Communication in RiPPLE

Communication in RiPPLE is about more than producing and disseminating research reports. It is geared towards supporting active learning and knowledge-sharing in the sector, and has been a core component of the programme from the start.

RiPPLE communication has three objectives:

  1. To enhance the leasrning process within and between the Learning and Practice Alliances (LPAs)
  2. To share the knowledge developed in the LPAs more widely to influence policy making and implementation practices in the water and sanitation sector
  3. To support the development of capacity in communication of key sector issues

RiPPLE Communications 

A wide range of activities are being undertaken to achieve these objectives:

Strengthening and systemising internal communications

This means supporting internal communications between RiPPLE LPA members, partners and staff, making links between LPAs at different levels and in different regions (for example through exchange visits and an LPA bulletin) and ensuring that the LPA concept is well articulated. The LPA learning process is to be enhanced by being well connected with other learning processes in the Nile region, both in the WASH sector and beyond. Communications work supports this, by developing information materials to explain RiPPLE to a wide audience and by supporting network-building events.

Dissemination of research results and interaction with other WASH initiatives

Taking research outputs to local, national and international audiences is critical. RiPPLE disseminates accessible information to a wide range of audiences in Ethiopia and the Nile region through outputs including newsletters, briefing notes, an interactive website, documentary films, toolkits, cooperation with national and international media, and documentation of the change and learning processes initiated by RiPPLE. Wherever possible we link such outputs to major communications initiatives and events, for example, the WASH campaign, EUWI Multi Stakeholder Forum and World Water Forum.

Capacity Development

RiPPLE takes a broad capacity development approach to sector communications issues. RiPPLE aims to develop the capacity of individuals (journalists, students, bureau staff) and institutions (University, Information and communication bureaux, the Multi Stakeholder Forum) by encouraging reflection, analysis and debate about policies and practices on WASH issues, including financial flows, pro-poor growth strategies, governance and planning mechanisms, sector harmonisation and coordination, and supply chain management. Activities include training of journalists, curriculum development, holding seminars, and supporting woreda and regional government to strengthen their information systems.

In conjunction with Haramaya University (HU), RiPPLE will be organising numerous activities towards building capacity in communicating about WSS issues. These activities include:

  • A module on WASH issues with communication students at HU with the Department of Rural Development and Agricultural Extension and MetaMeta.
  • Internships in the RiPPLE programme for HU MA/BA students
  • Sponsoring two post-graduate students to write thesis on WASH-related topics
  • A jointly-hosted training workshop for journalism and communication specialists on reporting on WASH issues


Communication in RiPPLE faces a number of challenges. These relate to the diversity of languages and audiences in Ethiopia and the Nile region, the traditional top-down nature of information flows, low levels of communication technology at woreda level, and a gap in capacity for communication among both sector staff and the media. Sensitivity to local communication styles and approaches is vital, and RiPPLE strives to use innovative communication approaches alongside traditional tools to engage a wide audience.

Page last updated 3 Sep 2009