Tools For Developing Public Education Material

In addition to creating resources and support for healthcare providers, we have also created materials to educate the public in general about the effects of violence on maternal — and broader community — health. Read here about how we have created and used audio dramas and posters.

Audio Recordings and Audio Dramas

Both ACASAC in Chiapas and the Rosario Castellanos Women’s Research Group in Oaxaca have successfully created and used audio dramas as public education tools for many years. The benefits of audio dramas as a community education tool include:

  • Radio is a key source of information and entertainment in many indigenous and rural communities
  • Audio recordings are good training tools for groups with low literacy levels
  • Recordings can be adapted for use in many settings: for broadcast over the radio, for playback on CD or tape during a training session, or over loudspeakers such the perifoneos (loudspeakers mounted on trucks) commonly used to make community announcements in Oaxaca and Chiapas
  • Stories told by an anonymous narrator can be safe ways of introducing controversial information into a community without causing any particular individual or group to be targeted.

Audio Dramas

ACASAC created Violence and Maternal Health in Multicultural Contexts: Improving Women’s Response (Violencia y Salud Materna en Contextos Multiculturales: Mejorando la Respuesta de las Mujeres), a four-part audio drama that can be either broadcast over the radio or can be used in a training setting. By telling the story of a young woman who was abused in childhood and victimized by her husband before successfully seeking help, the audio modules create a familiar, dramatic setting in which to impart important information to the public.

Module 1: Raising awareness of the socio-cultural issues that make women vulnerable to abuse.
Listen to Module 1 (Spanish)
Read the script of module 1 (Spanish)

Module 2: Identifying, addressing and preventing family violence during pregnancy. (Spanish)
Listen to Module 2 (Spanish)
Read the script of module 2

Module 3: Documenting violence during pregnancy
Listen to Module 3 (Spanish)
Read the script of module 3 (Spanish)

Module 4: Safety plans and legal options.
Listen to module 4 (Spanish)
Read the script of module 4 (Spanish)

Facilitators’ manual (Spanish) to be used when is presented in a training context.

Tips for Developing Audio Dramas

Dr. Graciela Freyermuth

Dr. Graciela Freyermuth has the following suggestions for others who want to create audio dramas similar to Violencia y salud en contextos multiculturales (Violence and Health in Multicutural Contexts).

  • Use existing resources such as those produced by the Family Violence Prevention Fund. Take this underlying structure and adapt the content, rather than starting from scratch.
  • In order to create a storyline that feels real and believable, collect real life stories of pregnancy and violence. Record these stories and modify the details to protect confidentiality. Choose a story (or combination of stories) that illustrate the major points you want to get across, will resonate with your target audience, and can be broken down into several chapters.
  • Write a script as you would for a theatre piece. Make sure the script is short and that the stories are not too confusing.
  • Choose narrators who have a connection and commitment to the topic. Make sure that their voices are engaging, varied and project the kind of feel you are going for.
  • Gain access to a professional recording studio, sound technician and editing program such as ProTools. Community radio stations and universities can be good sources of these resources.
  • When possible, work directly with people from your target audience communities in order to make sure that the script is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Conduct focus groups to try out initial versions of the radio drama. Have the group listen to the audio and then ask them questions about it. Tape record all of the conversation and comments on the experience, especially in the case that you don’t speak the same language. Afterward, translate all of the comments—not just responses to formal questions. Listening carefully to all the comments will tell you if the group hasn’t understood some part of the audio, even if they themselves haven’t noticed.

Tips for Translating Audio Dramas for Specific Populations

Eva and Angel

Eva and Angel, community health promoters in Chiapas, have translated the audio drama Violencia y salud materna en contextos multiculturales from Spanish into their native Tseltal. They have then broadcast the audio drama on their weekly radio program. They explain their process, and offer up the following tips for other translators:

  • You need to really think about how to give the material a new format so that it will be understandable. Tseltal works in a different way than Spanish does, so translating often means restructuring.
  • Tseltal has many variations: it’s spoken differently in different areas. So we had to figure out a way to use the right words so that it would be understandable to everyone.
  • We had to really understand the concepts so that the translations would be accurate translations of concepts, not just words.
  • We had to really feel the content so that we could translate the emotion behind the words and feel really present giving the information. Think about ‘how would I like to receive this information if I were suffering from this problem. What would motivate me to make changes? What would not offend me? That’s the biggest challenge: knowing what words will allow you to raise the topic in a way that will be effective.
  • We decided to have a man and a woman telling the story, not two women talking to each other. We decided to do this because we think it’s really important that men get involved as well in this situation. The man can give information to other men that they have no right to abuse women. That dynamic really works well in our radio show.

Listen to Eva and Angel talking about the challenges of translating an audio drama from Spanish to Tseltal.

Posters and Other Visual Displays

ACASAC and the Rosario Castellanos Women’s Research Group have both found that creating posters and other public displays is an important way to convey information visually and subtly send the message that violence is not tolerated and support is available for people who are being abused.

Posters and other visual displays in a healthcare setting can:

  • Remind healthcare providers of their responsibility to take action against family violence
  • Ensure that women know that they can talk openly with their healthcare providers about abuse, and get the support they need.

Sample posters and other visual displays:

Poster (Spanish) to be hung in healthcare settings. The poster’s message geared at health care providers is that providers can address abuse through four simple steps: respectfully ask, listen, inform and refer. Produced by Grupo de Estudios sobre la Mujer Rosario Castellanos.

Desk calendar (Spanish) designed to provide a constant reminder for healthcare providers of the concrete steps they can take to address violence. As a two-sided “tent” format, on the patient’s side of the calendar, images of women of all walks of life remind the patient that “we all have the right to live without violence.” Created by Grupo de Estudios sobre la Mujer in Oaxaca.

Poster for patients (Spanish). ACASAC adapted this Family Violence Prevention Fund

Poster on reproductive health issues and domestic violence (English)

Poster on reproductive health issues and domestic violence (Spanish)

Tips on the Graphic Design of Posters and Other Visual Displays

Laura Jimenez Garcia, a staff member of the Rosario Castellanos Women’s Research Group in Oaxaca, did the graphic design work to prepare the poster and desk calendar mentioned above. She has these recommendations for people who are creating similar displays:

  • Make sure the materials have visual impact. The images should be clear, bright, and not too text-heavy.
  • Make sure the materials will be used. Try to create something that healthcare providers will need out on their desks, not in a drawer (like, for example, a calendar).
  • Make sure that the images presented allow healthcare providers to see themselves represented as part of a team—all of whom share the responsibility to take action to prevent and address family violence.
  • Make sure that the materials also include images of women—and that these images are inclusive (young/old, urban/rural, indigenous/non, etc.).
  • Make sure the materials include concrete steps for health care providers to take (detection, documentation, intervention, etc.).
  • Try to do graphic design in-house so that you can take full ownership of the design, can make sure it feels right, and can make as many changes as you need to.
  • Test the materials in focus groups before mass distribution.

Tips on Gaining Institutional Support for Trainings and Materials Distribution

It is not enough to just produce well-designed materials. The next challenge is to make sure they are distributed to the right places, hung up and used. This means gaining the commitment of health center directors and other high-level staff, as well as of individual doctors. The Grupo de Estudios sobre la Mujer has had success in distributing their posters and desk calendars. Ximena Avellaneda has these suggestions for successful distribution:

  • Make a list of institutions in a particular municipality that might have contact with women surviving domestic violence.
  • Personally meet with the directors of these institutions. Present your concerns about the issue of domestic violence and maternal health, including some statistics and anecdotes about the issue.
  • Make a formal presentation on what you would like to do. This presentation should include:
    • An explanation of your organization’s work and impact
    • A sample of your poster and other materials
    • An explanation of how you have assessed the need for this work within the healthcare community
    • An outline of the training in which you will present the materials
    • What resources the hospital or clinic will need to provide
    • What skills and resources will participants acquire?
    • How will the impact be measured and how will this information be shared with the directors of the institutions?
    • How will the institutions be able to replicate this training themselves for further distribution (so that they become trainers)?
  • Sign an agreement with the directors that outlines your agreements of what you will provide and what support they will offer.
  • Make initial connection with people through workshops. Don’t just hand out materials and expect people to use them.
  • In the context of a training, take time to really review the materials and define the terms together. Ask the providers what does it mean to them to “orient”, “inform,” etc. Have people think about what they will really do to take these steps.
  • Present materials to the healthcare providers as part of a campaign: “let’s check back in 6 months and see what the impact of these materials has been.”

As a trainer of traditional midwives in isolated rural communities, Sebastiana Vazquez has had to negotiate with local authorities to gain support for her work. She suggests:

  • Always introduce yourself to the local council and elders
  • Never hang up a poster or distribute materials without asking for permission first
  • Try to understand what the local leaders priorities are for their community.
  • Be aware of the local customs, language and traditions
  • Allow people in the local community to speak for themselves and explain the need for your work, but also demonstrate that you have support from the outside as well.
  • Be aware of security concerns in remote rural areas and take steps to protect your self