How We Create Our Messages

ZuZu and ZaZa with the rainbow stick

ZuZu and ZaZa with the rainbow stick featuring colours from each of the ten topics.

Our core content at Children for Health is something unique to us: the 100 health messages for children to learn and share.

As well as using more traditional methods, social media and mobile technology can be used to reach children and their families with these nuggets of distilled information.

These health messages are the product of an involved process that combines our skills in working with children aged 8-13 in the classroom together with our skills in sourcing and distilling health information from high level academic and other sources.

We identified 10 health topics and for each topic we identified the top 10 things children should know about this topic.

On the one hand feedback has been that this feels like too many messages for children to learn and on the other hand people wish to add many more messages to the lists! We are working with teachers to understand how children memorise the messages, the methods they use and what needs to happen in order for the messages to become completely unforgettable!

Unforgettable messages MUST be accurate and we are committed to ensuring accuracy and suitability for the 8 and over age group.

This is the process we use:

  1. A topic is selected for focus – i.e Nutrition.
  2. An expert adviser for the topic is recruited.
  3. 20-30 messages in the health topic are developed by our director Clare Hanbury using materials that she knows or has developed herself. Clare is a health education expert, a former classroom teacher for the 8-13 year old age range and an author of numerous child-focussed health education publications dating back to the early 1990s to the present day. Click here to review the list.
  4. The expert adviser checks Clare’s key health education source materials and other source materials that include: relevant academic publications (such as the Lancet series on maternal and child nutrition); relevant World Health Organisation Fact Sheets; topic-specific leading journal articles that are open to the public; and UNICEF’s Facts for Life Global.
  5. The expert adviser discusses and revises the list with Clare and distils them into the initial list of 10 messages. This process takes place over several weeks (and sometime months).
  6. The final list plus any questions we have are then sent as a blog post to members of the CHILD forum within the Health Information for All by 2015 Campaign. The 12,000 members of this campaign forum include health workers and health education specialists from all over the world.
  7. A discussion on the forum about the Children for Health topic messages continues over a 2-3 week period (we have received an average of 22 replies to each post!).
  8. Someone from this active feedback group is identified as a potential ‘guardian’ for the Children for Health 10 health messages on the topic.
  9. The feedback is considered and the messages revised as a result.
  10. The guardian for the messages is approached and some have agreed to check on the messages for 12 months. These guardians provide additional feedback on the final 10 messages.