Position Paper Communication for Development (C4D) Realizing Strategic Shifts and Accelerating Results for Children Policy and Practice UNICEF New York April 2009 Note: Comments on this Draft Paper should be posted at: [email protected] Draft Position Paper: Communication for Development – Realizing Strategic Shifts and Accelerating Results for Children Policy and Practice, UNICEF New York, April 2009 0
I. Communication for Development as a Key to Reaching the MDGs Communication for Development (C4D) strategies that promote behaviour and social change are particularly relevant and in many cases, essential to development programmes as they seek the achievement of the MDGs and the broader realization of the rights of children and women. While cost-effective, affordable and high-impact interventions such as vaccines, antibiotics and micronutrient supplementation save lives, they are not enough for long-term, sustained impact. No matter how well commodities are distributed or how efficiently services are provided, children will continue to die from preventable diseases, become malnourished and have their social, emotional and cognitive development compromised, if their families and communities do not also care for, protect and nurture them more effectively. C4D strategies and approaches are, therefore, required to help provide caregivers and community members with the essential information and to help develop the skills and self confidence that they require to make informed decisions on issues that affect their lives and their children’s well-being. Supportive policies and legislation, resources and service delivery systems need to be introduced and strengthened. But unless engagement and empowerment of parents, caregivers and local organizations is ensured, legislative reform and service and supply efforts on their own, will have limited long-term impact. Sustained behaviour and social change is effective only when combined with changes in the broader socio-economic environment within which families and communities live and in which children survive and thrive. This includes addressing underlying and contextual factors such as government policies, gender inequalities, and systems of representation as well as issues related to extreme poverty, discrimination and sustainable livelihoods. Within an enabling environment, C4D strategies and programmes can help promote lasting changes in values and practices; in traditional, cultural and religious beliefs; in attitudes and perception; in gender relationships; and in the power dynamics within and among communities. These changes often take time, are challenging to measure and require sustained effort and application of resources. The need for them is often underestimated by governments, development agencies and donors. UNICEF is well-placed and determined to avoid this and to build coalitions for the necessary investments in C4D.
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