IEC planning: eight state-of-the-art principles

Dev Commun Rep. 1983 Dec;(44):6-7.


PIP: Considerable experience and research has been accumulated in the last 20 years on the ways in which information/education/communication (IEC) programs can be effectively designed, implemented, and evaluated. Possibly more effort has focused on population and family planning IEC than on any other sectoral program of development communication. Several principles have emerged which, taken together, define the state of the art in the field. These principles provide a framework of experience which can guide the development of comprehensive IEC programs. They include: policy and resource assessment; audience analysis; strategy design; message research and pretesting; participation and feedback; management; evaluation; and collaboration. The nature of the national policy base for population and family planning programs will determine the goals and approaches of the IEC program. Strong policies of limitation on popultion growth lead to equally strong and pervasive IEC efforts designed to directly affect contraceptive behavior. Assessment of existing policy is an essential aspect of the design of an effective IEC program. Policies establish the rationale and boundaries for action. Population and family planning programs are concerned with some of the most intimate human behavior. Consequently, structured and sensitive audience analysis has become an integral part of the design of IEC programs. The design of communication strategy requires clearly stated objectives. Principles of human learning are used to structure information appropriately. Message research and pretesting have become integral components of the strategy design process. Small scale research on specific objectives is necessary to establish the basis for message design. Audience participation and feedback in remaining phases of program development and implementation are important. The management of an IEC program requires a specific combination of planning, flexibility, and creativity. Evaluation of program effects--identification of the degree of change toward stated objectives -- is critical to long term assessment of the underlying strategy and the identification both of needed corrections and new directions for the future. Collaboration with and involvement of stakeholders in the design and implementation of a national IEC program significantly raises the probability that support will be forthcoming. Taken together these 8 principles can become the basic building blocks of an effective population/family planning IEC program.

MeSH terms

  • Family Planning Services
  • Health Planning*
  • Information Services*
  • Organization and Administration*
  • Program Evaluation*