Last week, we talked about the initial phase of our engagement with an international foundation that wanted to appropriately communicate new findings about the links between meeting the unmet need for family planning and climate change mitigation. (If you missed this blog post, click here to read it.)
As we mentioned, one of the key components of our engagement was a round table conference in Delhi. The conference included key opinion leaders in public health, family planning, and climate change – our objective was to gauge how policymakers in the developing world would respond and react to these new ideas. Our climate change expert, Aditya Bahadur says, “We were able to use our network to bring the relevant people from diverse fields together – in my opinion, the ability to do this is one of the unique aspects of Baird’s CMC. The conference yielded helpful insights into how to communicate this research better.”
The event revealed some surprising opinions: Counter-intuitively, we found that people from public health and family planning were largely accepting of the findings, but the climate change community reacted fairly negatively. For instance, one participant said that the current messaging meant our client was “flying into a cliff face”. According to his understanding of policy landscape, the government of the host developing nation felt that the West has created the problem of climate change and, therefore, the burden of reducing carbon emissions should not fall on the shoulders of developing nations.
The government also felt that developed nations should pay developing countries help reduce carbon emission, e.g., through technology transfer. This participant felt that if our client approached the government and asked it to reduce the country’s fertility rate for climate changes benefits, the government would be totally opposed to such an idea.
So, what was the outcome of these findings? We learned that we needed to consider the possibility of talking about climate change as a secondary or tertiary benefit of giving women condoms. Baird’s CMC worked to substantially repackage the whole idea and create new communications materials.
What happened next? Check our blog next week to read about the final phase of this project!