Terre des Hommes: Hope-based Communication Guidelines


Stories shape societies is a publication that provides communicators in the field of migration and integration, as well as other concerned audiences such as journalists and policy makers, with hope-based communication guidelines promoting a narrative shift in communication and public debate, particularly around children and young people on the move. Developed in cooperation with Terre des Hommes’ youth networks and a range of civil society organisations, these guidelines help create solution-oriented narratives around migration and invite users to reflect on the wider storyline that their communication is feeding into.


The project is based on insights into current global and national narratives that where gained through a series of creative workshops. Many workshop participants reported on the influence of communication content using fear-based narratives as well as xenophobic rhetoric to depict people on the move as threats. While such narratives can increase polarization in public debate, the proposed guidelines provide communicators with the needed tools to set a different agenda.


The hope-based communication method is based on five principles:

  1. Move from fear to hope;
  2. Say what you are for, instead of what you are against;
  3. Show solutions, not just problems;
  4. Focus on the opportunity, not the threat;
  5. Show everyday human heroes, not powerless victims.

The sample messages, narratives and content packages provided in the guidelines have been tested and are based on the insights from qualitative research studies put in place in South Africa and Malta, two countries in which public opinion around migration is in many cases very negative.

Stories shape societies

Stories shape societies is a project of Terre des Hommes' Destination Unknown project, a global campaigning network of organisations working to protect the rights of children and young people on the move. It provides a platform for collaboration and mutual learning about how best to protect young migrants. Furthermore, the network actively campaigns for inclusive laws and policies for this target group and tries to raise awareness for the challenges they are facing.


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