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OHIO partners with UNICEF on Communication for Development Workshop

Aug 2, 2012

OHIO partners with UNICEF on Communication for Development Workshop

C4D participants show off the produce they bought at the Chesterhill Produce AuctionRIGHT: C4D participants show off the produce they bought at the Chesterhill Produce Auction, one of the many local organizations they are working for to build communication strategies. BELOW LEFT: Every morning the UNICEF staff participates in workshops about communication strategies and theories, which are then applied to their project within Athens. / Provided photos

ATHENS, Ohio (Aug. 2, 2012)—For the second year in a row, Ohio University has partnered with UNICEF for a two-week training workshop on campus, bringing bright minds from all over the world to Athens from July 22 to Aug. 3 as part of a nine-month blended-learning course on communication-based improvement projects.

The Communication for Development (C4D) Workshop brings UNICEF staff members from 37 different countries to Ohio University learn about utilization of communication to promote general well-being in communities around the world and to apply what they learn to help causes in and around Athens County.

UNICEF was created in 1946 by the United Nations to provide food, clothing, and health care for children facing famine and disease after World War II. Today, UNICEF continues working for children in 191 countries through country programs and National Committees to help meet basic needs and expand opportunities. UNICEF’s key focus areas include basic education, gender equality, nutrition, water and sanitation, child protection, health (including HIV/AIDS and children), and early child/adolescent development around the world.

UNICEF staff members, having already completed an extensive online learning course that began in early March, arrived in Athens last week to start their two week in-person training course on Communication for Development. Their mission is to use communication (such as dialogue, community activities, mass media campaigns, advocacy, etc.) to promote health, peace, and general well being across the world.

While in Athens they are specifically focusing on local organizations in Southeast Ohio. Participants are working with Live Healthy Appalachia, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens County, Kids on Campus, My Sister’s Place, Hocking-Athens-Perry Community Action Partnership, and Rural Action. The participants working with Rural Action are also helping to produce a documentary about the C4D Workshop and the process of working with Rural Action in an effort to promote the Chesterhill Produce Auctions.

Every morning the UNICEF staff participates in workshops about communication strategies and theories, which they can then apply to their project within Athens. Rural Action’s mission is to foster social, economic, and environmental justice in Appalachian Ohio. In their partnership with UNICEF they are focusing on producing a strategy concerning the Chesterhill Produce Auction, and promoting a plan for sustainability. The Chesterhill Produce Auction was started independently in 2004, and Rural Action took over operations in 2009 then purchased it in 2010 with unanimous support of the stakeholders and the community. The auction promotes Rural Action’s focus on the value of local assets by supporting local food producers, and encouraging consumers to choose locally produced products. Rural Action and the C4D participants are working on a strategy to build stronger connections with the Chesterhill community, with an eventual goal of sustainability, so that Rural Action may turn over control of the operation to the community itself.

Over the past week UNICEF staff has met with Rural Action employees and Chesterhill residents to learn more about the auction and the community itself, as well as participating in workshops and information sessions at OU’s Walter Hall in the mornings. They have participated in focus groups and attended an auction to learn more about its place in the community in order to produce a successful communication strategy. Now in their second week in Athens, they are working on a plan to use communication to change the perception of the auction within the community, and work towards inviting the residents of Chesterhill to take advantage of this asset.

A second module of the C4D will take place in Athens Aug. 13-24. This session is a two-week hands-on training offered as part of a nine-month distance learning course at Ohio University.

For more information on C4D, visit www.twitter.com/c4dworkshop andhttp://c4dworkshop.blogspot.com/.