C-CHANGE
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Issue 44 | AUGUST 2012
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Overcoming Communication Barriers: Suggested Formats and Approaches

Of Interest…

Essential Malaria Action Guide for Kenyan Families was recently issued by Kenya's Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation.
C-Change provided technical input in SBCC on its household messages, strategies, and guidance.

Articles in this issue address communication barriers faced by HIV-prevention programs and some approaches and formats that may help to overcome them. The first four articles insist that cultural sensitivity, community engagement, and community ownership are starting points. In Africa, communication practitioners should take into account indigenous modes of communication and appropriate language for sexual communication. The next two articles focus on HIV-prevention communication for people living with disabilities. One reports on the dearth of accessible, disability-friendly formats in Kenya, and the second calls for customized school curricula and materials in South Africa. The last two articles deal with more general concerns: one focuses on the choice of language for literacy and ICT use in multilingual societies like Nigeria, and the other on "critical visual literacy," which involves "reading against" (rather than "reading with") the visual text.

Community engagement and ownership are the main topic of two recent C-Change/FHI 360 videos. Neill McKee, C-Change Director, and Maclean Sosono, Director of the Friends of AIDS Trust in Malawi, talk about C-Change's Community Conversation Toolkit, field-tested, interactive materials that help communities in southern Africa to "own" dynamic conversations on HIV prevention and mobilize to take action.

 

In this issue

Overcoming Communication Barriers: Suggested Formats and Approaches

1. "Wende Luo" (Luo songs) as an intervention tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS
ONLINE FULL TEXT

2. Localizing HIV/AIDS discourse in a rural Kenyan community

3. Problem posing and cultural tailoring: HIV/AIDS health literacy toolkit with the African American community

4. Language choice and sexual communication among Xhosa speakers in South Africa
ONLINE FULL TEXT

5. Communication formats on HIV and AIDS information for persons with disabilities in Kenya
ONLINE FULL TEXT

6. Challenges to providing HIV prevention education to youth with disabilities in South Africa

7. Literacy at a distance in multilingual contexts: Issues and challenges
ONLINE FULL TEXT

8. From visual literacy to critical visual literacy: An analysis of educational materials
ONLINE FULL TEXT


1. "Wende Luo" (Luo songs) as an intervention tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS among the Luo of Western Kenya

Authors: Wenje P; Erick N; Muhoma C
Institution: Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology, Kisumu, Kenya
Source: Journal of AIDS and HIV Research 2011 3(8):151-160.

ABSTRACT

HIV/AIDS prevention in Africa tend to value literacy or Eurocentric communication approaches such as brochures, posters, radio, newspapers and television more than indigenous modes of communication strategies such as narration (sigendni), singing (wende) and dancing (miende). Mounting evidence indicates that these Eurocentric modes of communication have the potential of alienating and disempowering the people they are intended to inform because the communication process does not start from within their experiences and in many cases are incapable of giving full respect to their values. To make a mark in the fight against HIV/AIDS in African countries there is need to embrace culturally sensitive communication systems in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The traditional systems of communication put greater emphasis on getting the audience involved in perceiving HIV/AIDS as their problem rather than a media, government, non government organization or an international agency agenda. This paper, shares the techniques, insights and lessons learnt from Peres Wenje PhD research work that sought to investigate how the Luo ora-media have been creatively used to create awareness and empower the community to take ownership of the fight against HIV/AIDS.

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2. Localizing HIV/AIDS discourse in a rural Kenyan community

Authors: Banda F1; Oketch O2
Institutions: 1 University of the Western Cape, South Africa; 2 Maseno University, Kenya
Source: Journal of Asian and African Studies 2011 46(19-37) DOI: 10.1177/0021909610388479

ABSTRACT

This paper examines the effectiveness of multimodal texts used in HIV/AIDS campaigns in rural western Kenya using multimodal discourse analysis (Kress and Van Leeuwen, 2006; Martin and Rose, 2004). Twenty HIV/AIDS documents (posters, billboards and brochures) are analysed together with interview data (20 unstructured one-on-one interviews and six focus groups) from the target group to explore the effectiveness of the multimodal texts in engaging the target rural audience in meaningful interaction towards behavioural change. It is concluded that in some cases the HIV/AIDS messages are misinterpreted or lost as the multimodal texts used are unfamiliar and contradictory to the everyday life experiences of the rural folk. The paper suggests localization of HIV/AIDS discourse through use of local modes of communication and resources.

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3. Problem posing and cultural tailoring: Developing an HIV/AIDS health literacy toolkit with the African American community

Authors: Rikard R; Thompson M; Head R; McNeil C; White C
Institutions: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University
Source: Health Promotion Practice 2011 November 18. Epub ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

The rate of HIV infection among African Americans is disproportionately higher than for other racial groups in the United States. Previous research suggests that low level of health literacy (HL) is an underlying factor to explain racial disparities in the prevalence and incidence of HIV/AIDS. The present research describes a community and university project to develop a culturally tailored HIV/AIDS HL toolkit in the African American community. Paulo Freire's pedagogical philosophy and problem-posing methodology served as the guiding framework throughout the development process. Developing the HIV/AIDS HL toolkit occurred in a two-stage process. In Stage 1, a nonprofit organization and research team established a collaborative partnership to develop a culturally tailored HIV/AIDS HL toolkit. In Stage 2, African American community members participated in focus groups conducted as Freirian cultural circles to further refine the HIV/AIDS HL toolkit. In both stages, problem posing engaged participants' knowledge, experiences, and concerns to evaluate a working draft toolkit. The discussion and implications highlight how Freire's pedagogical philosophy and methodology enhances the development of culturally tailored health information.

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4. Language choice and sexual communication among Xhosa speakers in Cape Town, South Africa: Implications for HIV prevention message development

Authors: Cain D1; Schensul S2; Mlobeli R3
Institutions: 1 Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention, University of Connecticut; 2 Department of Community Medicine, University of Connecticut; 3 Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health, Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town

ABSTRACT

Communicating about sex is a vital component of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention and influences how HIV educators convey messages to communities and how couples negotiate safer sex practices. However, sexual communication inevitably confronts culturally based behavioral guidelines and linguistic taboos unique to diverse social contexts. The HIV interventionist needs to identify the appropriate language for sexual communication given the participants and the message. Ethnographic research can help facilitate the exploration of how sex terminology is chosen. A theoretical framework, developed to guide HIV interventionists, suggests that an individual's language choice for sexual communication is influenced by gender roles and power differentials. Indepth interviews, free listing and triadic comparisons were conducted with Xhosa men and women in Cape Town, South Africa, to determine the terms for male genitalia, female genitalia and sexual intercourse that are most appropriate for sexual communication. Results showed that sexual terms express cultural norms and role expectations where men should be powerful and resilient and women should be passive and virginal. For HIV prevention education, non-mother tongue (English and Zulu) terms were recommended as most appropriate because they are descriptive, but allow the speaker to communicate outside the restrictive limits of their mother tongue by reducing emotive cultural connotations.

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5. Implication of communication formats on HIV and AIDS information for persons with disabilities in Kenya

Authors: Kochung E; Were C
Institution: Maseno University, Kenya
Source: Educational Research January 2011: 752-756.

ABSTRACT

Provision of information is one of the strongest tools for fighting HIV/AIDS, and various organizations in Kenya have put tremendous efforts to provide information on HIV and AIDS prevention. However, despite these efforts, the people with disability particularly those who are blind or deaf are still being excluded from accessing information due to communication formats used by HIV/AIDS service providers. The audio-visual channels such as radio, television, newspapers, large bill boards, internet, lectures or brochures being used to provide information on HIV/AIDS to the general population are discriminative since they require the use of sight and hearing. This study examines implication of communication formats on HIV and AIDS information to persons with disability in Kenya. Data for this study was collected specifically from blind and deaf students through interview and focus group discussion. Results indicate that people who are blind or deaf do not access HIV and AIDS information given to the general population and that language used is complicated and technical. HIV and AIDS information should be provide through accessible disability-friendly communication formats such as talking computers, Braille, sign language and symbols.

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6. Challenges to providing HIV prevention education to youth with disabilities in South Africa

Authors: Rohleder P1,2; Swartz L2,3; Schneider M; Eide A3
Institutions: 1 Department of Psychology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK; 2 Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; 3 SINTEF Technology and Society, Oslo, Norway
Source: Disability and Rehabilitation 2012, 34(8): 619-624 doi:10.3109/09638288.2011.613512.

ABSTRACT

In South Africa, little is known how HIV prevention education is implemented in schools for learners with disabilities. This article reports on findings from a study exploring the extent to which HIV education is reached to people with disabilities in South Africa, and the challenges faced by educators providing HIV prevention education to learners with disabilities. Method: A survey questionnaire completed by 34 schools for learners with special education needs in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Additional complimentary data were collected through interviews with a total of 21 members of staff at schools for learners with disabilities. Results: Respondents recognise the importance of providing HIV prevention education for people with disabilities. Staff reports some challenges in providing HIV prevention education: barriers to communication; discomfort about issues of sexuality and disability; disagreements among staff about what is appropriate content for sexual health education; and fears of promoting sexual activity. Conclusions: There is a need for HIV prevention education to be specifically customized to the needs of the specific population. A general programme, which is included as part of a general curriculum and generally tailored to "mainstream" schools, would need to be adapted according to specific needs and disabling barriers faced. People with disabilities are often excluded from general HIV prevention education. HIV prevention information needs to come in formats that are accessible to people with different types of disabilities, for example, information in Braille, sign language interpretation or accessible to people with learning disabilities. This study has also highlighted the importance of supporting those people tasked with providing sexual health education, in managing the anxiety they may have about disability and sexuality.

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7. Literacy at a distance in multilingual contexts: Issues and challenges

Author: Ofulue C
Institution: National Open University of Nigeria
Source: International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 2011, 12(6): 84-101.

ABSTRACT

Literacy is perhaps the most fundamental skill required for effective participation in education (formal and non-formal) for national development. At the same time, the choice of language for literacy is a complex issue in multilingual societies like Nigeria. This paper examines the issues involved, namely language policy, language and teacher development, and the role of distance education and information and communication technologies (ICTs), in making literacy accessible in as many languages as possible. Two distance learning literacy projects are presented as case studies and the lessons learned are discussed. The findings of this study suggest that although there is evidence of growing accessibility to ICTs like mobile phones, their use and success to increase access to literacy in the users' languages are yet to be attained or maximised. The implication of the lessons learned should be relevant to other multilingual nations that seek the goal of increasing access to learning and promoting development so as to harvest economic benefits.

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8. From visual literacy to critical visual literacy: An analysis of educational materials

Author: Newfield D
Institution: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
Source: English Teaching: Practice and Critique 2011, 10(1): 81-94.

ABSTRACT

This article discusses differences in purpose, orientation and method between what is commonly known as "visual literacy" and what is being called "critical visual literacy". It does so through a comparative critical analysis of two sets of materials produced for classroom use: those produced in 1993 under the umbrella of visual literacy and those produced in 2011 under the umbrella of critical visual literacy. Through an examination of different approaches to context, semiotic choice and authorial discourse in the development of the material, the article shows the distinctive nature of critical visual literacy - its emphasis on the positioned and positioning nature of visual texts, on the socio-political consequences of semiotic choice in visual texts, and on reading against rather than reading with the visual text.

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This publication is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the terms of Agreement No. GPO-A-00-07-00004-00. The contents are the responsibility of C-Change, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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