Khadija Zaheer
Anna Colom
Publication Date
March 12, 2014

BBC Media Action

"How do people in Pakistan live with climate change now? How will its impacts shape their future, and how will they, in turn, shape their environment? What are the most effective ways to support people to adapt to climate change, and how best can the media, governments, organisations and businesses communicate with them?"

This research is an attempt to help answer these questions. It was conducted from March 2012 to January 2013 across Pakistan, including a nationally representative survey conducted during July and August 2012. The study comes from Climate Asia, BBC Media Action's study of people’s everyday experience of climate change. The project surveyed 33,500 people across seven Asian countries - Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Vietnam. The research included 4,128 households and 17 opinion-formers and experts in Pakistan, as well as 6 focus group discussions and 5 community assessments across the country.

“This report explores how people live and deal with environmental and resource changes in order to understand their communication needs and help them respond to changes in climate. The first section highlights people’s perceptions that life has worsened and that the availability of resources has decreased while inflation has increased. Section 2 contains statistics on people’s perceptions of changes in climate, including temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events, as well as their knowledge and understanding of climate change. It also highlights views on government and overall trust in institutions. In sections 3 and 4, the report details how people are responding to change and the factors that enable and constrain response. This includes how informed they feel and the extent to which they are engaged in their community.

Section 5 highlights how different stakeholders can use these insights to craft communication that supports people to respond to changes in climate. Section 6 includes an analysis of segments - groups derived through analysis of Climate Asia data that can be used to help stakeholders understand people’s needs - as well as to identify communication opportunities to enable effective action. Section 7 focuses on people’s preferences for particular types of information, the formats in which it is presented and channels of delivery. It also contains new statistics on Pakistani people’s use of different media. Section 8 provides further guidance for stakeholders looking to communicate with people by describing three examples of priority audiences - women, farmers and young people. The specific communication needs of these audiences are then highlighted by utilising the segments from section 6 and other Climate Asia data. The report concludes by highlighting how to use the information, insight and tools generated by the Climate Asia project to communicate with target audiences.”

Communication platforms and networks include: television (soaps and dramas, sports, and news, often watched with neighbours), mobile phones including SMS text messages, radio - though less than TV, newspapers, internet, and the community.

Strategies for reaching specific groups include:

  • Women: Popular TV channels and mobile phones were the optimal ways to reach urban women. TV channels are more limited, but popular for reaching rural women: "Drama serials, morning shows, news, religious programmes and musical programmes are popular among women. There is a preference for story lines that are relevant to their lives, and showcase their individual and communal concerns."
  • Farmers: "Television, mobile phones and face-to-face communication are farmers’ preferred means of communication." Demonstrations of agricultural practices and discussions with neighbours, extension agents, members of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and experts are the preferred sources. Lack of electricity can be a hindrance in communication. "Farmers will be most effectively supported by communication that encourages collective action and provides practical information relating to their needs, including reassurance that they can take action that will help without risking their income."
  • Young people: Television is the top means to reach this population segment, followed by mobile phone. "Preferred TV formats for this demographic include dramas (64%), news (61%), films (26%) and religious programmes (21%)." Young people may be better positioned to act if given information and training. Interactive programmes are recommended, including, for rural youth, information on: renewable energy; collective resource management; insurance against natural disasters and extreme weather events; alternative livelihoods such as handicrafts; information on accessing local markets; renewable energy; new crop and seed varieties; and cultivation methods. "Vocational training centres for young women and men, especially in rural areas, would be popular. Programmes could also focus on increasing young people’s awareness of climate change so that they can better understand the implications of the changes they already perceive."

Climate Asia invites people to share this report, the links to the data portal, the climate change toolkit, and their research tools.


Climate Asia website, June 25 2014. Image credit: Martin Roemers, Panos