Development Cooperation Handbook/Communication Management/Planning and executing a communication action for promoting awareness

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We have seen that communication is an essential element of project management, as it is required to generate internal team co-operation and external consensus to all project phases.

There are however some kinds of activities or projects where communication is given a higher consideration and becomes central to the scope of the whole action. This is particularly when the scope of the action is to increase knowledge and awareness in the counterpart, and formal communication is identified as the main means to such a scope. Usually to these kind of actions are given the name of "campaigns".

The concept of "campaign" is borrowed from the military field. "Campaign" is the terrain of physical confrontation in warfare. In communication is the actual execution “in the field” of a communication strategy.

It would not be proper to call “campaign” an information service. “Campaign” conveys the idea of something extempore, that has a specific end and can result in “success” or “defeat”. It has to overcome some resistance on the counterpart.

According the two other modalities of human relationship we can have the:

  • propaganda campaign”, aimed at generating persuasion, that will utilised the method that we have defined as “rhetoric”; the purpose is "to win over" the target population and defeat their psychological defences.
  • the “awareness creation campaign” aimed at educating the target audience and contrasting ignorance or isolation.

It is fundamentally this idea of “contrasting ignorance”, along with its non-continuous character, that gives a sort of “warfare” connotation to the "awareness campaign" that is otherwise a typical educational activity.

Through a specifically planned communication action, along a strategic approach, an awareness campaign aims at improving the life quality of the audience, that is also the community expected to gain from it.

The methodology of the awareness campaign is therefore characterised by the fact that :

  • - it is aimed at improving the life of the beneficiary;
  • - the beneficiary (before the campaign) is not fully aware of the benefices that may receive from the campaign results.
  • - It uses “communication” as the main means to generate the expected results.

By “generating awareness action” we mean an action aimed at educating the target audience and contrasting ignorance or isolation. By “generating awareness for global development” we mean an activity aimed at facilitating the understanding of the linkages between development cooperation and the governance of global issues that impact at local level (like global security, intercultural dialogue, environment sustainability, migration, etc.)

See also Advertising and marketing

Video Documentary on the "Palestiniadi"

“Palestiniadi”, is a sport event organized in Lebanon, funded by  the Development Cooperation Office of the Italian Government. It is a three-day-event for young Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

The award winning documentary "Palestiniadi", directed by Federica Cellini, shares the story of young sports boys and girls as it interweaves with the story of the Palestinians who received training as video-journalists and are covering this event. Federica carries the viewer through this interaction between the two groups of Palestinian youth while at the same time sharing the difficulties and joys of documenting this interaction. The will of the girls and boys to play together in a peaceful sport event and the will of the young journalists to narrate the event get woven together in a story, making the documentary a window on the challenges, values and hopes of the young Palestinians. It is only because the documentary has been able to portray aspirations of the youth that it has succeeded in revealing the human purpose behind the spirit of inter governmental cooperation.


Julian Parr, Regional Manager South Est Asia, Oxfam GB

What kind of communication facilitates Intercultural understanding?

One of the key challenge is the massive diverse cultures. How do you communicate in a way that it is meaningful to an individual. If people don't relate to what they see or hear then it is not meaningful to them. So, in all forms of communication is about simplicity of message, you communicate one message and you keep banging it, but also need to do it in a way that is relevant and people can have an empathy towards. So even the way you dress the way you speak is all crucial to whether you will absorb that message.

⇒  See more in the complete interview<br>