Print Media is a cost-effective Mass Communication [C.5] tool to spread information and raise awareness on hygiene-related issues. It can help create demand and influence public opinion and behaviours.
Print Media, such as newspapers, leaflets or brochures, can be used to cover a wide geographical area and spread simple WASH and hygiene-related information to large numbers of people, increasing awareness and interest in improved hygiene. Posters and flyers are more useful for sharing information relevant to a specific community. Print Media usually involves text and, as such, usually reaches only those who can read. However, visualisations and pictures such as comic stories can help make the content more accessible. Print Media is usually a one-way communication method making it more difficult to interact with the target audience or to know whether the information is retained or influencing change. Print Media should be embedded in a wider communication strategy using different channels such as Radio and TV T.38, Social Media and Text Messaging T.44, Public Announcements T.36, Community Drama, Cinema and Puppet Theatre T.6 or Household Visits T.18. A good quality Assessment (chapter A ) is fundamental to understand what communication channels are generally used by the community and whether Print Media is culturally appropriate and accessible.
Print Media can be used in all response phases and in both rural and urban contexts. Newspapers can reach large numbers of people from different segments of the community but can only reach literate people. Flyers and posters can use images to explain and provide information and can be used in a variety of locations; they do rely on physical access for distribution. Print costs can be high.
Assess priorities and develop the content based on key hygiene behaviours
Pre-test the messages to make sure they are sufficiently understood
Try to negotiate for free or reduced-cost media services, explaining that the aim is to benefit the population not for profit
Do not use channels that may affect the programme’s neutrality and impartiality
To build awareness of Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM), the Iraqi Red Crescent and the French Red Cross together adapted the MHM educational guide called ‘Rosie’s World’ to the Iraqi context. As well as translating the text into Arabic and ensuring terms and language aligned with the Iraqi context, they also adapted Rosie to look like an Iraqi girl to whom students could easily relate. Printing guides that engaged the local population helped people to better understand MHM issues and support women and girls.
IFRC (2021): Community Engagement and Accountability Toolkit Tool 8: Communication Channels
SSWM (undated): Media Campaign. Poster and Flyer
IFRC (2020): Learning from Other National Societies. Global Menstrual Hygiene Management Experiences (Available in different languages)