All about Development Communication

1. Introduction

1.1 Historical background of development communication

Development Communication involves the strategic use of communication for alleviation of social problems evolving societies ( wilkins, 1996).

The term ‘development communication’ was coined in 1972 by Quebral, who defines the field as: ‘the art and science of human communication applied to the speedy transformation of a country and the mass of its people from poverty to a dynamic state of economic growth that makes possible greater social equality and the larger fulfilment of the human potential” (Quebral, Nora, 2001).

This ideas implies that the development communication seem to suggest that the discourse was not just about informing or educating people to adopt new attitudes, knowledge, practices or technologies.

It implied the unpacking and uprooting of the root causes of structural inequality, marginalization, disempowerment that prevent individuals and societies from making radical changes to improve lives and welfare.

While the latter are necessary ingredients of communication, they are not sufficient for getting people to change long established practices or behaviors.

Though knowledge and information are essential for people to respond successfully to the opportunities and challenges of social, economic and technological changes; including those that help to improve agricultural productivity, food security and rural livelihoods.

According to Manyozo (2012), Development is a conflict over resources and of course, over power. From a Marxist perspective, development is a class conflict: it is about the flow and contestation of power between antagonistic classes.

The practice of development communication began in the 1940s, but its widespread application came about after World War II.

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The advent of communication sciences in the 1950s included recognition of the field as an academic discipline, led by Daniel Lerner, Wilbur Schramm and Everett Rogers. Both Childers and Quebral stressed that Development Communication includes all means of communication, ranging from mass media to person to person.

The concept was widely used as a means of communication and to facilitate social development. Policy makers establish conductive environment, assesses risks and opportunities and promotes information exchanges to create positive social change via sustainability.

According to (Ramos 1989) The concept has been used to describe Western (particularly European) economic growth since the MIDDLE AGES, as well as to explain the process through which all societies are expected to achieve certain economic, political, social, cultural, and other goals.

The outcome of World War II established the United States as the foremost political power as well. The reconstruction of Europe and the establishment of a functioning world economy became the principal objectives of U.S. foreign policy.

Then the United States decided on a program of financial and economic assistance to Europe.

Then such kinds of Cooperation were created structured in the Form on International Organization. Here while the earlier League of Nation become united nation and created many Economical and Humanitarian organization under the Organization.

So, while US start to support its friendly country after the world war II, such kinds of activity were a toll for Washington to create an important role in world political and economic environment.

The Marshall Plan was successful both in rebuilding the economies of the participating European countries and in achieving its major political goal: the ‘containment’ of the spread of communism.

This goal was first advanced with the declaration of the Truman Doctrine in March 1947 and was reaffirmed in the Point Four Program of 1949, in which Truman offered the world ‘the benefits of U.S. scientific advance and industrial progress, Whether one chooses to interpret U.S. actions as derived from humanitarian concerns, economic self-interest, or larger political considerations (i.e., confrontation with the Soviets), the offer of technical assistance and economic and financial aid Nations and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development-the United States offered the Marshall Plan, which extended financial and economic assistance in a multilateral framework of consultation and cooperation between donor and recipient countries.

The Marshall Plan was successful both in rebuilding the economies of the participating European countries and in achieving its major political goal: the ‘containment’ of the spread of communism.

1.2 The role of Human development in Economic development

The human development approach insists that the fundamental of development policy should be expanding the opportunity that people have lead meaningful lives. An economic growth is a means towards this end and not ends by itself.

The effects of economic growth on government human development expenditures are bound to complement private expenditure channels.

In fact, Anand and Ravallion (1993) find that most of the effects of economic growth on Human Development are likely to flow through government budgetary expenditures, central or local. However, the strength of this effect depends entirely on the effectiveness of expenditure targeting and delivery.

The government must identify priority sectors such as primary education and health that have the highest potential for Human Development improvement. Government expenditures for Human Development should be distributed predominantly to low income groups and areas since it is here that the highest marginal impact will be had. Government must also have the institutional capacity to efficiently allocate these expenditures.

Human development, in turn, has important effects on economic growth. If a central element of economic growth is allowing agents to discover and develop their comparative advantage, an increase in the capabilities and functioning’s available to individuals should allow more of them to pursue occupations in which they are most productive.

In this sense human development can be seen as the relaxing of constraints which may have interfered with profit maximization. Furthermore, although human development represents a broader concept, many of its elements overlap significantly with the more traditional notion of human capital. Thus, to the extent that human development is necessarily correlated with human capital and human capital affects the

Economic growth of a nation, human development is bound to have an impact on economic growth.

More specifically, each of the various components of human development is likely to have a distinct impact on economic growth. Education, for instance, has a strong effect on labor productivity. In agriculture, Birdsall (1993) uses data from Malaysia, Ghana and Peru to show that each extra year of a farmer’s schooling is associated with an annual increase in output of 2-5%. In Indonesia, Duflo (2000) estimates an increase in wages of 1.5 to 2.7% for each additional school built per 1,000 children.

In addition to its direct effect on productivity, education also affects the rate of innovation and technological improvements. Foster and Rosenzweig (1995) demonstrate that increased education is associated with faster technology adoption in Green Revolution India.

Despite substantial progress both on basic human development and on many other dimensions, there has been less progress or even regress on important dimensions, including aspects of societal wellbeing, inequalities, and above all environmental factors.

According to Frances Stewart and Emma Samman (2018) there are three challenging problems which need addressing, both through advancing theory and better policies. The first is macro-economic policies for promoting human development – currently; macro-policies tend to restrict progress, often holding back expenditures on the social sectors because of austerity policies, and generating in egalitarian growth and unsatisfactory employment outcomes.

The second problem is that of reducing inequalities, which are excessive in most parts of the world. These can undermine societal cohesion (sometimes leading to violent conflict), slow poverty reduction and weaken the sustainability of economic growth. Yet current policies tend to increase rather than reduce inequalities.

The third and most important challenge concerns environmental issues, such as climate change, which are likely greatly to weaken the human development of future generations. Here too, many policies are tending to worsen rather than improve the situation.

1.3 Dependency Theorists Argument about Problem of Developing Countries

Dependency theory attempts to explain the present underdevelopment of many nations in the world by examining the patterns of interactions among nations and by arguing that inequality among nations is an intrinsic part of those interactions.

Like of Raul prebish many dependency theorists’ argue that foreign aid and investment slow economic growth, perpetuates a dual economy for the elite and the poor, and increases income differences between the poor and the elite. And the theory stated that underdeveloped countries are not merely primitive versions of developed countries, but have unique features and structures of their own; and importantly are in the situation of being weaker member in a world market economy.

According to Sunkel (1969) Dependency can be defined as an explanation of the economic development of a state in terms of the external influence – political, economic and cultural on national development policies.

Dos Santos (1971) also Defines; dependency is an historical condition which shapes a certain structure of the world economy such that it favor’s some countries to the detriment of others and limits the development possibilities of the subordinate economics, a situation in which the economy of a certain group of countries is conditioned by the development and expansion of another economy, to which their own is subjected.

So here there are common features of these definitions. According to the theorists the international system as comprised of two sets of state, various described as dominant/ dependent, center/ periphery or metropolitan/ satellite

The dominant states are the advanced industrial nations in the organization of economic co-operation and development (OECD). The dependent states are those states of Latin America, Asia and Africa which have low per capital income GNPs and which rely heavily on the export of a single commodity for exchange earnings.

According to the dependency definition external forces are of singular importance to the economic activities within the dependent states. These external forces include multinational cooperation’s, international commodity market , Foreign assistance, Communications and any other means by which the advance industrialized countries can represent economic interest abroad. That’s why all Dependency theorists’ agreed that all that the relationship between dominant and dependent stats are dynamic because the interaction between the two sets of state tends to not only reinforce but also intensify the unequal patterns. Moreover dependency is a very deep- seated historical process, rooted in the internationalization of capitalism.

Bodenheimer ( ) Explains Latin America is today, and has been since the sixteenth century, part of an international system dominated by the now-developed nations. Latin underdevelopment is the outcome of a particular series of relationships to the international systems.

1.4 Modernization Paradigm Vs Participatory Paradigm and Third world countries practice

Modernization theory emerged in the 1950s and refers to a progressive transition from “traditional” or “underdeveloped” societies into what is considered a Western societies way of life (Dhlamini, 2014).

Participatory Theory however appeared in the late 1960’s and early 1970, as another influential and contemporary criticism to modernization. This new approach was originated from participatory theories and approaches to development communication.

Though here centralized top-down approach to communication through mass media was criticized and replaced with a relation based on two way of communication ; interpersonal contact, pluralistic form of media and participatory communication.

Modernization theory provides a highly “Eurocentric” view of development (Rice, 2012). It insists that the third world is in and remains in a state of “underdevelopment” because of its resistance and historical failure to industrialize and modernize with the rest of the world. The theory suggests that these third world countries must “catch-up” to the developed societies by adopting a modern way of life.

It states that a move from underdevelopment (primitive) to development (modern) is a necessary stage for development (Dhlamini, 2014). This transition is known as the five stages of economic growth which were developed by W.W Rostow as firstly, traditional societies which are subsistence economies with low levels of productivity, an ignorance of modern technology and an unwillingness to exploit nature; preconditions to take-off is where the state begins to develop profit systemization and an international perspective; the take-off where he describes it as an intensive growth stage where industrialization begins; the drive to maturity which is a lengthy process where improved living standards, machinery and electrical equipment are introduced and finally, the age of high mass consumption where productivity gains are distributed and urbanization begins (1960: 5).

This suggests that Rostow developed this solution for the promotion of third world modernization, where it should progress through these growth stages in order to catch-up with the first world countries,

But Many Believes that Participatory communication plays a very important role within the field of development. It is widely recognized after the failure of the modernization and the dependency paradigm. These paradigms consider development as knowledge transmission. Mass media are the main tool to convey messages from the center to the Periphery in one-way communication. These have led to a few changes of development. For this reason, the new notion based on the people-centeredness paradigm of development was presented and participatory communication is the core concept of this paradigm.

A World Bank paper by Tufte and Mefalopulos (2009, p. 17) explained that “participatory communication is an approach based on dialog, which allows the sharing of information, perceptions and opinions among the various stakeholders and thereby facilitates their empowerment, especially for those who are most vulnerable and marginalized.”

A UNICEF paper by Singhal (2001, p. 12) defined participatory communication as “a dynamic, interactional, and transformative process of dialog between people, groups, and institutions that enables people, both individually and collectively, to realize their full potential and be engaged in their own welfare.”

Therefore, participatory communication refers to two-way communication based on dialog between people, groups, and organizations, which empowers various stakeholders to equitably share and exchange information, knowledge, and experience.

The developers of the modernization paradigm assumed that the cause of the underdevelopment Originated from internal factors in each country that could be solved with the help of developed society. But while participatory paradigm enables to stimulate productive energies of people, encouraging broader participation of all people in productive process, and more equitable sharing of their Benefits; countries like South Sudan, Libya, Ethiopia and others should practice it properly in country’s political process.

Here Countries in Southern Africa like; Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia Applied the participatory paradigm for their Natural resource management.

According to ( Bessette and Rajasynderam, 1996 ) participatory approaches and grassroots communication has chosen to support NGOs practicing; these approaches with communities and coming from various development sectors: health, basic education, literacy, rural development, integration of women, etc.

While other institutions (governmental, intergovernmental, universities) may also be involved in participatory development communication activities — extension services or specific projects — it is mostly the NGOs that are most active in that domain and in need of support to pursue and reinforce their action with local communities.

In a first step, the program also chose to concentrate its activities in a specific region: West and Central Africa. A participatory methodology was subsequently implemented to guide the design of the program. Initially, nine countries were selected, in order to represent regional disparities in this region: Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Côte d’lvoire, Benin, Guinea, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon.

More than 100 NGOs from these countries were invited to take part in the process of developing the program, and 70 were visited in the nine target countries during July and August 1994. These visits enabled the identification of the region’s priorities and needs in the area of development communication and the preparation of the agenda for a regional meeting to develop the program.

1.5 The Role of Participation in Development

1.5.1 Meaning

In modern development exercise, there is a general feeling that the process of development through the implementation of projects and programmers will only acquire full meaning if the local population participates fully in their planning and implementation (Sapru, 2002). Therefore, the notion of local people’s participation in development practices that affect their lives has been gaining momentum in the process of human empowerment and development.

The importance of participation of the local people in development processes through the medium of development projects and programs have emerged and evolved overtime and space. As such, modern-day development scholars and practitioners have been advocating for the inclusion of local people’s participation in development practices. The underlying idea behind this is the belief that consideration should be given to poor people to participate in projects and programs that affect their lives.

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All about Development Communication. (2021, Apr 23). Retrieved from

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