Strategic Communication for Health in Bangladesh
As a part of the Bangladesh Knowledge Management Initiative’s (BKMI) capacity building efforts with three government units in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW), I helped facilitate a Message and Materials Design Workshop outside of the capital Dhaka January 6-9, 2013. BKMI’s in-country partner Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP) organized the workshop.
Participants included staff from the MOHFW units, NGOs, and copywriters and artists from advertising agencies. Sessions in the workshop covered the importance of strategic communication through the message development process. In her opening remarks, BKMI team leader Vanessa Mitchell encouraged participants to be creative and collaborative in their approach toward creating messages that are coordinated and cross-sectoral within the realm of health, population, and nutrition (HPN).
In order to practice the message development process, we split participants into three groups to work on a set of SBCC messages for three important issues: antenatal care, complementary feeding, and early marriage. It was inspiring to see group members adapt key concepts in strategic communication, including the P-Process, the 7 C’s in Communication and the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Appropriate, Realistic, Time-bound) Guidelines for developing message objectives.
After finishing their creative brief, group members worked with their artists to draft materials. Materials included flash cards, billboards, and television spots that promoted the given issues. The drafted materials were then pre-tested with surrounding communities after participants practiced moderating a focus-group discussion. The groups finally presented their findings to all participants on the workshop’s last day.
I am looking forward to build on the results of this workshop with my counterparts in the MOHFW. National-level health communication professionals now have the tools to create rigorous SBCC messaging and a platform to create lasting partnerships across sectors in HPN communication.