Communication and development

Toolkit on Communication for Development (C4D)


Communication for Development (C4D), commonly known as “Communication for results” or “Strategic Communication”, is a tool as well as a process for the effective delivery of aid programmes. C4D approaches privilege a role for communication throughout the programme cycle, as opposed to exclusively as a dissemination function at the end of the programme.
Integrating communication as a management tool for project or programme has internal as well as external dimensions:
- Internally the emphasis is on harnessing communication as a tool for internal learning towards more joined-up action.
- Externally communication engages project or programme beneficiaries and other key stakeholders, including government officials and policy-makers. (Source: Study on Communicating Development Results, by Peter da Costa, commissioned by the OECD DAC Development Co-operation Directorate & DevCom Network, May 2009).
This page is an online collection of various sources, materials and information aimed at assisting development communicators in putting C4D into practice.


UN Inter-Agency Round Tables on Communication for Development
UN Inter-Agency Round Tables on Communication for Development bring together UN agencies and international partners to discuss and debate the very roles and practice of communication for development.
More info.


Overview of UN Inter-Agency Round Tables on Communication for Development (January 2009, 36 pages)
This paper provides an overview of the discussions and recommendations from all the ten UN Inter-agency Roundtables held since 1988. It divides the Roundtables into three broad phases and places them within the wider changes in the UN organizational and policy context as well as within the global trends in information and communication.


Developing a UN system-wide common approach to communication for development in view of acheiving the Millennium Development Goals,10th UN Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development (Addis Ababa, 12-14 February 2007)

More info

> Background paper: Harnessing the UN System into a Common Approach on Communication for Development (February 2007, 42 pages)

> Final report: Achieving the Millenium Development Goals (February 2007, 69 pages)


Moving C4D up the International Development Agenda: Demonstrating Impact and Positioning Institutionally, 11th UN Inter-Agency Round Table on Communication for Development (11-13 March 2009, Washington)

More info

> Background paper: Fitting the glass slipper! Institutionalising Communication for Development within the UN (February 2009, 88 pages)

> Final report: Demonstrating Impact and Positioning Institutionally (March 2009, 96 pages)


Other UN material
Writing a Communication Strategy for Development Programmes: A Guideline for Programme Managers and Communication Officers, UNICEF Bangladesh (2008, 76 pages)
UNICEF Bangladesh Programme Communication Coordination Team has prepared this Guideline has developed this tool to guide the actual writing of a communication strategy for a programme or a project, a strategy that supports a programme to achieve its development goals, especially its social and behavioural objectives. This tool guides the writer of the strategy to use results of research and various analyses to shape communication approaches into a strategy document.
Communication for Development: A Glimpse at UNDP's Practice (2009, 60 pages)
The booklet illustrates how C4D concepts are operationalised across UNDP practice areas at the programme and project level through 13 brief case studies from UNDP country offices.


Monitoring and Evaluation of UN-assisted Communication for Development Programmes: Recommendations for Best Practice Methodologies and Indicators, 2009 (February 2009, 43 pages)
This background discussion paper explores the key issues surrounding Communication for Development. It provides case studies, best practice methodology and proposes a set of draft indicators to aid the Round table participants to identify and discuss key questions and issues on monitoring and evaluation of C4D.


Integrating Communication for Development into the Common Country Assessment and the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, (March 2009, 22 pages)
The paper demonstrates that integrating C4D processes into the CCA and UNDAF strengthens UN Country Team (UNCT) analysis and adds value to its collective programme response to identified national priorities. It also notes the close alignment between aspects of the existing CCA/UNDAF guidelines and principles of C4D, and identifies possible C4D ‘entry points’, which should be discussed with UNDG as part of a process to ensure explicit incorporation of C4D into subsequent revisions of the guidelines.

World Bank material


World Bank's work on Development Communication: DevComm

DevComm's website

Overview of DevComm's mission and organisation (PPT, 12 slides)


Other World Bank material

Development Communication Sourcebook (2008, 266 pages)


World Congress on Communication for Development: Lessons, Challenges, and the Way forward (2007, 352 pages), by the Communication Initiative, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and the World Bank, Rome, Italy, 26-27 October 2006

Setting Standards for Communication and Governance: the example of Infrastructures Projects, World Bank Working Paper no. 121 (June 2007, 66 pages)


Communication-Based Assessment for Bank Operations, World Bank Working Paper no 119 (June 2007, 60 pages)


Other sources


How to use communication to make aid effective: Strategies and principles for programme-based approaches, BBC World Service Trust (January 2010, 32 pages)

This review examines why and how the role of communication can be mainstreamed into programme-based approaches (PBAs), one of the main methods now used by bilateral donors to disburse funding to developing countries. Developed in association with (but is published independently of) the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), this review is intended for three types of audience: communication and media practitioners who work in support of development objectives, or who have a link with the development and aid sectors; donors and developing country policymakers concerned with increasing public understanding and engagement within developing countries with the development system; and country-based organisations that provide technical support and conduct advocacy to prioritise communication and media issues among donors and governments.


At the heart of change: the role of communication in sustainable development, Panos London (September 2007, 36 pages)
Panos London sets out what it believes should be the role of communication in long-term, sustainable development. It challenges governments and all involved in policy-making and planning to listen to the views of ordinary people, to involve civil society in decision-making and to recognise the important part the media can play in debating development issues and challenging government accountability.


Silvio Waisbord, The Institutional Challenges of Participatory Communication in International Aid (March 2008, 12 pages, paying access), School of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University


Media Development

UNESCO's work on Media Development
UNESCO helps to strenghten the capacities of communication institutions, to improve the training of media professionals and to raise awareness among the public in making best use of communication resources.
International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC)
The IPDC is the only multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries. The Programme not only provides support for media projects but also seeks an accord to secure a healthy environment for the growth of free and pluralistic media in developing countries.


World Bank's Voice through Media programme: Empowering the Poor Through Community Radio.
The World Bank Institute (WBI) is supporting a Bank-wide Grassroots Media Program to strengthen the community radio sector and the climate for public interest media in developing countries. This is a relatively new area of World Bank involvement. It is supported by the Bank’s program to enhance policies, institutions and capacities for Civic Engagement, Empowerment, and Respect for Diversity (CEERD).


Communication for Empowerment: developing media strategies in support of vulnerable groups (March 2006, 50 pages)
This UNDP Practical Guidance Note aims to demonstrate that media can play a crucial role in empowering vulnerable and marginalized groups. This can best be achieved if media support and media capacity development is directed in a way that enables the media to better respond to and reflect the information and communication needs of these groups. This kind of media support can be called Communication for Empowerment.


Material from specific countries


C4D Resources and Checklist for Development Communication, Belgium Technical Co-operation (7 pages)


Getting it together: Strengthening transparency, accountability, participation and non-discrimination with communication methods,  Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), (April 2010, 42 pages)

Summary (2 pages)

This document highlights methods for enabling inhabitants in a country to influence the work of government. Public bodies are in focus. It defines communication as both a concept and a method. It recognizes different types of working methods such as those with communication elements that are process-driven and participatory, as well as those that are about distributing information.It identifies possible stakeholders, entry points and opportunities for using communication within program-based approaches with a main focus on public bodies. It further provides a menu of key issues for planning, review, assessment and follow-up at different levels and in different areas, intrinsically highlighting the roles of civil society and the media.


Dialogue and Strategic Communication in Development Cooperation, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), (September 2006, 60 pages)

Guidelines: Monitoring and Evaluating Information and Communication for Development (CD4) Programmes, DFID, United Kingdom (March 2005, 21 pages)


The Communication Initiative

The Communication Initiative network is an online space for sharing the experiences of, and building bridges between, the people and organisations engaged in or supporting communication as a fundamental strategy for economic and social development and change. It does this through a process of initiating dialogue and debate and giving the network a stronger, more representative and informed voice with which to advance the use and improve the impact of communication for development. This process is supported by web-based resources of summarised information and several electronic publications, as well as online research, review, and discussion platforms providing insight into communication for development experiences.



For questions or submission of tools on Communication for Development please contact the DevCom Team.




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