Story by Adheep Pokhrel, Communications Director, Early Grade Reading Program. Another Option is a subcontractor specializing in social and behavior change communication (SBCC) under USAID/Nepal’s Early Grade Reading Program (EGRP) managed by RTI International. EGRP operates in 16 districts in Nepal’s terai (plains) and far west regions. Targeted to parents of students in Grades 1 – 3 from minority ethnic populations and their teachers. Another Option and its research partner, GTA, conducted qualitative research among these target audiences. The qualitative research findings were used to develop messages and the SBCC strategy.
A Message Development Meeting called by the Department of Education was held on February 8, 2016.
What do you say to parents to encourage them to support their children in early grade reading, or to be engaged in their children’s early grade reading program?
Turning correct information into memorable and effective communication messages is not as easy as it might first appear. The Department of Education and USAID’s Early Grade Reading Program (EGRP) organized a Stakeholder’s Message Development Meeting held on February 8th to develop key messages that will be used in radio advertisements, social mobilization and a communication campaign targeted to parents, teachers and key stakeholders.
Representatives from the Central Line Agencies (CLA) and the EGRP communication team worked together to develop messages that combined parents’ and teachers’ personal goals with desired behaviors. The participants actively engaged in the message development session and produced a series of creative messages that reinforced positive behaviors and came in many forms, including songs, poems and rhyming verse and even a promise of a peaceful and happy life.
The meeting was led by Mr. Bishnu Adhikari, Deputy Director, Department of Education. In his remarks he emphasized the role of the media and education journalists in mobilizing communities to promote early grade reading, and the need for correct messages.
Mr. Madhav Prasad Dahal, Deputy Director, Distance and Open Learning Unit, NCED, said in his formal remarks, “My office welcomes collaboration with EGRP to develop radio Public Service Announcements for early grade reading that will be aired on national radio. My staff is available to work with EGRP.”
Through community and media mobilization, EGRP will focus on building understanding of the importance of children reading in their first language among parents and communities, as well as engaging parents and community-based organizations in evidence-based practices to support young readers.
The meeting was held at the National Center for Education Development (NCED) in Bhaktapur. Participants included government officials from the Central Line Agencies (CLAs) and the EGRP communication team.