Cover Image
close this book Nutrition learning packages
close this folder Nutrition Learning Package 8: COMMUNICATING NUTRITION MESSAGES
View the document How to use the materials in Nutrition Learning Package
View the document 8A Rules of good communication
View the document 8B Communications in the village
View the document 8C Ideas and methods for trainers teaching nutrition
View the document 8D Priority messages
View the document 8E Pretesting

8D Priority messages


A training session for community health workers on developing materials.


Approximately 2 hours. You may need to use more or less time depending on the experience the trainees have.


To assist community health workers in the development of priority messages.


Provide large sheets of paper and marker pens for each group of trainees.


1. Ask the group to list the community health and nutrition problems that have been identified through previous activities (see Nutrition Learning Package 1 - Getting to know the community). Or prepare a list from previous discussions or from individual interviews with the trainee community health workers.

2. Select one problem and discuss how it might be solved. Then ask:

• 'Can this problem be solved by a simple change in behaviour?'

• 'Can it be solved with a few additional resources?'

If the answer to both of these questions is yes, a priority message can be useful in helping to solve the problem.

3. Ask the trainees to think of messages about the problem that would motivate villagers to change their behaviour. List all of the suggested messages on a sheet of paper or on a blackboard.

4. Ask trainees which of the messages are likely to be effective. If necessary, combine or change the listed messages to produce a good example of a priority message.

5. Select another problem, and discuss how it might be solved. Any problem that requires resources that

are difficult to obtain, or more than a simple change in behaviour will probably not be helped by a priority message.

6. Now ask the trainees what makes an effective priority message. List the suggestions. Examples might include:

• It is short.

• It provides enough information.

• It gives a suggestion for change.

• It is easy to remember.

7. Write a priority message.

8. Divide the trainees into small groupe. Give each group 5 to 10 community problems from the list. Ask each group to decide on priority messages that could help solve these problems.

9. After about 45 minutes ask the groups to report back on the priority messages they have created. Review the suggestions listed in Point 6, of what makes an effective priority message. Ask whether, in the light of their experience in developing priority messages, any additions or changes are needed to the list.

Some examples of priority messages are:

• 'Weight gain is healthy. Weigh your child each month.'

• 'Breast milk from the mother is best for the baby.'

• 'A source of nutrition is in front of your door. Use your yard to grow vegetables.'

• 'Keep our children's bodies clean to prevent illness.'

Note: This exercise can also be adapted so that people in the community can develop their own priority messages. For example, during a meeting with community members to discover the health and nutrition problems in the community, the health worker can ask the people how they would express, in their own words, a message to help get rid of the problem or change the behaviour that creates the problem.