Leadership in Strategic Health Communication: Making a Difference in Health and Development
The first step of the P Process framework, inquire, aims to answer the core question: what is the communication problem? The associated exercises will help you understand the current situation, key constraints and likely outcomes if the current situation remains fundamentally the same. In this step you will be asked to craft a shared vision to meet the primary goals of your intended communication campaign. The shared vision inspires and set the course for what you will do, including any communication objectives.
To clearly define what we want to achieve, as well as to understand the audience in relation to the shared vision and current situation. The shared vision inspires and sets the course for what you will do, including any communication objectives. Our analysis of the current situation and audience will help formulate our strategic communication objectives and key messages in the subsequent steps of the P Process framework.
- Conduct baseline and/or formative research with your audience.
- Conduct a review of demographic, epidemiological, sociological, economic and other relevant studies.
- Assess existing policies and programs; review quantitative data that is available.
- Learn about active and available communication channels.
- Identify partners and allies, both organizations and influential individuals, at the national and local levels and assessing their organizational capacities.
- Consider possible gender differences and make sure all viewpoints are represented in the formative research.
- Consolidate your understanding of the problem into a problem statement that summarizes the goal of the project.
- A situation analysis that details the problem and your understanding of its causes, facilitators and possible remedies.
- A problem statement that articulates the goal of the forthcoming project.
The second step of the P Process framework, strategy design, aims to answer the core question: What do we need to do? As in medicine, treatment choice is based on diagnosis. You must ensure that your strategy is most appropriate given your key constraint or “pivot point”. A pivot point is a variable that would lead to profound impact if changed. The associated exercises will help you describe your communication objectives and build the conceptual framework based on the appropriate behavioral theory. In this step, you will also be asked to specify the possible benefits of the behavior change from the perspective of your audience segment. You will need to frame quantitative and qualitative indicators to monitor and evaluate your outputs and outcomes.
To describe our strategic communication objectives and decide on the key benefit that could motivate our audiences to change their behavior. We will state clearly what we would like our audience to do and why they should do it and develop a media plan for communicating our messages.
- Bring together all the relevant players to participate in the strategy development process.
- Agree on the scope of the program and discussing any limitations imposed by the budget, political situation, timeframe, etc.
- Choose a behavior change model/theory and theoretical framework.
- Decide, given budget, time and other constraints, on audiences, interventions for identified barriers, communication objectives, program approaches, communication channels, and plans for implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and dissemination.
A strategic plan that all partners can use to map out their activities and refer to for direction as the project unfolds.
The third step of the P Process framework, create and test, aims to answer the core question: What creative approaches and materials do we need to develop? The associated exercises will help you establish your media plans and develop materials with key messages.
To describe how to communicate our messages in accordance with the objectives of our campaign and desirable impacts. We will choose the appropriate media mix, deciding which will be your primary medium and our secondary media.
- Choose your creative team-designers, artists, writers, producers, and broadcaster-depending on your products.
- Plan a design workshop that includes the creative team, key stakeholders and audience members.
- Create draft concepts and materials for audience pretesting.
- Test concepts and materials with intended audiences and key decision-makers via focus group discussions or in-depth, one-on-one interviews.
- Share the results of the pretesting with the creative team and your key stakeholders and, through a participatory process, agree on necessary revisions.
- Revise the materials based on the feedback you received.
- Retest the materials to make sure the revisions resolve key issues uncovered during pretesting.
- Produce the final materials.
A package of completed materials ready for distribution.
The fourth step of the P Process framework, mobilize and monitor, aims to answer the core question: How do we make things happen? The associated exercises will help you make plans to motivate a team and encourage collaborating partnerships. In this step, you will also be asked to build detailed implementation and management plans.
To describe how we can best promote the cooperative organizational climate and implement our planned activities and tasks.
- Make sure all partners understand their roles in the project and are ready and able to move ahead.
- Conduct any needed training of field workers, health personnel and other project implementers.
- Keep all partners updated on how implementation is proceeding. Share good new as well as problematic situations.
- Share the credit for good work with partners, decision-makers and other stakeholders.
- Monitor your monitoring activities. Check your numbers-service statistics, mass rating, number of materials distributes, count the number of people reached or trained-on a regular basis.
- Make sure monitoring activities are occurring as planned and that the information you get is useful and actionable.
- Make mid-course corrections as needed. Use the lessons learned from monitoring activities to adjust and fine tune your implementation.
- Prepare for further evaluation activities.
An integrated set of program activities including any adjustments indicated by monitoring.
The fifth step of the P Process framework, evaluate and evolve, aims to answer the core question: How do we know that we are making progress and achieving our desired impact? The associated exercises will help you select the indicators for monitoring success.
To describe the steps to monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of our communication response.
- Measure outcomes and assessing impact through surveys and other evaluation techniques.
- Disseminate results with donors, partners, key stakeholders and decision-makers, media and other interested individuals and organization.
- Look to the future: future opportunities, how to apply lessons learned, where follow-up is needed and how results could be scaled up.
Dissemination event or series of events, publications.
Theories are stories that help us:
- Organize our ideas
- Learn from collective wisdom
- Develop strategic communication objective
The better your message is matched to theory, the more likely that desired outcomes will result.
Participation and Capacity appear throughout the P-Process because they are essential to building strong partnerships and coalitions from the international and national level to the local and community level. Also, both concepts are also crucial to increase the sustainability of program efforts and outcomes.
A strong communication program should fully engage multiple stakeholders at the national, district, and community level.
Who should participate in strategic planning and program implementation?
Just about everyone who has a stake in the outcome! The P-process works best when each step is informed by a robust group of program partners, decision-makers, audience members and technical experts. Not everyone needs to be at every meeting, but it is important to bring the entire team together at crucial points in the planning and implementation process at the design strategy workshop, for example, and the project kickoff. It is also critical to have broad participation during implementation; this spreads project ownership and is the first step to on the road to sustainability.
How to build capacity
A blended learning approach at the individual, organizational and system levels is the most effective approach towards building capacity. Blended learning includes a mix of on-the-job coaching and mentoring and formal training opportunities so that learning is happening all the time and at all levels. Program implementers get to practice at work what they have learned via virtual and face-to-face training programs. They can use what they learn to design, implement and evaluate programs and solve problems as they arise in real time.