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Community meetings

Last edited: January 03, 2012

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Community meetings are a common feature in campaigns. For maximum effect, meetings should be lively and interactive, and well-moderated, particularly if there are question-and-answer segments. In certain settings where the behaviour of men and women in public may be restricted, (e.g. in communities where men and women are not allowed to congregate in close proximity), any meeting involving the community should be carefully planned to appropriately reach the target audience. In such situations, it may be necessary to have community meetings that target women only, or men only. Attention should also be paid to contexts where men are likely to speak up more in public than women, or dominate the discussion – in these cases it is often useful to urge women to speak up by addressing them directly in the audience or by posing some questions requiring a response by a female. 

Practical Instructions

Focus on stimulating discussion among audience members, which has proven to be more effective in adult learning than passive listening. Keep presentations short (2-5 minutes) and use visual materials. Posters, flip charts or flash cards should be designed carefully so as to reinforce your message in a way people can grasp easily, and without being distracted from the presentation or group discussion. Ideally, visual materials should be developed jointly with community members; if that is not feasible, pre-test them carefully with community members beforehand and adapt the materials as needed.