In an effort to provide clear and consistent messages on the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) for Reproductive Health, an international standard of care in emergencies, the Women’s Refugee Commission developed information, education and communication (IEC) templates on two of the MISP-related objectives to better inform communities on the importance of seeking care, knowing when and how to seek care, and what services to expect from field agencies. The need to convey information to beneficiary populations has been identified as one of the gaps in improving service uptake.
The MISP is a coordinated set of priority interventions that should be implemented at the onset of a new emergency to prevent and manage the consequences of sexual violence, to reduce HIV transmission, and prevent excess maternal and newborn morbidity and mortality. The MISP was articulated in the 1999 Reproductive Health in Refugee Situations: An Inter-agency Field Manual and has been an international standard since 1997. It was elevated to a Sphere standard in 2004.
The aim of the IEC template project is to have templates readily available for adaptation at the onset of an emergency—potentially through inclusion in the Reproductive Health Kits—so that service delivery agencies can better inform beneficiaries of the services they provide. The need to convey information to beneficiary populations was identified as one of the gaps in improving service uptake, by practitioners attending the May 2008 Consultation on New and Under-utilized Reproductive Health Technologies in Crisis Settings.
As part of the template development process, IEC materials from various RHRC Consortium agencies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs’ Media Materials Clearinghouse were collected and assessed. A literature review regarding behavior change communication (BCC) strategies and effective development of IEC materials also served to inform the project, especially effective messaging and health communication strategies for low-literate populations.
Template Characteristics and Rationale
The basic presentation of the key messages was developed considering the varying demographic characteristics, literacy levels, and cultural acceptance of reproductive health materials among beneficiary populations. In order to convey the key messages most effectively, pictorial images and simple language were used. Images were left in black and white to keep them simple, easy to print, and to avoid the potentially offensive use of color in the varying settings in which these documents will be used.
The BCC and IEC literature generally supports culturally tailored images including hairstyles, clothing, and facial features. For this reason, different versions were developed with a universal “look” in mind with the intention that these materials can be used cross culturally, so that the beneficiary populations can still identify with the characters presented. All of the templates have a space for agencies to insert their logo, contact information and small map.
The current templates were refined as a result of a two-year pilot period, where communities and health providers were consulted in various crisis settings, to provide feedback on the generalizability of the images and messaging. They have been further refined in conjunction with the development of templates for family planning services.
- Template G: What To Do After Forced Sex
- Template H: At The Health Center
- Template I: Preparing For Childbirth
- Template J: Signs Of A Complicated Pregnancy
- Template K: Danger Signs During Childbirth
All images are based on a literature review of existing IEC materials, many from development contexts. The materials have been reviewed by adolescents and community members representing several displacement settings, and practitioners.
Click here for the citations for all of the templates.
To access Family Planning-related IEC templates, please click here.
Click here to download the baseline study reports.
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