Community Media for Social and Behaviour Change
The Power and Principles of Participatory Storytelling
As a social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) approach, community media blend the art of storytelling with innovative and scalable technologies that can excite and empower communities to improve their health and wellbeing. We define community media as any technology-enabled media that, to varying degrees, are developed in the community, about the community, and with the community. The range of community media tools and formats makes it an attractive health communication or SBCC approach that can be applied to interpersonal, community, and institutional settings. Community media are constantly evolving as they combine and use emerging technologies along with traditional communication platforms to better serve unique community needs. Community media’s ability to deepen community participation, access, social learning, and engagement is increasingly made possible with Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Although the definitions and implementation approaches for community media vary, having a flexible range of options in our SBCC toolkit is an asset for community programming, allowing implementers to adapt community media approaches to their own cultural, environmental, and programming contexts. This flexibility will allow community media to evolve with changing community needs and technology, primed to serve as a tool that empowers individuals to tell their stories and improve health and wellbeing in their communities for years to come. In this paper, we synthesise the literature on community media and provide principles and practical guidance to help programme managers and other decision-makers who are considering the use of various types of community media.