IAMCR joins global alliance
IAMCR recently became a founding member of the “Global Alliance for Social and Behaviour Change Communication – Building Informed and Engaged Societies”, a new network with a mission to: “Advance the scale, quality, impact, and sustainability of communication for development, media for development, social change, and behavioural change strategies.” The Alliance aims to pursue its mission by promoting awareness of the most compelling research on communication within the major multilateral organizations of the development sector, as well as to governments, unilateral agencies, and foundations.
Aiming to be both nimble and representative, the Alliance will initially limit itself to 30 member-organizations, half of which will be based in the global south. Key organizations thus far include UNICEF, BBC Media Action, Johns Hopkins University, Soul City Institute for Social Justice, the Africa Women’s Development Network, and others. IAMCR is one of three academic organizations invited to become members.
Although the Alliance’s work is just getting underway, IAMCR is already an active participant. IAMCR member Tom Jacobson represented the Association in June at a side event of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the Sustainable Development Goals sponsored by the Alliance. The HLPF is an annual meeting in New York City held by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the U.N. body responsible for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Alliance’s side event was a success with about 60 attending, including a handful each from other international agencies, representatives from several country missions to the United Nations , NGO officers and academics. The aim of the side event was to demonstrate/promote the importance of communication in development work, i.e. to advance the Alliance’s mission. Among other things, an interesting keynote presentation was made by the director of city planning for the city of Medellin, Colombia, reporting on an effort in which the municipal government undertook a rather miraculous renovation of poor neighbourhoods through extensive use participatory citizen communication methods.
The Alliance’s work covers areas of importance to several IAMCR sections and working groups a Global Alliance Task Force, to be co-chaired by Elske van de Fliert and Tom Jacobson, will be set up to coordinate actions and information sharing. A call for participation will be circulated soon. Three likely areas in which contributions may be helpful include: 1) identifying and evaluating studies that provide compelling evidence regarding the effectiveness of communication for social and behaviour change, 2) contributing to research and reflection on ethical issues related to social and behaviour change communication , and 3) following and contributing to policy and advocacy work in the development sector.