Community Media/CLP/Assessment points

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Key Considerations for Community Learning Programme Assessments

The following key areas should, ideally, find their way into the preliminary programme plan, for which the assessment research lays the foundation:


  1. Target learners: We need to think about identifiable learners. This is often hard for radio stations, who like to deal with large numbers of listeners. Ideally the programme will have 300 or more identifiable learners. It depends on the community and in particular the existing community development networks that would allow us to reach those learners in tangible, generally face-to-face ways. In Malawi, the target learners are 6000 women that are part of the MaiMwana group network. It also depends on the focus and the topics. In South Africa, there are about 400 learners about half with 5 NGOs that work on HIV and about half from 5 high schools. In Toledo, we have fewer identified learners (about 100).
  2. Participation: What are the main strategies for getting stakeholders involved and making it a truly participatory programme, e.g. linking to existing demands for media, info; getting stakeholder representatives involved in the design workshop and the core team that manages the programme on an ongoing basis, using a field-based approach to content gathering; making the programme about stakeholders’ experiences.


  1. Partners: We need to think about the four groups that make up the collaborative model and how each will be represented in the two processes, i.e. the design workshop and ongoing programme management through a dedicated team:
    • Media/ICT groups (not only the radio but also other possible collaborators)
    • Health experts & authorities (not just their clinic and health workers (both are likely critical parts of the programme), but also the health authorities)
    • Community mobilisation networks (women’s networks, farmers groups, support groups, etc.)
    • Community members (learners, and peer educators)

Learning content and learner support:

  1. Topics for the programme: Obviously the learners will also have a lot to do with the topics that learning programme focuses on. What are the priority health or related community development concerns? How likely are we going to be able to deal with them given the other factors. In Malawi, the topic is maternal and child health so there are many issues (not just pregnancy and childbirth, but HIV, malaria, nutrition, etc.) dealt with in the overall programme. In South Africa, the topic is more focused, e.g. on HIV/AIDS, but even here there are multiple issues. In Malawi, the link between the learners and the topic clear (i.e. pregnant women and new mothers), in South Africa, it’s less clear because HIV is a learning topic for everyone.
  2. Learner support: How do we integrate a face-to-face element? How can we integrate a multichannel element, e.g. using print, mobiles, TV, etc. What’s possible given the local environment.


  1. Logistics: How will the project team manage the learners? How will they be indentified and tracked? We’ll need to remind them to listen to the programmes? We’ll want feedback from them? Can we do some sort of assessment of what’s been learnt? Do we offer certificates of some kind?
  2. Sustainability: These programmes work best if they have funds to support the key cost areas: airtime, staffing, transportation.#Training: What sorts of training needs are the centre, radio and other partners going to need to develop the programme, e.g. field-based interviewing skills are critical, they may need training on using an SMS broadcast system for learner support and logistics.

Monitoring and Evaluation:

  1. How are we going to monitor and evaluate? We will need to do a baseline with the learners, but what else will do for research. I’m sure the clinic can help with more general data. Obviously we’d like to generate some good evidence of the learning outcomes of the programme. It’s perhaps more a question for the programme design workshop, but important that we think about this now.


This is of particular importance for the lead lead partner(s): This is a fundamental reason for the assessment and also a critical step in terms of planning out the programme in terms of what sort of inputs are needed. Things to consider include

  1. The governance structure: How democratic is it? How representative and of whom?
  2. Transparency and accountability: Is information freely available to everyone, e.g. about development projects and finances? If we provide support for a particular approach to educational programming, will they share the details with their staff, their partners, the community?
  3. The degree to which participation is already a part of their approach to development communication: Many groups only have token participation and or nothing meaningful. Do they do any field-based production?
  4. The practical approach to programming and production: Do they have paid staff in production? How skilled are their programme staff? Will some form of payment to programme producers mess with their structure? Will management feel threatened by staff paid an honourarium?