Communication strategies used by the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ) to disseminate family planning information in rural areas
Phiri, Arlene Hamusunse
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This report is a result of my four months practical attachment to the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia (PPAZ). I was attached to the said organisation from 13th August to 14th December, 2001. The attachment was in part fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Communication for Development at the University of Zambia. When taking up the attachment, I was interested in finding out the communication strategies PPAZ uses in trying to get people to limit their families. This report therefore outlines what I found out during my attachment regarding this issue. It also talks about the extent to which PPAZ family planning programmes are participatory. The methodologies I used when gathering information are also discussed in this report. These are focus group discussions, questionnaires, documentary search and staff/volunteer observation. The findings of the attachment show that in spite of all the information being given to the people regarding family planning, many of them still want to have many children, even when they have no means of supporting them. Both economic and health disadvantages (to the women) are being given in order to discourage people from having too many children, but they still have them anyway. While efforts are made to use participatory communication when educating people about family planning, the PPAZ does not always adhere to this practice. This sometimes tends to cause some dissatisfaction among target adopters. This report also shows how the findings from the attachment relate to communication for development in the light of organisational and participatory communication theories. The other thing that this report shows is that financial constraints tend to affect organisational communication adversely within the Association. A number of activities that could help PPAZ deliver more adequately to its target audiences are not carried out due to limited financial capacity. Other constraints that PPAZ faces, as well as the Association's strengths, are also discussed. Student input is an important part of the attachment, therefore my input to the organisation is also discussed in the report. Finally, recommendations on how operations at PPAZ could be improved are given at the end of the report.