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Communications techniques

Establishing good communications channels between key stakeholders – notably project staff, officials, local communities and beneficiaries – is an important part of project planning. Without good communications, the participatory process is likely to remain cosmetic and ineffective. Many techniques have been developed for eliciting and exchanging information between stakeholders, especially between project staff and beneficiary populations and user groups, and are described in the literature on participatory appraisal (see below). Low-income, illiterate or marginalised groups may feel inhibited in face-to-face contact with outsiders and these techniques are designed to overcome such problems. Communications aids such as flip-charts, cue-cards, visualisation of problems, videos and cartoons, may be needed. NGOs, educators, and communications experts with the relevant experience need to be involved in the development of such aids and their application. More distant communications channels such as radio and television can also be used, but active participation requires face-to-face communications.

Further information:Communication strategies for heightening awareness of water, UNESCO, 1987. Communication in Water Supply and Sanitation – a Resource Booklet. IRC, 1993.


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