“I became a journalist to come as close as possible to the heart of the world.” – Henry Luce

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Development Communication In India

The history of organised development communication in India can be traced to rural radio broadcasts used indigenous languages in the 1940s.
The programmes may be about farming and related subjects. The programme may comprise of interviews with experts, officials and farmers, folk songs and information about weather, market rates, availability of improved seeds and implements. There would also be programmes on related fields.
During the I 950s, the government started huge developmental programmes throughout the country.In fact, when Doordarshan started on I5th September 1959, it was concentrating only on programmes on agriculture. We have seen the ‘Krishi Darshan’ programme on Doordarshan.
Later in 1975, when India used satellites for telecasting television programmes in what is known as SITE (Satellite Instructional Television Experiment), the programmes on education and development were made available to 2400 villages in the states ofAndhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Rajasthan
In various parts of India, groups of volunteers use street theatre as a medium for development communication. This is done through humorous skits and plays through which the importance of literacy, hygiene etc. are enacted.
 Programmes are organized in the remote areas of Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Tamilnadu, and the North East to provide training to rural communicators to enable them to use comics in development communication.Information on sensitive health issues such as HIV/AIDS has been communicated throught the medium of comics in several states.
The need of Development Communication in India
§  Universities and other educational institutions - especially the agricultural universities, through their extension networks - and international organisations under the UN umbrella carried the development communication  experiments further.
§  The need for development communication continues still over 200 million are very poor as of 2009. They all, and the urban slum dwellers, need government support in different forms. Therefore, communication from the government remains highly relevant.

Animal Husbandry 
Food Security 
Public Works
Income generation activities
Health and Sanitation
Family welfare
§  Community Radio
The level of literacy was very low in rural areas - radio played an equally important role in reaching messages to the masses.
Community radio is another new medium getting a foothold in rural India, though in patches. NGOs and educational institutions are given license to set up a local community radio station to broadcast information, advisories and messages on developmental aspects. Participation of local community is encouraged. As community radio provides a platform to villagers to broadcast local issues, it has the potential to elicit positive action from local politicians and civil servants.
§  One of the first examples of development communication was Farm Radio Forums in Canada. From 1941 to 1965 farmers met in groups each week to listen to special radio programs. There were also printed materials and prepared questions to encourage group discussion.
§  At first this was a response to the Great Depression and the need for increased food production in World War II. This model of adult education or distance education was later adopted in India and Ghana
§  Since 2002, Journalists for Human Rights, a Canadian based NGO, has operated long term projects in Ghana,Sierra Leone,Liberia and the DR Congo. jhr works directly with journalists, providing monthly workshops, student sessions, on the job training, and additional programs on a country by country basis.
§  A project of social marketing in Bolivia in the 1980s tried to get women in the Cochabamba Valley to use soybean recipes in their cooking. This was an attempt to deal with chronic malnourishment among children.
§  The project used cooking demonstrations, posters and broadcasts on local commercial radio stations.
§  In 1999 the U.S. Government and D.C. Comics planned to distribute 600,000 comic books to children affected by the Kosovo War. The comic books are in Albanian and feature Superman and Wonder Woman. The aim is to teach children what to do when they find an unexploded Land mine left over from Kosovo's civil war. The comic books instruct children not to touch the anti-personnel mines and not to move, but instead to call an adult for help.
Mexico-Failed project
In Mexico in the 1980s, a major initiative to develop the tropical wetlands through drainage systems, roads, bridges, and other infrastructures, including new settlement villages, was launched in Tabasco State, under the title of Plan la Chontalpa. 
However, the Plan was frustrated by the unwillingness of the local communities to conform to the plans laid down for them by the authorities. The result was an enormous investment in infrastructures that were never properly utilized or maintained.
Mexico- PRODERITH (A successful project)
The World Bank considers PRODERITH to be among the most successful project it supports and is on record as having stated that the rural communication system has been instrumental to that success.
Today, the Government's Integrated Rural Development Programme for the Tropical Wetlands (PRODERITH), which is supported by the World Bank, and by FAO for its development communication aspects, has created a rural communication system to help avoid repeating the errors of the Plan la Chontalpa, which , in effect, built "cathedrals in the desert".                                                       
A video is shown to the community to explain PRDERITH and its action, and following this, the community id asked whether it wished to co-operate with the Programme. After an affirmative response the people are asked to choose 10-12 persons from among them to represent them during a series of planning meetings that take place in the following weeks.
These planning meetings make intensive use of video recording and playback to trigger and stimulate an internal debate about the past history of the community, its present situation, the problems facing it, and possible options for development initiatives that could be supported by PRODERITH.  The outcome is a Local Development Plan, about which a video is also made and which is passed to the management of PRODERITH.


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