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Communication for Development: An Evaluation of UNICEF’s Capacity and Action

Itad is conducting an evaluation of UNCEF's Capacity for Development application, to guide and strengthen future implementations, and assess the evaluability of results in programmes using C4D interventions.


Communication for development (C4D) is the application of the principles of effective communication to further development objectives. In UNICEF, C4D is a cross-cutting programme implementation strategy firmly grounded within the human-rights based approach to programming (HRBAP).

The 2014-2017 Strategic Plan positions C4D as inherent to the implementation strategy of capacity development. C4D is used widely in emergency response and the ongoing response to the Ebola epidemic has made C4D / social mobilization a key responsibility for UNICEF.

The evaluation

In response to a corporate decision in 2013, UNICEF made a decision to externally evaluate C4D in UNICEF. This formative evaluation will help guide and strengthen the future implementation of UNICEF’s C4D activities and assess the evaluability of results in programmes using C4D interventions.

The scope of the evaluation covers 2010 to 2014 with a greater focus on the last three years. Evidence from the evaluation will feed into the midterm review of the 2014-17 Strategic Plan and the development of an updated C4D strategy, framework and related guidance material.

The focus of this evaluation is on understanding both the extent to which C4D have been integrated and mainstreamed within UNICEF’s policies and practices and the effectiveness of its capacity development efforts.


As such, the evaluation has five main objectives:

  1. Assessing the effectiveness, relevance and efficiency of initiatives that have sought to build organisational and individual capacities for C4D
  2. Assessing the extent to which C4D has been effectively mainstreamed within UNICEF’s policies, programmes and practices at all levels
  3. Assessing the quality of the design and implementation of C4D programmes at the country level
  4. Undertaking an evaluability assessment of UNICEF’s C4D programming and providing design options for how best to evaluate the developmental outcomes and impacts achieved through C4D.
  5. Providing conclusions and recommendations on how management at UNICEF can institutionalise C4D further in its policies, programmes and practices

Our approach

Our evaluation design has two main components:

  • It is formative and designed to inform the ongoing implementation of C4D capacity development
  • It is theory-based, and will test and support the refinement of the theory of change underpinning UNICEF’s capacity development efforts on C4D

The ongoing Inception Phase includes two parallel mapping exercises: The first will involve mapping C4D capacity development interventions at HQ, regional and country levels: a document review and some initial key informant interviews with staff at HQ (including the C4D Technical Unit) and at regional level.

A short survey to country offices is planned to gauge the scope and depth of C4D programming and capacity development initiatives.  The second mapping will be of policies, systems and processes.  Together, both mapping exercises will help the team gain an understanding of the scope and scale of C4D initiatives across UNICEF and the core frameworks, strategies, and policies that guide practice.

The second phase will include a review of C4D training and learning policies, an assessment of C4D strategies, policies and tools, and four-five country case studies and 25 desk reviews, as well as an evaluability assessment. In the final stage, the data will be synthesised and presented in a workshop.


Image © BEYOND EBOLA, helping children rebuild their lives. Photo Credit: EU/ECHO/Jonathan Hyams (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Team members
Greg Gleed