At the moment each country and region is responding to a different phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in their context. The feasibility, safety and acceptability of different IEC delivery mechanisms will also vary based on this. Repeatedly sharing your IEC materials using different delivery channels will increase your target populations recall and belief in the information you are sharing. Delivering or displaying materials at the point of action, e.g. hanging a poster by a handwashing facility, is an effective way of encouraging the behaviour. See this resource for more information on engaging communities at a distance.
1. Door to door distribution of posters or flyers
Distributing IEC materials from door-to-door is a time-intensive process. But in some cases, where your distribution is hyper-targeted, it might be necessary to interact with every household within your target community. This approach can also be useful if you are trying to deliver a specific message to a specific group of the population (for example guidance for older people who may be more vulnerable to severe forms of COVID-19). When distributing IEC materials at the household level it is important to maintain physical distancing and reduce the risk of contamination to the printed materials. Do not enter people’s homes but take the time to explain to them the information you are providing, what you would like them to do with it (e.g. put it up on their walls) and what behaviours they should practice.
2. Use of billboards, posters or large TV screens in public areas
Identify areas where people frequently go (even during the pandemic). This may include markets, bus stations or transportation hubs, health centres, schools (if open), sports venues (if open), religious centres (if open) or other key service locations within your community. You should choose the location for the distribution of IEC materials based on who your target population is. You may also want to tailor the IEC materials to the location where they are being placed. For example in religious centres, the IECs could guide people on recommendations for how they can pray and worship safely. Whenever you are putting up materials in public spaces consider where people will commonly look and aim to place your IEC material in their eye-line so that you capture their attention.
Keep in mind that before you hang up IEC materials you might require approval from local authorities or those who own and run each premises. During the COVID-19 outbreak, we do not recommend distributing flyers in public areas or leaving leaflets in shops or other public areas where they can be picked up. That is because people may not have an opportunity to clean their hands before picking up a leaflet, increasing the risk of transmission.
You may want to distribute IEC materials by postal mail. There are specific services or ‘mailing houses’ that can be hired to manage sending out large quantities of IEC materials by postal mail.
IEC materials can be shared via multiple channels on the internet. For example they could be shared as pictures or videos on social media, or published on websites or uploaded to resource hubs. Sharing IEC materials on social media platforms allows for ongoing discussion with your target audience but it also means that you can’t always control how images are shared and interpreted.
5. Mass Media
IEC materials can also be shared as content for TV and radio shows, or printed in newspapers or magazines. If you are planning to share information this way, take time to identify how much radio or TV slots may cost to air your advert or public service announcement. Also consider which stations and programmes are most viewed or listened to by your target population and at what times of day. This way you can ensure that your messages reach more of your intended audience.
Want to learn more about the production and distribution of communications materials?
Author: Astrid Hasund Thorseth
Review: Kondwani Chidziwisano, Ammar Fawzi and Elli Leontsini
Last update: 06.07.2020