With more and more people digitally connected, and combined with the challenges of the pandemic, Communication for Development (C4D) professionals are finding themselves exploring new ways of engaging with audiences. But does this lack of in-person contact impact the effectiveness of C4D? And how can digital platforms be leveraged to enhance participatory approaches?
Adapting C4D to virtual channels in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras
Across Central America, C4D campaigns seek to protect young people from the risks of irregular migration by promoting regular migration channels and information. However, when COVID-19 disrupted these regular migration channels and the information needs of the target population changed, C4D campaigns had to quickly adapt – both in terms of messaging and delivery.
Based on this experience, here are tips from the practitioners:
- Make evidence collection more flexible. For example, re-survey the target audience to understand how their information needs have changed.
- Quickly identify alternative distribution channels and adapt messages.
- Despite the challenges, continue to include the target populations in every step – whether through telephone or online meetings.
- Maintain alliances with local actors who may be able to support small scale in-person activities.
Maintain alliances with local actors who may be able to support small scale in-person activities
Finding digital solutions for participation in a community with low digital connectivity
IOM X uses a C4D approach to empower young people in the West Coast Region of The Gambia to make informed decisions about migration. The model uses a participatory approach whereby community members gather at regular intervals to design and implement the project’s activities. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the entire participatory approach had to be done remotely, despite limited access to Internet and technology.
Despite the challenges, the campaign was a success. According to the practitioners, these are the reasons it worked:
- The KAP study was key to understanding the target population’s online and on-air media consumption behaviours. This information enabled the community to design the campaign specifically for these channels.
- The selected location for the campaign was peri-urban, a strategic decision as it is more digitally connected than rural areas.
- All stakeholders were flexible and able to adapt to the circumstances, which enabled the campaign model to work
All stakeholders were flexible and able to adapt to the circumstances, which enabled the campaign model to work
An exchange for likeminded professionals
Whether you’re applying C4D in your everyday work and want to hear about different experiences, or you’re simply interested to learn more about the approach, the C4D Exchange is a great way to share and discuss the challenges and opportunities of a C4D methodology. View a recording of the latest C4D exchange below (with English interpretation) and stay tuned for the next episode!