Development Communication has been used as the use of communication to promote social development. It refers to the practice of systematically applying the processes, strategies, and principles of communication to bring about positive social change. In other words development communication is the integration of strategic communication in development projects.
§ It is recognizing the power of communication as a catalyst for social development.
§ It is also the utilization of existent communication tools and applicable theories for result-driven strategies for the advancement of society.
§ It can also be defined as purposive communication intended for a specific target audience that allows for the translation of information into action resulting in a higher quality of life.
§ It also relies greatly on Community and People voluntary involvement or Participation, in a development activity with full knowledge of its purpose that will allow them to grow individually and as a community.
§ Development communication is the process of eliciting positive change (social, political, economic, moral, environmental, etc) through an effective exchange of pertinent information in order to induce people to action.
Elements in Development Communication
It is a broad but rigorous one: it includes
ú a specific body of research
ú a series of practices to induce change through specific methods and media.
ú While there is a vast literature about planning, production, and strategic use of media in development, there is significantly less material about the “dialogic” use of communication to investigate issues at the beginning of development projects and programs.
In this connection three vital groups are identified which are as follows:
ú Innovation or Knowledge generation.
ú The political leaders or government of the state.
ú Users of the knowledge or agriculturists.
A very close interaction is necessary among the three groups as mentioned above, to achieve the success of development support communication.
Development Communication Agencies
Development communication is urgently suggested by UNESCO, UNDP and communication scholars and practitioners worldwide.
It stands for linking all agencies involved in the planned development works such as political executives, political planners, development administrators, subject specialists, field workers, opinion leaders, media representatives, researchers and the beneficiaries who continue the final delivery points and the consumers of the information.
The route of communication envisaged are not only vertical as flowing from upper level to bottom or bottom level to upwards but also horizontal between the institutions and personnel connected with the process of development.
Strategic communication is a powerful tool that can improve the chances of success of development projects.
Origin of Development Communication
The concept of development communication can be widespread various parts of the world because of the problems that arose in the aftermath of World War II.
The rise of the communication sciences in the 1950s saw recognition of the field as an academic discipline, with Daniel Lerner, Wilbur Schramm, and Everett Rogers being the earliest influential advocates.
Scope of Development Communication
§ The theory and practice of development communication continues to evolve today, with different approaches and perspectives unique to the varied development contexts such as information dissemination and education, behavior change, social marketing, social mobilization, media advocacy, communication for social change, and participatory development communication.
The fundamental objective is to communicate the latest skills, knowledge and innovation to the society it may increase their output manifold.
Basic Principles of Development Communication
Dialogic- To facilitate mutual understanding, to assess the situation, and to seek wider consensus.
Inclusive- Development Communication identifies, defines, hears, and understands relevant audience
Heuristic- The investigative use of communication to discover or solve problems during the initial phases of a development initiative is essential
Analytical- The assessment of political risks and opportunities, is analytical
Participatory- Only genuine communication can facilitate effective participation in grass root level, especially in its most advanced forms on
Features of Development Communication
Contextual— to obtain a better understanding of the relevant situation and they can triangulate their findings.
Interdisciplinary—it includes a number of principles borrowed from other disciplines, such as ethnography, sociology, political economy, adult education, and marketing.
Strategic—The principle of strategy, which contains many of the previous elements, emphasizes the professional and timely application of communication techniques and methods to achieve intended objectives.
Persuasive—To be used to induce voluntary changes in individuals.
Development Communication Approaches
Social marketing - the principles of marketing applied to social issues. It has been widely used, especially to promote health practices, such as immunization campaigns, sanitation, and others.
Advocacy- applied to promote a specific issue or agenda, generally at a national level.
Information dissemination and campaigns- dissemination of information to fill specific knowledge gaps, Information, education, and communication (IEC)- It is based on the linear transmission model where information is disseminated through a number of media.
Basic Communication Approaches
Education and training- Educational approaches are generally aimed at increasing knowledge and comprehension.
Institutional strengthening - strengthening the internal capacities of an institution and eventually positioning and improving its image with external audiences.
Community mobilization- a systematic effort to involve the community to take active part in the resolution of specific issues related to their well-being.