Guidance for Effective Local Communication Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
This guide aims to support the planning and delivery of effective communication around COVID-19 at a local level. Produced by the Communication for Development (C4D) Network, a global network of communication professionals, it seeks to answer the following questions: As communicators, how can we respond effectively to the COVID-19 epidemic? How can we support our communities to cope and to protect themselves?
In the guide, the C4D Network covers: knowing and communicating the facts around COVID-19, understanding the pandemic’s timeline and accompanying communication phases, and accessing resources and materials. The resource also includes information about what needs to be communicated, including key messages, as well as considerations around communication planning and appropriate communication routes and methods. It is intended for small community-based organisations, as well as larger non-governmental organisations (NGOs), faith-based leaders and groups, the media, and a wide range of other people who, in varied walks of life, are “communicators”.
Following an introduction, the contents are as follows:
- Knowing and communicating the facts about Coronavirus (COVID-19) – explores the challenges of misinformation and rumours and the need for communicators to use trusted sources for their information and to check and recheck new information.
- The pandemic’s timeline and communication phases – looks at the specific stages of the pandemic timeline that require specific types of communication – from the stage of awaiting and preparation, to the stage of the disease starting, then to its surge with massive numbers of infections and death rates, and then to its decline and finally its end.
- Where communicators can access support and resources – highlights a number of key organisations and initiatives that are working to support communicators with information and resources. These include The Communication Initiative, Compass for social and behaviour change communication (SBCC), the Communicating with Disaster Affected Communities (CDAC) Network, C4D Network, and others.
- Key Coronavirus (COVID-19) communication messages – calls attention to some of the key messages that every community, anywhere in the world needs to receive around prevention and protection, as well as other key messaging around mobilising to help one another, supporting those in isolation, and finding inventive ways to ensure that basic needs of food and shelter are met within a community.
- How communicators can support communities – presents ways in which organisations can support communications that address the psychological, social, and economic needs of a community – for example, through the coordination of telephone support or online counselling, the promotion of online educational services, or the provision of ideas for online income generation opportunities.
- Communication routes and methods – considers communication options that can replace face-to-face communication, such as social media, community media, podcasts, and music.
- Learning and planning for effective communication – outlines what communicators need to do to be effective communicators in this pandemic, which includes knowing about public health communication, community mobilisation, SBCC, and media development.
- Communication planning using the strategic cycle – discusses 6 key steps to follow when developing a communication plan. These are research, message development, design options, production, dissemination, and reflection.
The guide is accompanied by a mapping document that provides links to a wide range of resources for communicators.