Our Portals & Sites

HealthPhone: Health, Nutrition, Medical Training Videos

Ebola Resources

The Communication Initiative

updated: 14 November, 2014

Strategic Thinking - Community Participation - Digital - Radio - Advocacy - Film and Video - Television - Materials - UNICEF

EBOLA: Communication and media as a central part of the Ebola struggle
A South African Approach to the Prevention of Health Epidemics
Ebola's Legacy Can Be a Thriving Community Health System
Humanitarian crisis in West Africa (Ebola) - Gender Alert: Sept 2014
How people behave really matters to health
Could mHealth and behaviour change communication help turn the Ebola tide?
The Power of Belief: What Polio and Ebola have in common


Ebola poses significant challenges / for local, national, and international development. Sharing knowledge and facilitating dialogue and debate on these challenges are vital for effective action. Please do utilise both: (i) the dedicated space on The CI platform  to share and critically review Ebola-related strategies, tools, and projects; and (ii) the Ebola focus in the Health Communication network, where a thread has been growing on policy and practice issues. Some excerpts from these platforms follow. Please do engage through those links and share your experiences and thinking with us.

Please take the SURVEY: Knowledge and Networking Needs and Practices of People Engaged in Local, National, and International Development - 2014  - the more people in the network who take this survey, the better the data produced. Thank you for completing it.

From The Communication Initiative Network - where communication and media are central to social and economic development


1. Ebola: A Poem for the Living - Video
This video animation created for use in West Africa to help dispel myths about how Ebola is spread is based around a teenage boy on a hospital cot in Liberia, who speaks to his family warning them about the disease and telling them how it can be prevented.

2. Ebola in Sierra Leone: new radio shows join the fight
by blogger Musa Sangarie
"A couple of weeks ago in the middle of the night, phones started ringing across Sierra Leone. Despite the late hour, people were calling to pass on the latest rumour about Ebola that bathing in salty hot water could protect you.... Such potentially dangerous misinformation is what our team in Freetown is tackling with a new radio programme. Called Kick Ebola Nar Salone (Kick Ebola out of Sierra Leone), the 30-minute show is produced weekly and broadcast three times a week on our 35 partner stations across the country."

3. Unique - Need to learn from countries and communities [Discussion Contribution]
by discussion contributor Peter da Costa
"The Ebola theme site, associated sub-sites and discussion spaces are very timely and really important. I am still trying to get my head around the C4D [communication for development] implications and potential avenues for helping address the outbreak....While there are many things we can learn from HIV, polio and other comms efforts, this Ebola outbreak is quite unique. We'll only be able to build a body of knowledge on what works and what approaches should be privileged once we have learned from how countries and communities are responding..."
   •    Anyone may access this URL, but, if you wish to post a comment, simply register freely by clicking here.

4. Humanitarian crisis in West Africa (Ebola) - Gender Alert: Sept 2014
This Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Reference Group for Gender in Humanitarian Action document offers guidance on how to take into account the different needs of women, girls, boys, and men in order to make the humanitarian response to the Ebola outbreak more effective and accountable. Specific communication-related action points are outlined around social mobilisation and community engagement for participation and leadership of women and girls in the containment and elimination of the disease.

5. Ebola's Legacy Can Be a Thriving Community Health System [Discussion Contribution]
by discussion contributor Raj Panjabi
"By recruiting, training, and mentoring local village residents to become professional community health workers, those falling sick in remote villages are able to access care for the very first time. Through building relationships across the community, we will ensure villagers are turning to the primary health center for treatment, rather than turning away from it. Not only will we continue to treat patients for malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea, but we will be more likely to have villagers infected with Ebola seek care, and go on to survive."
   •    Anyone may access this URL, but, if you wish to post a comment, simply register freely by clicking here.

6. Applying COMBI to Ebola Control in Yambio, Southern Sudan
by Asiya Odugleh-Kolev
From the work of 21 teachers, pastors, and volunteers with previous community mobilisation experience of polio and measles campaigns, a social mobilisation sub-committee used on-the-ground Communication-for-Behavioural-Impact (COMBI) strategies to combat the Ebola virus in Southern Sudan in April 2004. Posters were distributed to health centres, and letters and briefing papers were sent to all church and government leaders requesting their support - with the lessons learned that "effective community and consumer engagement is the foundation for developing appropriate and relevant social mobilization/communication strategies and outbreak control interventions."


7. Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) Resources for Ebola
Created by Health COMpass, this Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC) online focus package provides a list of SBCC tools and project materials which organisations working to prevent and treat Ebola can use in their health communication programmes.

8. Ebola and C4D
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Communication for Development (C4D) section is sharing information in an online collection of materials, which include, for example: fact sheets; visual materials for health communicators; audio materials like songs and public service announcement (PSA) spots; training materials such as guidelines for community volunteers; planning documents; and tools such as "The Behaviour Change Communication In Emergencies: A Toolkit; Essentials for Excellence - Research, Monitoring and Evaluating Strategic Communication".

9. How people behave really matters to health
by blogger Caroline Sugg
"Trained medical staff and health facilities are of course vital to the [Ebola] response but, in the absence of a vaccine and with few available treatment options, it's clear that what people do or don't do really matters....Throughout this time we, like many others, have been concerned that we don't always have sufficiently rigorous evidence about which communication strategies can help shape behaviour and influence social norms, ultimately saving lives. Over recent months, however, two initiatives that we have been closely involved in are helping to change that..."

10. Entertainment Media Can Help Change Behaviors and Stop the Ebola Outbreak
by blogger Margaret Miller
"Communications strategies to address the Ebola outbreak are already using text messaging via mobile phones, community radio and TV programs, mobilization of community leaders and influencers, and door-to-door outreach....The scale of the challenge, however, requires both more extensive reach and even more impactful means. Local and regional media could leverage existing serials, soap operas, and the radio dramas which are popular where access to television remains limited.....Combining entertainment education in radio, TV or film with a transmedia strategy that covers various communication platforms (Facebook, text messages, billboards, etc.) with consistent messages - sometimes using characters from a show to increase appeal and interest..."


11. 6 Ways Technology is Helping to Fight Ebola
by Timo Luege
Based on consultations with the TechChange Alumni community and other experts in international development and humanitarian assistance, the author of this article, Timo Luego, has pulled together a list of different technologies being applied to manage Ebola. The list includes concrete examples of what different organisations are doing and offers links to further information.

12. "Mobile based interactive system" [Discussion Contribution]
by discussion contributor Shib Shankar Dasgupta
United States (US)-based DevKalpana Technologies has developed "a mobile phone-based interactive system that helps in disseminating information on health, and community actions to rural men and women. For example, you can disseminate information on Ebola awareness campaigns through this system to the people in their own languages. You can also conduct extensive education and sensitization programs to inform individuals about the spread of the disease and how to protect themselves from the virus, including hygiene and sanitation training."
   •    Anyone may access this URL, but, if you wish to post a comment, simply register freely by clicking here.

13. Tech Tools and Skills for Emergency Management Course (Nov 24 - Dec 19 2014)
Offered by TechChange, this online certificate course will explore how new communication and mapping technologies are being used to respond to disasters, create early warning mechanisms, improve relief coordination efforts, and much more. From Ebola to typhoon recovery efforts, this course will examine real world examples from organisations in the field and some of the key challenges related to access, implementation, scale, and verification that working with new technology presents.

14. SMS Awareness Campaign to Prevent Ebola in Mali
Although Ebola had not affected Mali (at the time of the campaign and of this writing), the prevalence in neighbouring countries led the government to develop contingency plans. Over a 2-week period, people could SMS (text message) the word EBOLA free of charge and receive several text messages with information about Ebola and instructions about how to report it for the following 2 days. The campaign was promoted through flyers distributed at strategic places; radio spots in the local language were used to encourage people to access the SMS information.

See also:
   •    Humanitarianism in the Network Age

   •    Social Media in Emergencies: UNICEF Guidelines for Communication and Public Advocacy


By clicking here, you and your colleagues can find strategies, tools, and projects to guide communication for development (C4D) practitioners.

We would also love to hear from you in our Ebola Communication thread, active right now in our Development Networks area.
If you are not already signed up, simply register freely by clicking here.



Connect Follow MotherChild on Twitter  Connect with MotherChild on Facebook  Subscribe to HealthPhone on YouTube