Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Milestones in Communication and National Development

Milestones in Communication and National Development
- Several terms are used to describe the deliberate use of a social system’s communication resources to promote, support and sustain planned social change. Among the terms are communication and national development, development communication, communication and development and communication for development.
- Communication for development is the use of communication processes, techniques and media to help people toward a full awareness of their situation and their options for change, to resolve conflicts, to work toward consensus, to help people plan actions for change and sustainable development, to help people acquire the knowledge and skills they need to improve their condition and that society, and to improve the effectiveness of institutions.
- Public awareness and information campaigns, community mobilization, folk media, social marketing, entertainment-education and advocacy are among the dominant strategies being used to promote, support and sustain projects aimed at agriculture, education, the environment, family planning and reproductive health, gender equality, nutrition and public health.
- Practitioners of communication for development are engaged in projects aimed in improving the economic, political and cultural conditions of people all over the world.
- Purposive communication: the deliberate use of social system’s communication resources to encourage individual and collective movement in a preferred direction.
- Humans can speak and have languages influenced their social organization.
- Through speech and language, they could coordinate efforts to achieve common goals of the group.
- Today, the mass media, especially print, broadcasting and the internet, play important roles in the delivery of formal and informal education in many societies.

Post-World War II realities
- At the end of World War II, the human condition was bleak.
- The devastation caused by the war and the consequences of colonialism challenged the international community to do something about the unacceptable state of the human condition.
- Infant mortality rates were almost five times higher in Africa, Asia and Latin America than in Europe and the United States.
- The Marshall Plan has demonstrated the effectiveness of management in economic and social reconstruction.
- Development aid became an important item on the international relations agenda, and the development project became the primary vehicle for connecting aid with the beneficiaries.
- Industrialization was generally accepted as the engine driving progress.
- The United States and the Soviet Union sought to use its economic, military and cultural power to achieve its national interests.
- Sphere of influence refers to the ability of powerful states to impose their will on other states through economic, cultural and military means.
- The United Nations was created as a mechanism to prevent war and to coordinate the international community’s response to the global pervasiveness of poverty, want, fear, ignorance and disease in vast regions of the world.
- The UN has played a major role in the development of the field of communication for development.

What is development?
- Development is recognized as a complex, integrated, participatory process, involving stakeholders and beneficiaries and aimed at improving the overall quality of human life through improvements in a range of social sectors in an environmentally responsible manner.
- Among the challenges are the reduction and the elimination of poverty, provision of adequate housing, access to health care and lifelong education, food and nutritional sufficiency, adequate and functioning physical infrastructure, reliable transportation systems, respect of human dignity and rights.
- Development is a profound form of social change.
- An unintended consequence of the increased use of chemical fertilizers has been the pollution of water sources.
- Urban groups appeared to have benefited more than rural poor.
- Fifty years of engagement in the development arena by a number of players has led to the acceptance that development was complex, multidimensional and dialectic process that had no universal recipe.

Communication for development
- Several forces have influenced the evolution of the field of communication for development. Among these are the growth of capitalism, advances in communication technology, and the ideology rivalries between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
- Of equal importance in the evolution of the field of communication for development were the influences of changing development paradigms and advances in communication theory, especially theories of mass media effect.
- Theory in the field of communication for development has been influential in mapping the scope and nature of development challenges, guiding research methods, and supporting transformative practice.
- A paradigm is defined as an overarching body of thoughts whose core assumptions are subscribed to by all who work under its rubric.
- During the Cold War, the modernization paradigm not only guided the generation of communication theory but also influenced the foreign aid decisions of the United States and its allies.

Southern Ohio, USA
- Southern Ohio is an example of maldevelopment and the process of underdevelopment.
- In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, coal mining, mining, and logging industries fueled economic development in Southern Ohio.
- By the 1960s, most of these industries were closed, leaving in their wake unemployment, polluted watershed areas, and other manifestations of environmental degradation.
- The concepts participatory and sustainable are central to contemporary communication for development practices.
- Participation refers to the involvement of citizens/beneficiaries in defining, designing, implementing, and evaluating development interventions.
- The term sustainable development is used to describe an intervention whose outcomes are environmentally and culturally sound and can be continued by the community after the end of any resources that may have been provided by external agencies.

- Communication for development interventions is also evident in the transitional societies that have emerged since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

- Modern communication technologies are being used to create distance education systems aimed at improving access to formal education and the management of the economy.
The Caribbean Community
- Dengue and malaria are diseases induce high morbidity rates that undermine worker productivity and can make the Caribbean lass attractive as a tourist destination. Tourism is a major source of income for Caribbean nations.

The modernization model
- The literature of communication for development identifies three development paradigms that have exerted substantial influence on the field since the end of WW II: dominant paradigm (modernization model), the dependency paradigm (dependency critique), and the alternative paradigm (another participatory, or development, model)
Modernization through capitalism
- At the end of World War II, two ideas contended for dominance in the discourse on development and human progress: modernization through capitalism and communism.
- The modernization perspective held that human society progresses in a linear fashion from traditional societies to modern systems of social organization and that they will continue to do so in an evolutionary manner.
- Fatalism, or lack of self-efficacy, has also been identified as an attribute of traditional societies.
- A modern society, on the other hand, is characterized by “materialism, the dominance of capital as a form of wealth, consumerism, rational-legal authority, sub-cultural diversity, and positive evaluation of change.
- Walt Rostow and David McClelland subscribed to the idea that the cause of underdevelopment was to be found exclusively in internal factors.
- Walt Rostow identified four stages he considered necessary for progressing from a traditional to a modern society: the pre-takeoff stage, the takeoff stage, the road to maturity and the mass consumption society.
- Modernization scholars emphasized the importance of broadcasting in the development process.

- The Soviet Union and its allies promoted and supported efforts to achieve progress to revolutionary socialism.
- Information and communication had a special role in revolutionary socialist practice.
- The tensions between these two approaches influenced practices of communication for development within the international development community.

The 1980s: development support communication and project support communication
- The work done by United Nations organizations has contributed much to the field of communication.
- Communication’s role in this formulation was to accelerate the installation of the engines of modernization, especially the industrial infrastructure to facilitate economic growth.
- The development support communication (DSC) approach arose out of dissatisfaction with the ineffectiveness of many of the UN-sponsored development projects in Asia and other parts of the developing world.
- These modernization-oriented projects also failed to take into account culture and context. As a result, there was waste, dissatisfaction, and underutilization.
- UNICEF staff were actively assisting governments around the world is designing communication plans to support development.
- Development support communication interventions by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) demonstrated the essential role of communication I its projects aimed at improving food security and the empowerment of citizens, especially women and farmers.

- In the 1930s, radio in the United States and Europe was used to persuade citizens to become more educated and to consume more goods and services.
- The Voice of America in the Middle East was associated with the United States’ Soviet containment strategy.
- According to Lerner, broadcasting would serve as a psychic mobilizer, facilitating the modernizing process and preventing the adoption of Soviet ideology and practices.
- Broadcasting was key in constructing national identity and national unity.
- Broadcasting played an essential role in diffusion theory, by making the influential early adopters aware of innovation.
- The increased dependency creates the conditions that facilitate individual and collective behavioral change.
- As indicated earlier, socialists held similar ideas about human progress. They contended, however, that capitalism had deformed and derailed human progress, resulting in human exploitation.
- Developing nations that had followed the modernization route had demonstrated marginal improvements in meeting the basic needs of their citizens.
The dependency critique
- The critique of modernization emerged from two intellectual sources: “one rooted in neo-Marxism, or structuralism; the other, in the extensive Latin American debate on development associated with the U.N’ Economic Commission for Latin America”
- Dependency theorists demonstrated that the existing pattern of global economic relations, one dominated by the industrialized north, was contributing the underdevelopment of the developing regions of the world.
- There are encouraging demands for lifestyles that could not be provided by economy.
- The broadcasting systems were undermining development, a phenomenon that Howard Frederick has termed development sabotage communication.
- The dependency critique of the modernization sharpened two essential ideas for communication and development practitioners: the importance of the programming of broadcasting in development; and the importance of participation, not only for achieving a development project goal but also as a crucial element in nurturing democratic practices.
Another development

- This new perspective on development was initially articulated in Sweden and has three fundamental pillars: development should strive to eradicate poverty and satisfy basic human needs, priority should be given to “self-reliant and endogenous change processes,” and development should be environmentally responsible.
Contemporary strategies in Communication for development

- Exciting new strategies in communication for development have emerged over the past three decades.
- Public awareness campaigns, social marketing, entertainment education, and advocacy have been effective in communication for development projects.
- These theory-driven strategies all subscribe to systematic planning: formative research, project design, pretesting of materials, implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
Public Awareness campaigns

- Public awareness campaigns systematically draw upon the power of the mass media, especially broadcasting, to create awareness in societies about the development intervention.
Social marketing

- Social marketing is the application of commercial marketing ideas to promote and to deliver pro-social interventions.
Entertainment education

- Entertainment education has been defined as the systematic embedding of pro-social educational messages in popular entertainment formats.

- When stakeholders and beneficiaries in the development process promote the interventions by reporting on their positive experiences and benefits, the credibility of communication increases.

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