Newsletters and booklets use the written word and pictures to communicate information,
news and opinions. They rely upon the recipients being literate in the language of the
publication. Newsletters and booklets can be produced locally and circulated to a small
number of people, or printed in large numbers for much wider distribution.
Advantages of Newsletters and Booklets
The main advantage of using the written word as a
communication method, is that written information is
permanent. It is a long lasting information source
which does not rely upon human memory.
Newsletters and booklets:
Can be written by the community for the
Can include community views and opinions.
Can be circulated locally or more widely to
share ideas with the outside world.
Success can be measured by feedback from
readers, such as letters to the editor.
How to use Newsletters and Booklets
Villagers reading ‘Baobab’ newsletter
in East Kochia, Western Kenya.
At the simplest level a newsletter can be hand
Practical Action East Africa
written and duplicated for a small number of people,
such as members of a local club or group. More sophisticated publications may be produced
for circulation to larger audiences, but this type of venture will require writing and editing
skills and access to duplicating equipment or printing services.
To produce a newsletter or booklet:
Determine the purpose of the newsletter and the target audience.
Decide upon the frequency of publication.
Identify appropriate production and duplicating skills and equipment.
Calculate the production costs and the means and costs of distribution. (Where
appropriate consider electronic distribution e.g. by e-mail)
Consider the language to be used and the newsletter name.
Decide on design, layout and use of pictures and drawings. If the audience has low
literacy levels use numerous pictures, illustrations and cartoons.
Ensure that the content is relevant and engaging for the target audience. Remember
that collecting material content can be difficult and time consuming.
Encourage readers to contribute opinions and material for future issues.
Consider offering advertising space as a means of funding the newsletter.
Constraints of Newsletters and Booklets
The written word is unfamiliar to people with an oral tradition of communication.
Non-literate people, or those reading a different language are unable to read or
contribute to newsletters.
Newsletters and booklets can be costly and time consuming to produce and
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