4.2.3. Identifying and understanding who needs to be involved

- Who could be involved and who could be consulted?

Consultation is necessary to decide on the intended audience and specific stakeholders. You need to know the characteristics of the people that you want to reach, such as their socio-demographic characteristics, their media or communication preferences and accessibility to rabies information sources.

Your messages will always depend on the people you are trying to convince, but there may be other groups who can influence them, both now and in the longer term. All these potential participants should be identified in the planning stages. One way of doing this is to conduct a stakeholder analysis in the community. . You can then learn more about the potential stakeholders and consult at all levels. This identifies the people you need to reach, the people who can help you reach them and how important they are to the success of your campaign. It can also serve as a basis for involving them in the messages and solutions, so that they become their messages and solutions. Click here for how to conduct a stakeholder analysis.

If you are working in a specific locality, and only have a general idea of the people you need to speak to, it may be useful to hold community consultation meetings to help identify the key people you need to involve.

If you are planning a general campaign at national level, conducting a stakeholder analysis can still help you contact key people who can help you formulate the right messages. You may need to identify a small number of key people at first, and then ask them to recommend others.

If you are unclear how to go about this on a large scale, you might consider involving social scientists or communications experts in your campaign.

Make use of local knowledge wherever you can.

- Deciding on the participants

At this stage, the stakeholder analysis can help you identify primary, secondary, or tertiary target groups. This will help target the right messages to the right people. It will also help to prioritise people you need to consult, and to involve them in the messages from the start. To help identify them, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who were identified in the analysis as the people who would most benefit from your message? Who are the main people whose behaviour you wish to change?

These will be your primary participants. In many cases, these will be the people most at risk, but not always. For instance, if you wish to increase participation in a dog vaccination campaign, your primary target population will be those who make decisions about whether or not dogs are vaccinated.

Example: In most places, children under 15 years of age are most at risk as they regularly come into contact with dogs. Young boys may also be the ones to bring dogs to vaccination points (though they may not be the ones who decide whether it should be done). It will therefore be important, in the next stage of planning, to find out more about how best to reach these children. In some countries, they may not attend school.

• Who can most influence your primary participants?

This is your secondary participants. Example: In the case of children, it may be family members, peers, teachers, media and professionals, such as health workers, vets and traditional healers).

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Photo courtesy of the Serengeti Carnivore Disease Project

• Which other groups play a role in rabies prevention and control?

These are your tertiary participants. Example: In most locations, this group will involve people with decision-making roles, such as policy makers or community leaders. However, it could also involve people who have an influence in other ways, such as religious leaders. Again, the best way of finding out who these people are is to ask locally, through reliable contacts or – if you are working in a specific locality – through a community consultation workshop.

- Understanding how the target population thinks. How can you ensure the messages will help change the way they think?

When you have identified the people you want to receive your messages, it is important you understand as much as possible about them. Rarely do all people relate to or understand messages in the same way.

Knowledge, Attitudes and Practice (KAP) studies can be useful in assessing what people know about rabies and how much they understand about preventing it. These surveys generally consist of a questionnaire, which can be completed by households in a given area or by a specific group of participants. They can:

  • Be the basis for tailoring messages.
  • Provide useful data for you to measure whether anything has changed after you have delivered the messages.
  • Provide useful data to highlight any problems. For example, perhaps people understand your messages but are unable to act on them because of barriers such as cost of treatment.

KAP surveys measure:

  • What people already know about rabies, dog bite treatment, the law on rabies in their country, the health and veterinary services, etc.
  • How people think about dogs and other animals, vaccination, rabies compared to other diseases, etc.
  • How they currently act if they are bitten by a dog, encouraged to vaccinate dogs, etc.
  • Incidence of dog bites, number of dogs vaccinated, etc., so that you can measure this again after a period of time to see if your work has had a positive impact.

In some areas, it is useful (and may be important) to ensure a project worker visits households or participants to ask them the questions orally. This can:

  • Ensure more questionnaires are completed and returned
  • Overcome any issues of literacy
  • Ensure, as far as possible, that everyone understands the questions in the same way

KAP survey questions should generally be delivered in the first language of the respondent. They may also be subject to ethical clearance, and you may need permission from a recognised authority. You should consult guidelines for this in your own country.

Click here for examples of rabies KAP studies.

Other methods of determining how people think: If you are planning a nationwide campaign, you can still ask the same types of question by:

• Commissioning a KAP survey in sample groups of the populations you have identified. In some countries, the government bureau of statistics is commissioned to produce studies on health issues, or you may be able to commission an independent organisation to undertake the study.
• Making use of similar studies undertaken for health awareness campaigns for other diseases in the same populations.

previous page: 4.2.2. Defining the purpose of the communication

next page: 4.2.4. Developing messages

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Version 4 - last updated May 2017