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How to talk about disability and human rights

March 2016

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"This MessageBrief summarises and comments on the framing strategies currently in use to communicate information about disability and human rights. The recommendations presented here are based on framing “best practices,” gleaned from more than 15 years of communications research on a wide range of social issues, and represent important opportunities for disability rights advocates to communicate more effectively". This brief reviews more than 55 communications materials sampled from 20 organisations involved in the disability rights field. Five primary framing strategies: Unframed Facts and Numbers, Description Instead of Explanation, Problems Without Solutions, Crisis Stories, and Vivid Cases in current communications are identified and 8 recommendations are presented. Gaps in existing research precluding the ability to make more specific reframing recommendations are identified.

Digital Inclusion: a white paper

MAVROU, Katerina
et al

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This white paper will provide the reader with insight into the role technology plays for the full participation of persons with disabilities and older people in the digital society. The authors consider equal opportunities to participate in all realms of life a human right. The paper will help the reader to understand what the barriers to full digital inclusion for these groups are, how changing scenarios in society should lead to the definition of new goals and how these goals could be reached. 

This white paper looks forward and challenges the reader to identify strategies to tackle the digital divide. In the first section, it analyses trends and policy objectives as defined by the international community in 6 different areas relevant to the digital divide:

Disability and participation



Health and social care


(Social) Media 

The writing of this white paper is the result of a three-year long project funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Programme. The ENTELIS project has brought together various organisations from different European countries and beyond and has resulted in the establishment of a sustainable network, supported by three European umbrella organisations: EASPD (European Association of Service Providers to Persons with Disabilities), AAATE (Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe) and EVBB (European Association of Vocational Training Institutes). For them supporting the network means creating an opportunity for their member organisations and other interested stakeholders to actively engage with technology and technology users with disabilities in education, vocational training and person centred support services. Their common understanding is that ICT and AT can empower people with disabilities, lead to more fulfilled lives and a more inclusive society but that this can only be reached if there is effective collaboration between sectors. Their expectation is that the network will empower their member organisations in making this become reality and this document and in particular the roadmap contained in there might provide good guidance for that. 


The ICT opportunity for a disability-inclusive development framework

September 2013

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This report "contributes to a better understanding of the extent to which information and communication technologies (ICTs) enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. It highlights that when ICTs are available, affordable and accessible, they significantly improve access to all aspects of society and development. It also lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stake holders - including national governments, the private sector, and civil and international organizations - and relevant indicators to monitor progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda"
Note: report is available in pdf and word formats, additional annexes can be downloaded from the link above

The ICT opportunity for a disability-inclusive development framework : executive summary

September 2013

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This report, "produced as a result of an extensive expert consultation organized from 20 May to 17 June 2013 in the context of the High Level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD), aims to complement previous work on the use of ICT as an enabler of the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities by further exploring specific contributions that ICT can make in achieving a disability-inclusive development agenda"
Note: report is available in pdf and word formats; additional annexes and the full report can be downloaded from the link above

Overview of health communication campaigns

March 2007

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This guide provides a hands-on 12-step process to developing health communication campaigns. Each chapter is created according to the steps, with information on what the step is, why it is important and what is required to carry it out

Communicating the impact of communication for development : Recent trends in empirical research


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This paper surveys empirical studies published in academic journals in the last five years that demonstrate the impact of communication for development. It highlights theoretical underpinnings, communication approaches and techniques, and outstanding evidence of communication’s impact presented in these studies. It looks at theoretical models in communication for development; trends in recent research; and the evidence of the impacts of communication for development

Programme communication for early child development

KOLUCKI, Barbara
November 2006

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"This booklet explains how principles of programme communication are part of a holistic approach to Early Child Development (ECD). It is designed for programme planners, designers, artists, and communicators to improve their ability to use programme communication for holistic early child development"
Note: This is a companion publication to ‘Programming Experiences in Early Child Development’

Mapping dialogue : a research project profiling dialogue tools and processes for social change

BOJER, Marianne Mille
MCKAY, Elaine
ROEHL, Heiko
April 2006

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This report profiles ten methods for facilitating dialogue. The approaches are diverse: some are designed for small groups, others for large numbers of people; some explore conflict while others are based on what is agreed. Part 1 looks at the foundations for, and approaches to, dialogue and offers some background on dialogue in traditional African culture. Part 2 maps out ten dialogue methods in depth and a number of others more briefly. Part 3 offers some ideas for how to assess what method to use in a given context

Converging ICTs for health in development


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This Key list highlights essential information resources on the use of information and communication technologies in the health sector. The range of information and communication technologies is broadening and new advances are finding useful applications in the health sector. However, their deployment in developing countries is often hampered by barriers such as low connectivity and ICT literacy. ‘Older’ media such as radio remain comparatively more accessible and reliable, proving their continuing relevance as strategic tools for health communication. Far from the new technologies replacing the old, there is strong evidence of technological convergence, with, for example, online broadcasting reaching wider audiences and Internet content being repackaged for radio listeners. Technological solutions in developing countries should be responsive to local needs and priorities and consistent with the available enabling environment, infrastructure and capacity. The analysis and case studies highlighted in this list support the idea that combining new and older technologies enhances local ownership and maximises the impact of ICT in the health sector

ICT and health care delivery in developing countries


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This Key list highlights essential information resources on the use of information and communication technologies in health service delivery. Disease control and prevention, patient management and health information systems, and diagnosis and treatment are critical components of health care delivery. Appropriate information and communication technologies can dramatically enhance their reach and effectiveness. This Key list presents a selection of success stories in the use of ICT in health care delivery in resource-poor settings. The resources on this list discuss and illustrate the application and benefits of technology to disease surveillance and control, such as the Malaria Early Warning System, which relies on online rainfall monitoring; to patient management and health information systems, with examples of electronic medical record systems, immunisation registry and tracking systems; and to disease diagnosis and treatment, with examples of teleconsultation based on medical images and surgical pre-screening

Tools for policy impact : a handbook for researchers

START, Daniel
October 2004

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"This handbook presents work in progress on tools for policy impact, specifically geared towards the needs of researchers. "The handbook is particularly targeted at civil society organisations, or the parts of them, whose activities involve gathering evidence, doing research, learning lessons or advising on strategy for social, environmental and economic development in the North and South"

Hygiene promotion in Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe : new approaches to behaviour change

August 2004

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After years of debate, most people working in water and sanitation now agree that hygiene promotion is vitally important. But even now, many programmes either ignore it or do it badly. This field note describes two African hygiene promotion programmes that have successfully used new approaches: Saniya in burkina Faso and ZimAHEAD in Zimbabwe. Both programmes concentrated on understanding how people actually hehave and hence hot to change that behaviour. Both programmes demonstrated ideas that can be applied at a larger scale. Changin human hygiene behaviour is a long process that is difficult to measure and both of these programmes still have obstacles to overcome. However, this work indicates that systematic and carefully managed hygiene promotion programmes can achieve improvement in hygiene behaviour and hence reduction in diarrhoeal diseases

Inform, inspire, encourage : a guide to producing effective HIV/AIDS materials

May 2004

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A synthesis of learning based on experience of ActionAid and the 'Strategies of Hope' series in Africa, looking at production, distribution and use of HIV/AIDS information and communication materials. Explores what users want, need and find useful (or less useful) from these materials. Valuable for people planning to get involved in communications work in the field of HIV/AIDS.
Highlights poverty as a key constraint to people engaging with existing HIV/AIDS messages and as a vital part of people's reality that materials need to address to be relevant.
Looks at the limitations of information alone for promoting attitudes and behaviour, while stressing the continued need for effective useable and relevant resources. Gives criteria for useful information resources on HIV/AIDS. Research found that materials developed in one context are not easily transferable to other contexts, raising challenges for those aiming at generic materials or those for widespread use. It is vital to make information materials culturally appropriate and relevant and to develop them in a participatory way.
The study also highlights the importance of materials in local languages, targetting specific audiences, and using a range of media and methods, that are low cost or free. Users were found to stress the need for large quantities of materials and wide distribution rather than an overemphasis on high quality.
What constitutes 'good' information varies over time, as do user needs. It is vital that feedback and learning are built into the processes of developing and re-developing materials

Rethinking conceptual approaches to behaviour change : the importance of context

PARKER, Warren
April 2004

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This concise article critically reviews the concept of behaviour change as it has been applied to individual behaviour in relation to HIV/AIDS. It notes the limits of cognitive approaches to behaviour change when applied within complex contexts and variations of risk to HIV infection. With regard to communication there is a need to move beyond top-down approaches and to incorporate horizontal and participatory approaches. These include recognising and resourcing the role of civil society responses to HIV/AIDS

Participatory rural communication appraisal : starting with the people


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Designed primarily as a field guide for development workers and extension staff, this handbook provides a simple, easy-to-follow procedure for planning cost-effective and appropriate communication programmes. Steps include: situation analysis, baseline surveys and a range of participatory tools and techniques to profile exisiting communication channels and methods, and develop appropriate communication programmes. It can be used as a reference for conducting participatory rural communication appraisal (PRCA) in the field as well as a training guide for capacity building in PRCA

Involving the community : a guide to participatory development communication


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This manual argues that communication facilitates the development process. It conceptualises communication as interaction between and among the people whose development is being considered. In this way, communication becomes the development process itself, and the stakeholders - community members or their supporters who share an interest in the outcome - are development communicators as well. Using examples from environmental and natural resource management to illustrate participatory development communication, the manual is adaptable to other development areas, including health. It describes the root concepts of participatory development communication, a ten-step methodology for its application, and suggests communication tools appropriate to the approach. In an annex appended to the book, the author presents a summary of the changing perception of the relationship between the twin processes of communication and development. This adds a theoretical background to the material that gives it more depth for development researchers and practitioners for whom the book is intended, and will also be useful for development communication students

Communication for social change indicators

November 2003

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This article develops a contribution to a Communication Initiative discussion. The discussion archive is at The article welcomes the communication for social change integrated model and its attempt to look beyond the abstract and isolated individual to processes of social change. It points out however that there are problems with the way the framework looks at community, power, and the processes of social change. The framework raises a number of vital and difficult issues, only to sidestep them by drawing on theoretical approaches that may not be able to adequately address the nature of the problem. It outlines some of the problems, and some possible alternative lines of enquiry

Fifty years of development communication : what works

July 2003

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This presentation gives an overview of what works in participatory communication based on the experience of the past 50 years. It looks at an 'alphabet soup' of approaches in development communication, provides some definitions and discusses some common misconceptions about communication in development. There have been some changes in the practice of development communication which are noted. There are then some case studies looking at different interventions, followed by five key ideas on what works in development communication



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