Radio or Television (TV) are cost-effective Mass Communication [C.5] tools that can rapidly spread information and raise awareness on hygiene-related issues, help create demand and influence or change public opinion and behaviours.
Radio and TV can be used to rapidly spread simple WASH and hygiene-related information to large numbers of people, increasing awareness and interest in improved hygiene. They may reach people who are otherwise isolated by geography, conflict, low literacy or poverty. Radios are usually widely available even in countries where TV is uncommon. This makes radio a particularly valuable medium if literacy is low or in communities with a more oral tradition. However, lack of electricity or the need for batteries can be limiting factors. Both Radio and TV are one-way media usually with little or no participatory elements. This makes it difficult to interact with the target audience and to know whether the information is retained or effective in influencing change. However, participatory elements can still be used to engage more actively with the audience. Examples include radio call-ins and encouraging groups to listen or watch together, followed by discussion. The use of Radio and TV should be embedded in a wider communication strategy using different channels, such as the use of Household Visits T.18 or leaflets T.19. A detailed Assessment (chapter A ) is essential to understand which communication channels are usually used by the community and whether Radio and TV are culturally appropriate and accessible.
Radio and TV can be used in all response phases and both rural and urban contexts. They can reach large numbers of people from different segments of the community. People can also be reached remotely C.8. Radios, in particular, are an inexpensive and popular form of communication. Radio broadcasts are easy to produce though airtime can be expensive.
Consider using slogans, jingles or Songs [T.47] that are recognisable to the audience
Always base the selection of communication channels on a prior assessment
Choose a Radio or TV station that has a wide reach within your target audience, is trusted by the population, broadcasts in the preferred language and does not have strong affiliations to any one group
Do not use channels that may affect the neutrality and impartiality of the organisation
Do not underestimate the skills and the time needed to train the team
To build awareness of disaster preparedness among people in Kurigram and Barguna districts, the Bangladesh Red Crescent chose community radio stations as a medium of communication. Their ‘Hello Red Crescent: We Listen To You!’ has been regularly broadcast. The theme of each radio show is decided through discussion sessions to identify the issues and information that are important to communities. Providing vital information through Radio broadcasts helped people to take action to better protect themselves and their families against disasters.
IFRC (2021): Community Engagement and Accountability Toolkit Tool 8: Communication Channels
SSWM (undated): Media Campaigns – Radio
SSWM (undated): The Radio News Story
SSWM (undated): The Radio Lead-In
SSWM (undated): The Telephone Interview for Radio Broadcast
SSWM (undated): The TV Interview for Water Reporting