AdZou Team Completes Its First International Assignment

Strength That Grows Poster

Strategic Communication Students Create Campaign for USAID Project in Mozambique

Columbia, Mo. (July 28, 2015) — An AdZou team created its first international campaign on a project that was part of a USAID Ag 2 Africa grant initiative. The team was challenged to introduce a new and innovative bean to rural female farmers in Mozambique.

Strength That Grows Poster
Strength That Grows poster

Beyond the mission of introducing a new product with no name, the team members had to transport themselves to a world overseas and connect with a culture of vastly different technology accessibility, literacy, language variability, social and political dynamics, gender roles, economic standing, and many other factors.

The Health Communication Research Center and the Division of Applied Social Sciences at the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, led by Director Jill Findeis, began collaborating on the project in 2012. The collaboration was a natural fit. It brought together CAFNR’s strengths in science and agriculture with the School of Journalism’s applied health and science strategic communication group.

“Honestly, I had no idea how this partnership would work but knew it would be an amazing experience for the students,” said Jon Stemmle, AdZou director and former HCRC director.

The AdZou students, led by instructor Brandon Butcher, were able to learn about the culture and needs of rural women farmers who have vastly different experiences from their own through the efforts of an interdisciplinary “bean team.” This included Findeis, HCRC Director Amy Dunaway, Food Systems Communication Project Director Nina Furstenau, and rural sociology doctoral student Fridah Mubichi.

The Mozambique team (top row, from left to right): Lauren Rundquist, Emy Theodorakis, Abby Gray and Jamie Beard. Bottom row: Amy Silvestri, Ann Wade, Hannah Wilson.
The Mozambique team, top row, from left: Lauren Rundquist, Emy Theodorakis, Abby Gray and Jamie Beard. Bottom row, from left: Amy Silvestri, Ann Wade, Hannah Wilson.

Students also received a crash course on beans and how improved common bean varieties can help alleviate poverty and food insecurity. Through that process, the students developed campaign concepts, which were then field tested by Dunaway when she traveled to the country in March to lead data collection efforts.

The result of that field-testing was the creation of “The Mother Bean” as the focus of the strategic communication campaign. This research yielded the look and feel of the campaign and a mix of traditional tactics – such as posters and stickers – as well as some that were unique to the region. Among the unique was the creation of a kanga, a wrap worn by women and occasionally men, throughout the African Great Lakes region, of which Mozambique is part. A kanga, created in the bright colors that research showed were appealing to the women of the area, fit within the overarching idea of the relationship women have with their children.

The team also created radio spots and programs, broadcast in various languages, which ranged from 30 seconds to one hour long. These spots were meant to deliver information about the Ag 2 Africa program to a wide audience.

DASS Director Jill Findeis congratulates Account Executive Lauren Rundquist and her teammates Abby Gray, Jamie Beard and Amy Silvestri on their campaign presentation.
DASS Director Jill Findeis, second from right, congratulates account executive Lauren Rundquist and her teammates Abby Gray, Jamie Beard and Amy Silvestri on their campaign presentation.

“The Mother Bean supports mothers in their duty to fill the bellies of those most important to them – their children,” the AdZou team shared with the bean team during their final presentation. “Having satisfied, nourished children makes these women feel that they are the strong, family-first mothers they were born to be. We developed a fabric pattern and logo for the initiative to use to brand the product, along with the use of radio and brand representatives.”

The next step in the process is to pilot some of the materials with small villages and key partners in Mozambique.

“We are very excited to be able to take these ideas into the field and bring them back to the women who helped shape their design,” Dunaway said. “Now we are working with local partners as well as USAID on how these materials can be piloted and evaluated over the next year.”

The Mozambique team members were: Jamie Beard, interactive/media; Abby Gray, account planner; Lauren Rundquist, account executive; Amy Silvestri, copywriter; Emy Theodorakis, art director; Ann Wade, media planner; and Hannah Wilson, public relations.

Updated: August 15, 2019

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