IEC interventions are a vital part of any health promotion programme because they help communities to take action to reduce public health risks. An effective IEC intervention seeks to understand the motivations for behaviour change amongst different target groups as well as the barriers to change.
IEC materials and activities are an essential component of any WASH programme. WASH staff involved in the development of IEC should:
- Undertake an assessment of IEC needs, local literacy levels and cultural and religious issues around public communication. The information gathered in the assessment provides the framework for a ‘communication plan’ that should describe intended audiences, IEC techniques, monitoring plans, logistics and budget.
- Collaborate with the affected community in developing IEC. Activities and materials should always be culturally sensitive and appropriate.
- Co-ordinate IEC plans with the WASH Cluster to ensure a collaborative approach, consistent with government policy is adopted.
- Pre-test IEC materials within the affected community.
- Ensure materials are logical and non-technical.
- Make sure pictures are as accurate as possible and familiar to audience.
- Identify local motivating factors for behaviour change and design images based on these factors.
- Try to convey positive messages.
- Undertake regular monitoring of IEC activities – both for feedback on the IEC and to determine the impact of the IEC on WASH practices, and to modify approaches as appropriate.