Informing, Educating, and Communicating
on the SDM
primary objective of information, education, and communication
efforts for the SDM is to ensure that women and couples make
an informed choice about their family planning options. Because
the SDM is suitable for a wide range of users, (e.g. literate,
non literate, urban, rural, non-users of family planning, users
of periodic abstinence, etc) IEC materials must be tailored
to the audience and setting in which the method will be provided.
Ideally, the SDM should be integrated into existing family planning
and reproductive health IEC materials. In addition, because
it is a new method and most potential clients may not have heard
of the method, developing some materials dedicated exclusively
to inform them about the SDM also may be appropriate.
- Determine target audiences for IEC efforts
A first step in developing IEC materials should be to identify
the target audience(s) you want to reach with SDM information.
The characteristics of the audience (e.g. literate, non
literate, urban, rural, etc) will help define the best strategies
for reaching them as well as the kinds of materials which
will be most appropriate.
- Decide on approaches for providing information
on the SDM.
Numerous approaches can be considered for informing the
target audience. They include print materials for women
and couples in the clinic or community, group information
sessions in the clinic or community, videos for waiting
rooms, posters for the clinic or community, street theatre,
and radio or TV. The determination of the best approach
comes from knowing the characteristics of the population
to be reached as well as knowing the best ways to inform
- Assess existing SDM materials and consider adapting
them for informational and educational activities, as appropriate.
A wide variety of materials on the SDM have been developed
in different languages. Most of these materials are appropriate
for both literate and low-literacy populations, can be reproduced
very inexpensively, and are available in print and electronically.
Program planners may be able to use these materials "as
is" or they may need to adapt them to meet their specific
- Determine how best to include information on the
SDM in existing counseling and educational materials for
providers and clients.
SDM can be added to an organization’s existing materials
for family planning counseling that address all methods.
Sometimes adaptations of SDM-specific provider job aids
and materials will be needed. It may not be feasible to
incorporate SDM into all existing materials immediately,
they should be incorporated as materials, protocols and
guidelines are revised, updated and reprinted.
- Test new SDM materials among key target audiences.
New materials developed for the SDM should be tested among
the program’s primary target audience to ensure that
key messages are understood. The tests may involve a one-on-one
situation where potential users are asked to review the
materials and answer a series of questions, or they may
involve a group setting as in focus groups. Since prototype
materials have been widely tested with a variety of audiences,
simple exercises may be sufficient to test visuals and the
selected language when adaptations are being considered.
It is also important to give service providers an opportunity
to review and comment on SDM materials before they are finalized.
- Determine strategies for disseminating information
on the SDM.
Interpersonal communication and word-of-mouth are important
strategies for increasing awareness and acceptance of the
SDM. Community- and clinic-based programs can incorporate
information on the SDM into existing outreach programs,
such as using community-based promoters to provide information
on the SDM during home visits or community talks. One-on-one
communication can be most effective, especially in rural
settings, and SDM can be incorporated into local parish
programs for pre-marital counseling. In clinic programs,
awareness can be raised among women seeking family planning
services through existing clinic education efforts. A variety
of strategies can also be used for the general population
including mass media and radio campaigns, street theater,
TV spots, print advertisements, and information in magazines
and professional journals. Information can also be provided
during community activities such as health fairs, home visits
and through volunteers and health workers.
- Document the planned IEC activities.
It is helpful to document planned activities including what
they are, who (individuals or groups) who will carry them
out, when they will be conducted, and the SDM-related information
that will be provided. Consideration should also be given
to monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of IEC activities.
and the SDM
In India, a variety
of approaches were used to inform communities
about the SDM. They included street
theatre where the benefits of SDM were
enacted, wall writing and displays during
village fairs. Programs on television
and radio as well as newspaper articles
were also useful methods for raising
awareness and imparting information
on the SDM. Many people, however, preferred
In Bolivia, a mass
media campaign used print and radio
targeted two audiences: women and young
adults. The messages emphasized the
naturalness of the SDM and that it was
practical for planning.
In Ecuador, print
and TV were used to support a social
marketing campaign that promoted the
SDM as economical, safe and easy.
Key IEC Materials:
A set of provider job aids designed to support the counseling
process are available in several languages and for different
literacy levels. These materials are ready to use and can be
adapted to local contexts. Electronic versions are available
for that purpose.
inserts. CycleBeads are distributed with an
instructional insert that guides the user through all the
steps required to use the method effectively. The CycleBeads
insert is available in literate and low-literacy versions
English, Spanish and French and can be adapted locally if
necessary. Local organizations in several countries have
developed versions in other languages.
This informative brochure explains the Standard Days Method
and how to use it, and outlines its advantages and disadvantages.
It includes an assessment section to help the provider and
client determine if the method is appropriate for her. Available
in English and Spanish.
- CycleBeads: An Easy Way
to Use the Standard Days Method (Video or CD ROM).
This 5-minute introductory audio-visual is designed for
providers and clients interested in the method. It provides
general information on the SDM and explains how to use CycleBeads.
It also emphasizes the importance of informed choice. Order
promotional materials such as posters, fliers,
brochures, banners, radio and news ads developed by programs
in different languages are available online at www.irh.org