaning better?

Some classic questions of field-testing both pictures and text narration

Ask open questions to prompt and encourage discussion. Let the interaction group explain details and, if applicable, encourage them to give testimonies of their experience on the subject seen. Indicate first the entire picture and then further prompt by pointing to the details.

Naturally, if the whole production process has taken place in the community, with local artists, the effectiveness of pre-testing is greatly diminished as people's perceptions and suggestions will already have been already reflected in the materials.

3.3 Using Video in Communication for Development

Video has often been regarded as a powerful medium that is adaptable and effective in all situations. Unfortunately this is not the case. Video is the use of semi-professional or professional videotaping for specific purposes made for narrow audiences, with specific characteristics and interests. It can be produced and shown either in a raw form or in an edited fashion (meaning working on the video material that has been shot, cut it and put it together into an effective format). Sometimes video programmes can also be used and broadcast on television, but even if video is such a powerful media this does not mean that it should be used in every occasion. You should keep in mind that video production could be a complex and expensive task. The main danger with video is that it can often be regarded as the most important aspect of a communication strategy, running into the danger highlighted by Mc Luhan, when he stated that the medium is the message. Viewers, especially in rural areas, can become very excited with video, but will they be equally excited and alert to the content video is supposed to communicate?

3.3.1 Purpose and Rationale for Using Video

Video is a medium that could be used for a number of purposes. The most common use is the one-way mass communication function, where the message, or a series of messages are passed on to a passive audience, consisting of viewers who cannot provide any direct feedback to what has been produced. Video, however, could also be used in a more participatory and interpersonal manner, as it has been extensively done by FAO in a number of countries in Latin America and by other organisations in different parts of the world (India is another country where participatory video has been used successfully). People in the community can use video to document and reflect upon issues and activities of collective interest. It can also be used to generate discussion on critical issues.

When considering using video you should ask yourself the advantages of this choice. The rationale for using video can be its persuasive strength or maybe the fact that it will stimulate and motivate farmers to express their viewpoint in a community experiencing a low profile on a certain activity. The point is that once you are familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of video you should consider them in deciding why it would be better to use video in your communication strategy. There are many media that can be used in a communication programme. Each of them may be the most appropriate according to the situation and the needs of the community.

Before using video you should however closely consider the costs and implications associated with this choice. Bear in mind that video has a language in itself and before thinking how to go about it, you should try to understand the level of visual literacy of the community. By visual literacy it is meant the people's understanding of the technology and of symbols and images, which may be part of the video. You should therefore avoid using video just for the sake of it, as it frequently happens. Video should be used carefully and only after having decided the benefits expected and the full implications of using it.

3.3.2 Main Uses of Video

Video in development can be used effectively for various purposes namely:

Documentation usually implies a series of tasks that can be accomplished effectively only by somebody with a good deal of experience in video. Documenting a process or an activity requires accurate planning before the shooting, in order to highlight effectively the intended content/message. This means that before going into the field to document a project and community activities you need to sit down and prepare a basic plan for your video shooting. You have also to make sure that the video planning is compatible and feasible with the project work plan and the community's daily activities. Once you have done your video planning you must inform all stakeholders about it. When the actual shooting of the video begins, the person operating the video equipment needs to be familiar with a number of technical issues e.g., how to frame a shot properly, lighting requirements, proper audio recording, etc. This ensures the quality of the final product, which usually needs to be of high standard in order for the result to impress project management, policy makers, international donors, governmental institutions, etc. Finally, after the shooting in the field, the material should be edited into an attractive and interesting format. The production of this kind of video can be very expensive. You therefore need to identify funds before beginning the production process.

On the other hand, video can be used in a less demanding, but equally constructive way, by shifting the production process from the experts to the community. The purpose of video here is not to impress somebody but rather to encourage people's participation, and to generate discussion on crucial issues or facilitate the learning process (concerning new skills or required knowledge). In Latin America FAO3 has introduced an innovative methodology known as Audio-visual Pedagogy that is based on the principle that the best form of learning is that achieved by doing. Relevant problems are assessed in the field jointly by the extensionists and the farmers. Out of this interaction a pedagogical package, which contains learning issues decided jointly by the extensionist with the farmers, is developed with video at its centre. Problems are discussed and addressed with the support of video. The old model sender-medium-receiver has been changed into interlocutor-medium-interlocutor, (very similar to the model used by the Southern African Development Community- Centre of Communication for Development - SADC-CCD). Video is then planned, produced and played back by the community for the community. When used in this interactive and participatory fashion, video can be a very valuable asset both for the community and for any development project or programme.

There are other instances where video can be used in a participatory way. When discussing an issue for instance the debate can be recorded and then shown to other people (with or without editing). Very often that is enough to stir a lively discussion and raise people's awareness on what is being discussed. Video can act as a filter to express people's opinions, thus making them more impersonal and less sensitive to personal criticism. On the other hand some people may feel shy or too intimidated to talk in front of a video camera. Such is the power of video that it can also be effectively used to revert the traditional mass media top down approach into a bottom up one, as in the case of one Masai community in the Ngorongoro conservation area. The men of the community expressed candidly in a video, their concern about the management plan as proposed by external experts. They openly said that they were wondering why they needed these experts to come and tell them how to conserve their natural resources when these very experts were coming from countries where most wildlife and vegetation was already destroyed. Statements such as these were recorded on video and started being shown in different circles. As a result, the approval of the intended management plan was postponed (even when there was extensive pressure to make it go ahead). Video can therefore be effectively used for advocacy in order to allow the community's voice to be heard. As seen in the example just given above, video has a very powerful effect that can be easily and rapidly multiplied by showing it to a number of people or organisations. In such an instance video does not need to have extensive preparations or post-production activities. The poor technical conditions in which the message is presented can actually reinforce the immediacy and the impact of what has been said.

Finally video can also be used effectively for monitoring and evaluation. This aspect could either be done by the community or by video experts. The preparations for this should be however done in a participatory manner. Indicators and checkpoints to be monitored and videotaped should be decided jointly with the community. Usually if properly done this material can be used to produce a video on the whole process, thus documenting, informing and even promoting the projects' achievements.

Video is a flexible enough instrument to be used for a number of purposes as long as you are clear in your mind what it is for. The biggest, and most common, mistake you can make is that of video taping everything just because you have available the necessary equipment. In this case you are very likely to end up with a mountain of videotapes of very little value. To avoid this, you should plan in advance what you intend to record. You may not need a full treatment of the video you intend to produce, but at least, you should have some guidelines to direct your video recording.

Since video production can be a very expensive enterprise, before engaging in it, you should carry out a cost-benefit analysis answering questions such as: is video the most appropriate medium to achieve the objectives? Is it cost effective? Do most people have access to view the video? Etc. One case where it is often advisable to use video is in television campaigns where there is a strong element of persuasion to be dealt with. Due to its persuasive power, its high appeal and high credibility it usually enjoys, video is a very effective medium for drawing people's attention to crucial issues. However, there is still the problem of how many people are actually able to watch the video, either through videocassette recorders, mobile units or television. How many people have access to television in rural areas? If you plan a mass campaign and you intend to use video, or television, you should first investigate the penetration levels, i.e. establish how many people have access to video or television. As a final recommendation, keep in mind the purpose of video you intend to produce, the people you intend to produce it with. When in doubt, ask for advice from experts.

3.3.3 Strengths and Limitations of Video

While video can be a very appealing medium with many strengths it also has a few limitations and constraints. Among the major advantages of using video is the high interest it generates and the fact that electronic images can be played back and forth and be discussed immediately (if the necessary equipment is provided). Among the most frequently quoted disadvantages are; the relatively high costs and the technical know-how required to properly operate, maintain the equipment and produce good quality products.

The main advantages of using video are:

On the other hand video has the following disadvantages.

3.4 Using Popular Theatre in Communication for Development

Theatre for Development is used as one way of helping the masses in the developing world to come to terms with their environment and the onus of improving their lot culturally, educationally, politically, economically and socially. It can be used to pass and reinforce certain messages or to uncover and investigate issues.

Various terms are used for Theatre for Development, for example: popular theatre, propaganda theatre, case drama, development theatre or, sometimes, political theatre. Each of these terms indicates to some extent what Theatre for Development is about, but not fully. In this section you will be introduced to the way theatre can be used effectively as a communication technique and medium.

3.4.1 Background and Rationale

Politics and intellectual nationalism today are responsible for the view that performing arts have always been fulfilling a utilitarian role in the community and that encouraging this serves to forestall a people's heritage. Some politicians claim that4 :

There are many reasons why our forefathers chose to use songs, dance, drums and masks to educate their young, to comment on the socio-political conditions in their societies and to preserve their historical legends. One of the reasons is that our forefathers realised that one of the most effective methods of education is through audio-visual aids of what was familiar. In other words our forefathers subscribed to the modern education axiom that if he sees and hears he remembers. They also realised that by presenting ideas through a variety of media such as songs, dance, mime, poetic recitals, ordinary narrative and masquerades one is able to capture the imagination of the people. It was the function of our traditional theatre, not merely to entertain, but also to instruct.

In this vein, theatre for development has been encouraged as a positive effort building on a people's cultural heritage, using traditional channels and knowledge. Theatre has always been used to exchange or advance knowledge, views and information among peoples of the world from time immemorial. This kind of theatre has existed within festivals or ceremonies of one kind or another. To see the knowledge, views or information invested in this theatre, one has to understand the occasion when it takes place, the manner in which it is done and, the words and language that form its stories. Current use of theatre in development activities stems from recognition of this fact. However, there are practitioners, with more radical views, who believe that the entertainment function of theatre is a deliberate and convenient move to suppress the potential of theatre as a tool for raising the consciousness of the people.

The sudden resurgence of theatre for development in the third world today, highlights the potential of this medium for being a democratic medium, in which the people, i.e., the audience, can play an active part in the making of the content and issues presented. In this way they can relate directly to those issues and fully enjoy the integration of popular and traditional elements with the creative component of theatre. Theatre can assist in the search for ways of supplementing the mass media, which have been shown to be incapable of effecting change on their own without some intermediary process especially in rural areas. This view is partly supported by some people who state that popular theatre is being encouraged as a tool for adult education. This is due to deficiencies in the existing educational institutions and communication media that stem from elitism of colonial education and its irrelevance to the goals of national development to non-formal education. They also share one philosophical basis in their discussion of this education. And this is a philosophy deriving from the ideas of Paulo Freire and others who put at the centre of their work participatory research, conscientisation and development. These people are adult educators and their ideas have given rise to the participatory methodology “Training for Transformation”.

One of the burning issues in theatre for development is the role and importance of the artistry. One school of thought believes that whatever the theatre producers do with their people should be well done, polished and professional. Other practitioners tend to de-emphasise this aspect. The message is all they really care about. This position seems to be more prevalent in most developing countries now. The artist is encouraged to identify with the masses. The artist's work must be committed to the needs of his society. Aesthetics are not of primary importance to the people. Survival is the thing. Whether it is political or physical, it is survival and artists must commit themselves to that end. This is an urgent matter too. In other words, artists must also understand that their art should be an `instant' package in an `easy to carry' wrapper.

The result of these two parallel demands on the artist have also given rise to `Theatre for Development' or as some say `popular theatre'. This is a theatre that combines use of the theatre as a medium for propagating ideas and entertainment. Theatre for development is also being used as a way of exploring problems, views on them and solutions amongst the people. In this regard it is used as precursor to community mobilisation campaigns.

3.4.2 The Nature of Theatre for Development

In almost all cases where this theatre is in existence, it is led by a team of experts who work with various types of extension workers or `village level workers', assisting them `to get their health, nutrition, and agricultural messages across to rural villages using entertainment and fun'. We might add to this list, adult literacy campaigns too. Throughout the developing world, we find projects of one type or another engaged in Theatre for Development.

Areas that come under this theatre vary from straight drama to songs that are employed in any way as media for communicating ideas related to rural development. The Government of Sierra Leone/Care project called LEARN used `dramatisations, music, visual aids to bring new information and ideas to villagers to help them keep healthy and improve their agricultural practices'. Travelling Theatre of Zambia and the Extension Services Department in Malawi include puppetry and dance in their work. So, broadly speaking, Theatre for Development involves a wide range of resources. Let us isolate a few elements of this theatre in order to illustrate how it is created.


Usually these are campaign songs composed and sung by teams of extension workers either alone or together with the people amongst whom they work. In some cases the songs are recorded on tapes and distributed all over the country for playing through the radio or portable tape recorders during working sessions. Where the latter is the case the help of properly trained musicians is sought. This is the case in Sierra Leone's project LEARN whose theme was sang by Big Fayia and the Military Jazz Band.

The songs are sung in vernacular languages and usually their tunes are well known adaptations of popular music styles. The guiding principles in composing such songs are:

  1. simple catchy tune,
  2. simple words and lots of repetition,
  3. clear message.


Dances employed in this theatre are those that already possess within themselves abundant mimetic potential, for what actually takes place here is what should properly be termed dance-drama. An example of such dances is Malipenga or Mganda or Beni found in United Republic of Tanzania, Malawi and Zambia. Although it is danced to the accompaniment of songs, the dominant part of the music comes from drums, whistles and gourds that are specially designed to play like some form of trumpet. To the beat of such instruments, dancers mime several scenes in which they depict whatever message they choose to show. In theatre for development these messages fall within the total intentions of the project.


This usually forms part of mobile information campaigns. In Malawi the Ministry of Agriculture has used this most extensively. The Extension Services section, now called the Agricultural Communication Branch, that serves not just Agriculture, but Forestry and Game sections of the Ministry prepares and performs puppet shows up and down the country. The idea in such campaigns usually is to teach farmers and villagers in general, modern methods of Agriculture as well as forest and game conservation.

In spite of its popularity amongst practitioners puppetry is losing its grip on its adult audiences. It is found to be too childish in some cases, whereas in some places it is found to be culturally not admissible.

The puppet show takes on a simple story line that the audience is supposed to follow without problems. Usually it builds on stock characters that can easily be identified. Most campaigns using puppetry employ popular recorded music to go with the show. Very often the show is interspersed with such music and commentary other than the puppets' own dialogue.

The problems these shows try to tackle are usually a common phenomenon amongst the audience, so that no questions about the clarity of the message arise. The setting too, is always a direct take-off of everyday life. The drama in these is almost always sustained by quarrels between characters that stand for opposing points of view in the story. The stories are mostly built around imagery from local folklore sources.


This is the most extensively used of the art forms of the lot considered under Theatre for Development. The work in drama varies from plays performed for villagers by outside groups to plays created and performed by the villagers themselves. As the Sierra Leone experience shows5:

“These dramas feature the adventure of a typical village farm family. In each story a situation is presented that a Villager might encounter. Some of the dramas show ways that the problem might be solved, while others are left unresolved to encourage the listeners or audience to work out their own solutions. Each drama is in the vernacular languages of the people in which the project is presently being implemented.”

This work was presented as radio drama as well as stage presentations. The aspect of how `the problem presented might be solved' in work, like that of Botswana's Laedza Batanani Popular Theatre, sometimes becomes the kingpin of all work in Theatre for Development. This is particularly so where it is felt by the organisers that there is low community participation and indifference to government development efforts in the area. In such a situation, rather than solve problems, the drama is supposed to be thought provoking.

All this work is improvised. Teams of extension workers and sometimes, students collect problems prevalent in particular areas of campaigns. Using these themes they develop improvised dramas that are rehearsed very briefly and quickly before presentation. This technique has its own flaw, especially where aesthetics are concerned. There is not enough time and thought given to the format of the presentation and styles of acting. The idea in most projects is to minimise the theatrical attention to the aesthetics as much as possible in favour of the substance of the representation, so that everybody attending the project can participate without feeling intimidated or inferior to another person. To attend to such issues would run contrary to the aims of some of this theatre's proponents which are, `to increase participation of community members in development projects by involving them in the planning and running of the theatre.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o's work, which seems to be the only type, in this theatre, to care about proper theatrics, started from a script written by one author who presented it to the masses to re-write and direct en masse. Talking about how I will marry when I want a product of his work in Kenya, he says he was commissioned by the Adult Literacy organisers to script a play as a supplement to the straight teaching going on at the centre. What they had in mind was a script for `modern' theatre but in the vernacular. Artistic intentions were to be primary. When he presented the script to the centre and was made to produce it, the students (adult literacy classes) at the centre were more than willing to participate. Rehearsals were open to the whole group of students there – even if they were not participating in the play. Directing was helped by a good deal of comments from the entire public watching the rehearsals. A direct result of this was that several criticisms and alterations were made to the script. This was in terms of language as well as plot and theme. What ultimately came out was the people's own play.

3.4.3 The Process of Theatre for Development

Theatre can be divided in two basic categories according to the way it is used: Theatre-in-Development and Theatre-for-Development. The former is made up of three types:

  1. scripted plays written by some specialists, containing information on a particular subject as understood by the writer and performed by a group of actors in the conventional theatre format;
  2. unscripted plays co-created by a director and a group of actors, on a pre-selected topic and presented formally as conventional theatre; and
  3. scripted plays on a chosen topic but later transformed by the actors before villagers and involving them in the refinement of the final play. This kind of theatre requires its audience to come to a special venue selected by the theatre group. It allows for very limited participation of the audience in the creation of the play and its performance.

Theatre-for-Development on the other hand could be said to be of two types:

  1. that which is created out of researching in the community but performed by the outside artists; and
  2. that which is investigated and created with the community and performed jointly by the artists and members of the community. In both cases the presentations take place in the community itself, and the venue does not necessarily need to have special requirements.

Very often this theatre is a composite of music, drama, dance, masquerade and puppetry found within the community. It can be used both to investigate and probe specific issues as well as to stimulate discussion on issues of interest to the community, thus it can also be used to identify and discuss problem-solving approaches.

Even though the process of Theatre for Development varies according to its purpose the following stages can be adopted in most cases: research, reporting back, creating the story, sketching the story, rehearsing the play, performing the play and after performance.

(a) Research

The process of Theatre for Development starts with research. This is `informal' research in that it is not set up. The research involves living in and with the community in order to know and learn about the `life' of the people there in. This involves participating in their happiness, sorrows, celebrations as well as their work. In this way one is able to drink in the socio-economic and cultural aspects of the community. Although this research is informed, some PRCA tools could be used to sharpen pictures of the community.

Material and information learnt or gathered during such research provides:

  1. Fodder for the play that will be created;
  2. The way the play will be performed;
  3. The venue which the community actually would choose for performance; and
  4. Issues that the community feels most strongly about.

When a `theatre' team goes into a community, it should become a part of that community. That is why it is important to dress appropriately i.e., in a manner that is in line with the communities. The team must ensure that they are not over-dressed or outrageous in their appearance. It is also advisable to work in pairs when going around the village rather than in one large group. In this way the community members being observed and studied do not become overwhelmed.

(b) Reporting Back

After living in and sharing life with the community the team must come back together to report on what they have learnt of the community. Such reports highlight, issues closest to the hearts of members of the community; cultural life of the community; stories of happenings/events and anecdotes or jokes common in the community. Information gathered should include the community's perception of whatever is the subject of concern. Such material provides good stuff for dramatisation.

(c) Creating the story

Material gathered during research should give a `clear' picture of what the position of the `issue' of concern is like in the village. It should include stories of individuals, families or sections of the community showing concrete testimonies of how they relate to the issues. Instead of, for instance, saying the people of such and such village do not build latrines although they are aware of it, you should actually have a real person who has not had a latrine and who has had concrete reasons for not having one. This takes you beyond awareness to actual experience of not having a latrine and its consequences.

From such personal testimonies or experiences and individuals, characters for the story and the story itself may be drawn and developed. Instead of speaking in `general terms and about issues', an individual or specific people are made to live and demonstrate the experience of living with the issues being looked at.

The story so created is fiction. But it is built on actual lived experiences, that the community for whom (later with whom) the drama is being developed will recognise and sometimes even identify with it, depending on how well the dramatisation is done.

(d) Sketching the play

Having created a story from findings gathered in the field, the next step is sketching the play. The goal here is not to create a play script, but an outline of the play scene by scene. A scene being stages in the story just created. If we can compare the story to a journey between District A and District B, there are points that must be gone through to make up this journey. From District A, we might have to stop over at A1, to fill up petrol in the car we are travelling in.

While at A1, the driver might have quarrelled with the petrol attendant. We then moved to point A2 where we stopped again. This time to buy drinks and visit the toilet. The next story may be our destination B. Here we find nobody waiting for us and so we decide to return.

(Journey = A > A1 > A2 > B)

Using this journey as an example of the whole story, we can say that points (A) (A1) (A2) and B could be our scenes. In `building' the sketch we shall select deliberately events that happened at these points and leave out those that happened on the bus in between them. Sketching the play is very similar to this process. We deliberately select or create points that highlight important aspects of the issue the story is meant to tell.

(e) Rehearsing (developing) the play

Using actual stories of happenings gathered during the research, characters could be identified and re-lived before everybody in the team. Here the whole team agrees on whether those `acting' out these happenings as put together into scenes of the sketch are being truthful. They can also select those individuals who seem best suited for what scenes. This is preparation of the play that is referred to as the rehearsal. The process of rehearsal uses other material gathered during the research. These are the songs, dances or rituals that people do in the village. During the research the team will have observed how people relate to each other, how they walk or talk. From such observations, individuals selected to play particular roles might build their characters.

The idea here is that when the people of the village come to see the play, they should recognise themselves (as a village) in the play. Rehearsals therefore aim at achieving this, quite apart from dramatising and developing the story created earlier on.

(f) Performing the Play

Once the play has been rehearsed and the team is satisfied that it is ready for presentation, they must choose a venue that is accessible to the people in the village. The period of research should reveal which places are used for public celebration in the village. The period should also reveal which time of the day is the best for holding the performance.

Efforts to involve the village community in presenting or even participating in dances from the village should be made. The idea here is to make it as much of the people's own occasion as possible than that of the team.

During the performance, the acting should deliberately offer opportunities for the audience to answer questions or even comment on what is happening in the play. These comments can be repeated and passed on to other members of the audience around issues being depicted in the play. The actors should always take the story back from this dialogue and move it towards the end.

(g) After the performance

The team should get back together to go through experiences of the performance, to examine their own performance and the comments that the people were making as the play was unfolding. This discussion should reveal material for further action either theatrically or on issues under discussion.

Sometimes the people want further discussion on issues in the play, such an opportunity should be provided to them. There might also be need for follow-up action. This has to be taken care of, and whenever possible fulfilled, by the subject specialist/extensioist.

3.5 Communication and Creativity: Combining Contents, Media Characteristics and Treatment

So far, up to this point you have been exposed to the process of message design, you have seen how a number of media can be used in communication for development you have been exposed to production issues regarding the production of communication materials. The challenge that remains at this point is how to combine all the elements in the most effective way in order to achieve the communication objectives. Each theme, message or issue you intend to presentor discuss should be treated according to the medium you are going to use, taking into account people's reality. Advertisers are fully aware that an advertisement working well in a country may not be effective in another. Similarly a certain slogan on video, accompanied by certain images, will not be equally effective on radio.

By now you have seen how frequent “stop-review-and-go” steps compose the design process. The process actually does not usually go in such a linear, clear-cut sequential form, as presented in this Handbook. As a matter of fact, many of the steps presented here happen in a simultaneous way, or in a different order. The reason for putting them in a neat sequence is purely instructional. This has been purely to assist you to comprehend the process in all its phases. Once you are familiar with it you will find it easy to deal with all the communication elements that you can rearrange according to the situation facing you. When doing the final draft of your treatment (which will then be refined and produced by the specialist selected) review all the significant elements in your communication strategy, such as priority NOPS, Interaction Groups profiles, communication objectives, approaches, message and discussion themes, media selected, appeals, formats, etc. You must review all data in your hands and, by adding the creative element; you transform it into something brilliant and appealing to the interaction groups. Remember that creativity is something innate to human beings; you should therefore be ready to also pick it up from the community. Sometimes it is just enough to listen to them. You might be surprised by the simple but ingenious thinking of many rural people, who have survived for centuries in places where most people will not be able to survive for a few days.

3.6 Field Staff Training on How to Effectively Use Communication Materials

Some of the communication materials developed cannot be simply distributed as they are produced. In a number of cases you need to make arrangements to illustrate how they should be used effectively. This is particularly true for the production of discussion tools. Remember that the main purpose of discussion tools is to make meetings more lively and informative, where viewpoints can be shared with confidence, increasing mutual understanding. Using discussion tools effectively can be difficult for field workers such as extensionists who have been trained for years, to pass

knowledge to farmers. Such workers' understanding of participation is confined to asking questions to clarify an issue. It is difficult for people like these (after years of talking down at farmers) to suddenly start to listen to them. This is why training of the field staff on how to use tools to generate and stimulate discussion is crucial. Field staff who make skilful use of a flipchart, for example, will encourage the interaction group to do most of the talking and guide them to clarify their needs and reach decisions about how they can reach their identified objectives in the project. This can be the first step of full involvement in the project activities.

3.6.1 How to Use Discussion Tools: Tips for Trainers

The following simple basic points are intended as a guide to stimulate productive group discussions with rural people, that is, on how to use discussion tools effectively:

When you use the discussion tools to ask questions, remember to adapt your approach according to the situation. Sometimes you need to make questions as open and unbiased as possible, thus avoiding leading people to give you the answer you want. In other instances you might need to ask leading questions to steer the discussion in the intended direction. The kind of questions asked and the way they are asked are instrumental to achieving the intended results. Remember, guide the discussion on the relevant topic, its causes and solutions. Common questions to ask the interaction group should be along these lines:

Asking questions serves to identify any gaps of understanding between field staff and project recipients. Explore how communication activities can bridge those gaps. Show field staff how to use the discussion tools to stimulate productive group discussions with rural people. Skilful use of a flipchart, for example, will encourage the interaction group to do most of the talking and reach decisions gradually about how they can reach their objectives in the project. To accomplish this, the flipchart user should ask questions that encourage the interaction group to describe what they see and, say what they think.

Make logistical plans for the field co-ordinators to gather their field staff for similar training workshops. Each individual field staff should be supplied with the Flipcharts User's Guide booklet. This is meant to train them in communication techniques and on how to use the materials. Identify a materials distribution work plan to reach local people and places that should receive the materials (administrative centres, clinics, markets, schools, etc.). Make a plan for visiting all rural communities. Try to use existing regular meetings with rural communities to hold discussions, such as standard field visits to plan work with communities, meetings of farmers' associations, market days, health programs and distribution of goods and services. In many cases a new circuit of meetings may be required to reach everyone. Try, as much as possible, to go around and supervise the way discussion tools are being used, especially in the initial period.

3.7 Summary of the Basic Steps in the Production Process

The following steps provide you with a guide that allows you to use an organised and systematic approach to development of communication materials

  1. Research

Make sure the objectives of the materials to be produced are relevant and valid to the community and that they are consistent with the identified communication objectives. Collect visual reference materials from books and journals and take photographs during your field visits.

  1. Developing the content

According to the media you plan to use, you should think of how you want to achieve intended objectives. For example, if dealing with a flipchart, you should think of which pictures should go in and following what sequence. If a booklet is needed, you must think of the instructions that are to be given and in which style. With radio, you need to decide the format of the programme and then develop the treatment. If you decide to use theatre you will need to decide what kind of theatre and write the treatment. If you use video you might need a storyboard (where the text is coupled with the images going with it). Wherever possible, carry out the activities involved here with a specialist of the medium you are planning to use.

  1. Preparing a production plan

Based on the information and decision taken so far, make a plan for the materials needed to be produced and when. Prepare an estimated budget for field visits, costs of specialists (i.e. graphic artist, radio producer, etc.).

  1. Producing the Prototype

Develop the first draft or the prototype of what you intend to produce. Even if this is done on a low cost basis try to be as accurate as possible so that the pre-testing provides you with useful insights.

  1. Field Testing (or Pre-testing)

Ideally the previous steps should be done in the community and with the community. Unfortunately the reality of the development world seldom allows it. Therefore, you need to field test, or pre-test, all of your materials with the community before going into mass production. No matter what medium you are using, you should always pre-test your communication materials to make sure that the community sees what you are seeing in that particular production (whether it is a drawing, or a leaflet, or a radio or a video programme). Involving the specialists in the field visits is a good way of making your pre-testing more effective and minimising the amount of changes and corrections needed. For instance, if you plan to produce a series of posters or flipcharts illustrating a problem experienced by the community, it would be helpful to bring the graphic artist in some of your field visits. In this way not only does he/she have a precise idea of the physical detail needed for his/her drawings (e.g. facial traits, kind of houses, etc.), but he/she also gets a flavour of the social and cultural environment of the people related to the communication activities being developed.

  1. Budgeting

Once you have carried out the pre-testing and made the modifications, you should review the costs involved and finalise your budget accordingly. The more complete and detailed the set of instructions and materials you deliver to the specialists (e.g. a refined storyboard for a video production, camera-ready artwork for printing, etc.) the less is going to be the cost you will have to bear.

  1. Mass production

At this point you can start the production of all the materials. One tip, valid especially in the case of printing though is: try to always get samples of materials prior to authorising the full job, even when the budget and all the specifications have been discussed and approved before hand.

  1. Training and Distribution

In some instances you need to train field staff on the purpose and use of the communication materials being produced. Next you have to plan their distribution. If they are posters for instance, you should also advise on best options for placing them (e.g. hospitals, schools, etc.). Distribution is not always given due attention, but it is a very important aspect of materials development that should be done properly in order to complete the production cycle.

2 This is a radio that does not require any battery and is charged manually. This kind of radio was first introduced in Africa in 1996, the technology still needs to be improved as for every time the radio is charged manually it provides only a maximum of thirty minutes of play.

3 The Regional FAO Project GCP/RLA/114/ITA, based in Santiago, Chile, has been at the forefront of an innovative approach, known as Audio-visual Pedagogy. It entails the use of video with and by rural communities to encourage and support their active participation in the decision making process.

4 Mudenda, Hon. E.H.K. Speech at the Official Opening of the Theatre for Development Workshop held at Chalimbana In-Service Training Institute on 19 August 1979 (in Theatre for Development by Chifunyise, Kerr and Dall, published by I.T.I., 1978).

5 Project LEARN (1982). Instructor's Guide. Government of Sierra Leone, Care Publications.

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