Photo: © UNICEF/UN061370/

This course will introduce participants to the field of Communication for Development (C4D). C4D is an evidence-based process that utilizes a mix of communication tools, channels and approaches to facilitate participation and engagement with children, families, communities, networks for positive social and behaviour change in both development and humanitarian contexts. It draws on learnings and concepts from the social, behavioural and communication sciences.

Communication technologies and approaches have evolved rapidly in the past decade and new opportunities for engaging people in social change processes have opened up. At the same time, factors such as changing demographics, globalization, armed conflicts, climate change, disease, pandemics and epidemics, movements of migrant and refugee populations, and rapid urbanization have posed new challenges and requirements for innovation in the development and communication sectors

UNICEF’s online C4D course addresses the need for new and enhanced communication competencies to meet these new challenges and leverage opportunities for innovation to achieve behavior and social change for children.   

The C4D course was originally designed by UNICEF and Ohio University, a leading academic institution in the C4D field, to equip UNICEF staff with relevant knowledge, skills and tools to address socio-cultural determinants of UNICEF programmes and humanitarian actions through the use of C4D. The course has now been adapted to this Agora online, self-paced format to make it more accessible to a wider audience.

Learning Objectives

The C4D course is designed to help participants:

  • Understand key theories around communication, development, culture, behaviour and social change
  • Describe key theories around communication, culture, behaviour and social change
  • Define key C4D concepts, principles, approaches, methods and techniques
  • Recall the role of research, design, development, implementation and monitoring and evaluation to C4D programming
  • Identify the steps involved in the design and development of effective, evidence-based and human rights-based C4D strategies in line with best practice.


The course is open to everyone. It was designed with the following audiences in mind: UNICEF partners (including government partners, implementing partners, consultants and researchers),  C4D practitioners, students, and others with an interest in or responsibility for the design and implementation of social and behaviour change communication initiatives. 


The C4D course is self-paced and self-study.  The course follows a MOOC format, in which you are guided through required readings and videos.  Brief background text is provided as you navigate through the course to give you context for these required resources.  You will see suggested and supplemental readings and videos throughout. While these are not required for this course, you are encouraged to review them in your own time.    

We suggest that you review each C4D Module and its resources in sequence. Some of the print materials are lengthy and you may find it easier to download the content for reading offline.  


You can complete the course at your preferred pace. Please plan to allocate approximately 20-25 hours. 

Course Structure

The Modules and Units in the C4D course include:

Module 1: Principles and Concepts in C4D

Unit 1: Introduction to C4D

Unit 2: C4D Planning 

Unit 3: C4D Implementation and Management

Module 2: Behavior and Social Change Theories in C4D

Unit 1: Behavior and Social Change Theory in C4D

Unit 2: Interpersonal-Level Change Theories

Unit 3: Community-Level Change Theories

Unit 4: Theory-Led C4D Research and Planning

Module 3: C4D Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation

Unit 1: Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Concepts

Unit 2: Participatory Research

Unit 3: The C4D Research, Monitoring and Evaluation Framework 

Contact Details

For content related inquiries

Charlotte Lapsansky
Communication for Development Specialist