About C4D

Communications for Development (C4D) is defined by the C4D Network as the strategic use of communication processes and tools to achieve development goals.

History of C4D

C4D is an evolving area of practice that is tracking a paradigm shift in development – from diffusion to participation; its evolution has also been influenced by the information revolution and more recently by mobile and other digital innovations.

C4D as a concept has been in existence since the 1970s, when it emerged out of agricultural extension communication, and developed in emphasis as the development sector embraced greater participation as a concept (Paulo Freire being one of the leading theorist in this regard). It has been a recognised part of international development within the UN family for over three decades, and there have been 13 bi-annual ‘C4D Round Tables’ within the UN system to focus on different aspects of C4D and issues around mainstreaming it as an area of practice in the UN. The UN-mandated lead agency for C4D is UNICEF, with other agencies that engage with it substantively including UNESCO, FAO, UNAIDS and OCHA. International NGOs that are developing an increased focus on C4D include World Vision, Save the Children and Plan International. 

Click here to read more about the history of C4D.

C4D Areas of Practice

C4D is a broad area of practice in international development, and within it there are a number of key areas of practice or approaches. These are:

  • Behaviour Change Communication
  • Social Change Communication
  • Advocacy
  • Social Mobilization
  • Media Development

Click here to read about these areas of practice in more detail.

C4D Strategies, Routes & Channels

Within C4D there are many ways that communication can be delivered and there is a strategic need to choose the right route or channel that fits the context and purpose. These strategies include those focused on:

  • Delivering campaigns: e.g. mass campaigns using TV
  • Supporting participation: e.g. participatory theatre
  • Facilitating responsiveness / communication flows: e.g. ‘voice & accountability’ projects

The channels through which this communication is delivered, fall within either interpersonal routes or media-enabled routes (including digital). To learn more, click here.

Our network is made up of members who have spent years working in the development sector and who have a wealth of experience to share. Click here to read what a few of them have to say on their experiences of C4D.

What is C4D?

Watch this video for an overview of the work that the C4D sector encompasses.