Successful Communication – A Toolkit for Researchers and Civil Society Organisations

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The authors begin by highlighting that communication is crucial in development – whether in the form of dissemination, guidelines, prescriptions, recommendations, advocacy, promotion, persuasion, education, conversation, roundtables, consultations, dialogue, counselling or entertainment. At the same time, however, they note that communication is often more than providing information. It is about fostering social awareness and facilitating public democratic dialogue. It is about contributing to evidence-based policy, and about building a shared understanding which can lead to social change. It is about creating space for the voices of the poor to be heard, and, ultimately, it is about redistributing power. Furthermore, more communication does not automatically mean more development.

This toolkit is aimed at researchers and practitioners who wish to communicate with policy makers. The tools are, therefore, specifically geared towards the needs of researchers and practitioners in civil society organisations (CSOs), including development NGOs research institutes, think tanks, universities and networks.

The toolkit addresses the questions of how researchers and CSOs can best communicate evidence in order to inform or influence policy, to achieve their own stated development objectives, or simply to make their own knowledge accessible and understandable to a wider audience.

After providing the background picture, as well as looking at the reasons for communicating and conducting a literature review, the toolkit sets out the key tools based under for core heading – Planning, Packaging, Targeting and Monitoring.

Planning Tools

  1. Stakeholder Analysis
  2. Social Network Analysis
  3. Problem Tree Analysis
  4. Force Field Analysis
  5. National Systems of Innovation (NSI)
  6. How to Write a Communication Strategy

Packaging Tools

  1. Visioning Scenarios: Show the Future
  2. Tell a Story
  3. Provide a Solution
  4. Use Surprise
  5. Be Persuasive

Targeting Tools

  1. Writing Policy Papers
  2. Building a Community of Practice
  3. Lobbying
  4. The Gilbert Email Manifesto (GEM)
  5. Websites
  6. Blogging
  7. Media Engagement
  8. Radio

Monitoring Tools

  1. Most Significant Change (MSC)
  2. Outcome Mapping
  3. Researcher Checklist
  4. CFSC Integrated Model

Document Information

Document Type Toolkit
Author Hovland, I
Year of Publication 2005
Publisher Overseas Development Institute
Number of Pages 72 pp.
Region / Country Global /
Primary Language English (en)
Keywords Communication, Policy Dialogue, Development, Information
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