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

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Key Issues about (Development) Communication

Some of the myths and misconceptions about communication, especially when related to the field of development. These misconceptions can often be the cause of misunderstandings and lead to inconsistent and ineffective use of communication concepts and practices. The first two points on this list are about communication in general, while the others refer to development communication in particular.

1."Communications" and "communication" are not the same thing. 

The plural form refers mainly to activities and products, including information technolo­gies, media products, and services (the Internet, satellites, broadcasts, and so forth). The singular form, on the other hand, usually refers to the process of communication, emphasizing its dialogical and analytical functions rather than its informative nature and media products. This distinction is significant at the theoretical, methodological, and operational levels.

2. There is a sharp difference between everyday communication and professional communication.  

 A person who communicates well is not necessarily a person who can make effective and professional use of communication. Each A professional (development) communication specialist understands relevant theories and practices and is capable of design­ing effective strategies that draw from the full range of communication approaches and methods to achieve intended objectives.

3.There is a significant difference between development communication and other types of communication. 

Both theoretically and practically, there are many dif­ferent types of applications in the communication family. There are four main types of communication, they are  advocacy communication, corporate communication, internal communication, and development communication. Each has a different scope and requires specific knowledge and skills to be per­formed effectively.

4.  The main scope and functions of development communication are not exclusively about communicating information and messages, but they also involve engaging stakeholders and assessing the situation.  

Currently, the scope of development communication has broadened to include an analytical aspect as well as a dialogical one—intended to open public spaces where perceptions, opinions, and knowledge of relevant stakeholders .

5.Development communication initiatives can never be successful unless proper communication research is conducted before deciding on the strategy.

communication professional should  design a communication campaign or strat­egy with having all the relevant data to inform, to identify gaps  his or her decision.

6.To be effective in their work, development communication specialists need to have a specific and in-depth knowledge of the theory and practical applications of the discipline. 

In addition to being familiar with the relevant literature about the various communication theories, models, and applications, development com­munication specialists should also be educated in the basic principles and prac­tices of other interrelated disciplines, such as anthropology, marketing, sociology, ethnography, psychology, adult education, and social research.

In Additionally, a good professional should also have the right attitude toward people, being empathic and willing to listen and to facilitate dialog in order to elicit and incorporate stakeholders' perceptions and opinions.

Most of all, a professional development communication specialist needs to be consistently issue-focused, rather than institution-focused.

7.Development communication Objectives design. 

 Even the most well-designed communication strategy will fail if the overall objec­tives of the project are not properly determined, if they do not enjoy a broad consensus from stakeholders, or if the activities are not implemented in a satisfactory manner. In such cases, the basic foundations of development communication are neglected, and the results are usually disappointing, especially over the long term.

8.Development communication is not exclusively about behavior change.

The areas of intervention and the applications of development communication extend beyond the traditional notion of behavior change to include, among other things, probing socioeconomic and political factors, identifying priorities, assessing risks and opportunities, empowering people, strengthening institutions, and promoting social change within complex cultural and political environments.

9.Media and information technologies are not the backbone of development communication.

  Media and information technologies are part of development communication, and they are important and useful means to support development. Their impact is greatly affected by the communication work done in the research phase. Past experience indicates that unless such instruments are used in connection with other approaches and based on proper research, they seldom deliver the intended results.

10.Participatory approaches and participatory communication approaches are not the same thing  

Participatory approaches and participatory communication approaches are not the same thing  and should not be used interchangeably, but they can be used together, as their functions are often complementary, especially during the research phase. Even if there are some similarities between the two types of approaches, identify communication entry points, and map out the information and communication systems that can be used later to design and implement the communication strategy.   Instead, these are all key activities carried out in a participatory communication assessment.


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