NIRDPR & UNICEF, Hyderabad Field Office, establish ‘Communication Resource Unit’ to provide for strategic support for National Flagship Programmes


Hyderabad: National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) has joined hands with UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) to establish a ‘Communication Resource Unit’ (CRU) to act as an institutional mechanism for providing strategic communication support to national flagship programmes.

It provides Social and Behavioural Change Communications (SBCC) to State Governments as well as to Central Government Schemes such as POSHAN Abhiyaan, National Health Mission and Swachh Bharath Mission among others.

It is currently operating in three states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka and has demonstrated management of strategic communications. It aims to cater to strategic communication needs of different government department through consultations, technical support and, capacity building.

The Unit is functioning under the leadership and guidance of Dr. Gyanmudra, Professor and Head, Centre for Good Governance and Policy Analysis (CGG&PA), NIRDPR & Director, Communication Resource Unit. CRU is equipped with a skilled team to support SBCC strategies development, rollout plans, capacity building and developing IEC (Information Education and Communication) material, among others.

Speaking about the significance of this initiative, Director of Communication Resource Unit, said, “CRU has been recognized as unique model to operate out of a National Institute like NIRDPR and serve Government departments with various communication needs. CRU has been identified as success story in UNICEF country office and they are replicating to start same kind of units in other institutes too.”

The CRU draws expertise and resources from UNICEF programme specialists, SBCC Coordination committee and NIRDPR domain experts.

The CRU is now functioning with the grant and technical support from UNICEF, Hyderabad field office and offered all its services to departments with either free or with minimal charges. Over the long term, CRU aims to generate a corpus that will sustain its activities without external funding. It is aiming to position itself as a Centre of Excellence that will offer its professional services and expertise to states across the country.

CRU served the national flagship programs where Social and Behaviour Change Communication is critical. The unit is serving departments such as Women Development and Child Welfare, Health, Rural Development and Education through various SBCC strategies, IEC material, capacity building of line functionaries and also with translation and adaptation of National Material on POSHAN and Anaemia Mukth Bharath.

CRU supported the Department of Women and Child Welfare especially of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh during POSHAN Maah and Pakwada with campaign banners and posters around the themes to promote the initiative. The CRU has also supported the Department of Women and Child Welfare of Telangana in taking up a 30-day intensive campaign on All India Radio (AIR) state network and FM radio.

This campaign focused on themes of complementary feeding, dietary diversity and nutrition, girl child nutrition and education. All these activities resulted in tremendous response from the public. The activities were mentioned by RJ and conveyed POSHAN messages. Through this, the public was encouraged to access services as well as change behaviours at home so that they can reap health benefits from the intake of sufficient and proper nutrition.

Capacities of 572 Panchayat Raj Institution representatives and ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) functionaries were built on Social and Behavioural change communication for Panchayath leaders on Child Rights and Child Protection issues.

CRU holds consultations with the line departments on POSHAN Abhiyaan, Child Marriages and Swacch Bharath Mission to develop the strategies and to keep the momentum. CRU facilitated the district team of Swacch Bharath Mission and POSHAN Abhiyaan team to develop the costed SBCC plans. More than twenty such District Specific SBCC costed plans were developed with the active participation of 112-line functionaries.

The Unit has developed an SBCC package to Women and Child Welfare Department of Karnataka in promoting Mathrupoorna and Anganwadi Centres in the state.

The Unit is also supporting Swachh Bharath Mission programme by building the capacities of district teams on Social and Behavioural Change Communication for ODF sustainability and enabling them on communication activities planning, budgeting at various levels and also groomed to act as SBCC resource person at District level.

The CRU in collaboration with NITI Aayog and UNICEF has designed and in process to build the capacities of more than one lakh Panchayat Raj Institution (PRI) representatives in 25 aspirational districts under the control of NITI Aayog.”

CRU extends gratitude to Dr.W.R.Reddy IAS, Director General, NIRDPR, for his inspiring guidance, enduring encouragement right from the inception of the unit. CRU seeks his continuous guidance and encouragement in establishing it as an independent unit to offer all SBCC related services to government departments.