Development communication

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See also Communication for social change

Development communication refers to the use of communication to facilitate social development.[1] Development communication engages stakeholders and policy makers, establishes conducive environments, assesses risks and opportunities and promotes information exchanges to bring about positive social change via sustainable development.[2] Development communication techniques include information dissemination and education, behavior change, social marketing, social mobilization, media advocacy, communication for social change and community participation.

Development communication has been labeled the "Fifth Theory of the Press," with "social transformation and development," and "the fulfillment of basic needs" as its primary purposes.[3] Jamias articulated the philosophy of development communication which is anchored on three main ideas, namely: purposive, value-laden and pragmatic.[4] Nora C. Quebral expanded the definition, calling it "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."[5] Melcote and Steeves saw it as "emancipation communication", aimed at combating injustice and oppression.[6] The term "development communication" is sometimes used to refer to a type of marketing and public opinion research, but that is not the topic of this article.[citation needed]

    • Definitions **

Nora Cruz-Quebral, Ph.D., in the lecture she delivered for an Honorary Doctorate at the London School of Economics, University of London in December 2011, clearly accounted that development communication was first articulated on December 10, 1971 at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos (UPLB). At that time, the UPLB College of Agriculture held a symposium (in honor of Dr. Dioscoro L. Umali, a national scientist in the area of plant breeding) titled, "In Search of Breakthroughs in Agricultural Development" [7]

A recent and more encompassing definition of development communication states that it is:

...the art and science of human communication linked to a society's planned transformation from a state of poverty to one dynamic socio-economic growth that makes for greater equality and the larger unfolding of individual potentials.[8]

Erskine Childers defined it as:

Development support communications is a discipline in development planning and implementation in which more adequate account is taken of human behavioural factors in the design of development projects and their objectives.[9]

According to the World Bank, development communication is the "integration of strategic communication in development projects" based on a clear understanding of indigenous realities.[10]

In addition, the UNICEF[11] views it as:

"...a two-way process for sharing ideas and knowledge using a range of communication tools and approaches that empower individuals and communities to take actions to improve their lives." The Thusong government center described it as "providing communities with information they can use in bettering their lives, which aims at making public programmes and policies real, meaningful and sustainable"[12]

Bessette (2006) defined development communication as a "planned and systematic application of communication resources, channels, approaches and strategies to support the goals of socio–economic, political and cultural development".[13]:42 Development communication is essentially participatory, because, according to Ascroft and Masilela (1994) "participation translates into individuals being active in development programmes and processes; they contribute ideas, take initiative and articulate their needs and their problems, while asserting their autonomy."[13]

Who are development communicators? What qualities do they possess? Nora C. Quebral[14] gave a succinct characterization:

1. They understand the process of development, the process of communication, and the environment in which the two processes interact.

2. They are knowledgeable in communication skills and techniques as well as proficient in subject matter to be communicated.

3. They have internalized the values inherent in equity and the unfolding of individual potential.

4. They have firsthand knowledge of the several kinds of end-users of development communication.

5. They have a sense of commitment, the acceptance of individual responsibility for advancing human development.

Conceptual Limits of Development Communications Theory

According to Felstehausen (1973), conventional theoretical assumptions are drawn from development communications research and are challenged on the grounds that as theoretical concepts they are inadequate guides to the selection of data and the resolution of development problems. The first conceptual fallacy results from the regular practice of choosing operational examples and analogies from the experiences of developed rather than underdeveloped countries. This is especially evident in terms of a bias favoring technology (especially U.S. technology) as a correlate to communication phenomena and as a solution to development problems. The second fallacy results from the use of inappropriate and frequently untested theoretical models within communication research causing a distorted view of the role of communication in relation to social and behavioral systems. The first issue is argued by presenting a review of empirical studies which show that communication processes and the adoption of new technology does not go on apart from the factors which define the behavior of the social, economic and political system. Correlational analyses are of little value in explaining communication processes, or in establishing their role in relation to development. The second issue is addressed by suggesting that communication be viewed as part of a social interaction theory in which communication is treated as a process which unveils and transforms reality in the exchange of information among persons. Communication can be defined as a process of accumulating and integrating intelligence. This reformulation shifts the research focus from questions of how communication functions to change persons (senders or receivers), to how it functions to change and transform ideas. Concepts, ideas, interests and positions can then be used as the primary units of analysis.[15]


Development communication policy covers formal and informal processes where interests are defined, expressed and negotiated by actors with different levels of power and with the goal of influencing policy decisions.[16]

Alexander G. Flor, Ph.D., a noted development communicator and professor at the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), posits that development communication and the policy sciences are linked inextricably albeit distinct and mutually exclusive disciplines. "Policy sciences," he states in a nutshell, is the scientific study of policies and policy making while "policy" is the set of decisions with specific objectives and target audience.[17]

Development support communication

Development support communication (DSC) is development planning and implementation that accounts for human behavioral factors in the design of development projects. DSC links stakeholders involved in development such as politicians, administrators, consumers and others. Communication channels include vertical (flowing from government to individuals and the reverse) and horizontal between the institutions and personnel connected with the development process.[citation needed]

DSC attempts to communicate the latest skills, knowledge and innovation to agriculturists to increase their output. Target groups include innovation or knowledge producers, political/government leaders and agriculturists.

Collaboration is necessary among the three groups. (Phazcom 26.02.09.)

International communication

International communication, the intellectual field that deals with issues of mass communication at a global level, is sometimes also called development communication. This field includes the history of the telegraph, submarine communication cables, shortwave or international broadcasting, satellite television, and global flows of mass media. Today it includes issues of the Internet in a global perspective and the use of new technologies such as mobile phones.[18]


The practice of development communication began in the 1940s, but widespread application came about after World War II. 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 DC includes all means of communication, ranging from mass media to person to person.

According to Quebral (1975), the most important feature of Philippines-style development communications is that the government is the "chief designer and administrator of the master (development) plan wherein, development communication, in this system then is purposive, persuasive, goal-directed, audience-oriented, and interventionist by nature."[19]

Academic schools

Various schools of development communication arose in response to challenges and opportunities in individual countries. Manyozo (2006) broke the field into six schools. The "Bretton Woods" school was originally dominant in international literature. The others were the Latin American, Indian, African, Los Baños and participatory schools.[10]

Catholic social change

While not per se an academic school, the Church has been conducting "development communication" for many decades. The Catholic Church’s social teachings and moral norms parallel those of social development. Rerum novarum (On the New Things), for example, an encyclical written in 1891 by Pope Leo XIII critiqued social ills and promoted "the Catholic doctrine on work, the right to property, the principle of collaboration instead of class struggle as the fundamental means for social change, the rights of the weak, the dignity of the poor and the obligations of the rich, the perfecting of justice through charity, on the right to form professional associations"[20]In 1961, Pope John XXIII, writing on the topic "Christianity and Social Progress," produced an encyclical entitledMater et magistra (Mother and Teacher), which taught that the "Church is called in truth, justice and love to cooperate in building with all men and women an authentic communion. In this way economic growth will not be limited to satisfying men's needs, but it will also promote their dignity".[21] Then in 1967, Pope Paul VI published Populorum Progressio(Progressive Development). In it the Pope underscored the importance of justice, peace and development by declaring that "development is the new name of peace." Addressing development workers, he said, "genuine progress does not consist in wealth sought for personal comfort or for its own sake; rather it consists in an economic order designed for the welfare of the human person, where the daily bread that each man receives reflects the glow of brotherly love and the helping hand of God".[22]

Pope John VI wrote that the Church's very nature was missionary (Lumen gentium - Light of the Nations), and its deepest identity (Evangelii nuntiandi- Sharing the Gospel)[23] embracing the entire life of the Church (Redemptoris missio - Mission of the Redeemer).[24] The content communicated through mission is transformative and liberating—manifested in the message to the poor, setting the captives free, giving sight to the blind (Luke 4:18), defending the interest of ordinary laborers and the value of work (Laborem exercens - Through Work),[25] promoting the welfare of the widows and the orphans and protecting the rights of children and infants (Pacem in terris - Peace on Earth).[26]

The importance of engagement for social transformation and development is also asserted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states that "as far as possible citizens should take an active part in public life; the manner of this participation may vary from one country or culture to another… as with any ethical obligation, the participation of all in realizing the common good calls for a continually renewed conversion of the social partners (pp. 1915-1916). Moreover, Gaudium et spes (Joy and Hope), commonly referred to as the Magna Carta of the Catholic Church’s teaching on human dignity states, "to satisfy the demands of justice and equity, strenuous efforts must be made, without disregarding the rights of persons or the natural qualities of each country, to remove as quickly as possible the immense economic inequalities which now exist and in many cases are growing and which are connected with individual and social discrimination".[27]

The involvement of many organizations and individual members of the Catholic Church in highlighting the plight of the needy and reaching out to the disadvantaged through works in education, health, livelihood projects, among others, serves as a concrete example of a Church that communicates a transformative and life-changing message.[28]

The Church advocates “establishing new relationships in human society, under the mastery and guidance of truth, justice, charity and freedom—relations between individual citizens, between citizens and their respective States, between States, and finally between individuals, families, intermediate associations and States on the one hand, and the world community on the other.”[26] Pope John Paul II, touching in part on Quebral’s (2007) thought on ‘development communication in a borderless world’,[29] instructed Christian communicators to “interpret modern cultural needs, committing themselves to approaching the communications age not as a time of alienation and confusion, but as a valuable time for the quest for the truth and for developing communion between persons and peoples."[30]

Bretton Woods

The Bretton Woods school of development communication paralleled the economic strategies outlined in the Marshall Plan, the Bretton Woods system and of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in 1944.[10][31] The little-used name served to differentiate the original paradigm from other schools that evolved later.[32] Leading theorists included Daniel Lerner, Wilbur Schramm and Everett Rogers. Due to his pioneering influence, Rogers was termed the "father of development communication".[citation needed]

This approach to development communication was criticized by Latin American researchers such as Luis Ramiro Beltan and Alfonso Gumucio Dagron, because it emphasized problems in the developing nation rather than its unequal relation with developed countries. They claimed that it proposed industrial capitalism as a universal solution and that many projects failed to address obstacles such as lack of access to land, agricultural credits and fair market prices.[citation needed]

Failed projects in the 1960s led to revisions.[clarification needed] Manyozo found that the school had been the most dynamic in testing and adopting new approaches and methodologies. (Manyozo, 2006) [10]

Institutions associated with the Bretton Woods school of development communication include:

Latin America

The Latin American school of development communication predates the Bretton Woods school, emerging in the 1940s with the efforts of Colombia's Radio Sutatenza and Bolivia's Radios Mineras. They pioneered participatory and educational approaches to empowering the marginalised. In effect, they served as the earliest models for participatory broadcasting efforts around the world.[citation needed]

In the 1960s Paolo Freire's theories of critical pedagogy and Miguel Sabido's enter-educate method became important elements of the Latin American development communication school.[33][34]

Other influential theorists include Juan Diaz Bordenave, Luis Ramiro Beltran, and Alfonso Gumucio Dagron (Manyozo 2006, Manyozo, 2005).[10][32]

In the 1990s, technological advances facilitated social change and development: new media outlets emerged, cable TV reached more regions and the growth of local communication firms paralleled the growth of major media corporations.[35]


Organized development communication in India began with rural radio broadcasts in the 1940s. Broadcasts adopted indigenous languages to reach larger audiences.[citation needed]

Organized efforts in India started with community development projects in the 1950s. The government, guided by socialist ideals and politicians, started many development programs. Field publicity was employed for person-to-person communication. Radio played an important role in reaching the masses because literacy was low. Educational institutions - especially agricultural universities, through their extension networks - and international organizations under the United Nations umbrella experimented with development communication.[citation needed]

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) relied on close inter-personal relations among communicators.[citation needed]

Communication from the government was more generic and unidirectional. So-called Public Information Campaigns were government-sponsored public fairs in remote areas that presented entertainment along with information on social and developmental schemes. Villagers engaged in competitions to attract attendees. Public and private organizations sponsored stalls in the main exhibition area. Development agencies and service/goods providers also attended. Some state governments employed this model.[citation needed]

Community radio was used in rural India. NGOs and educational institutions created local stations to broadcast information, advisories and messages on development. Local participation was encouraged. Community radio provided a platform for villagers to publicize local issues, offering the potential to elicit action from local officials.[citation needed]

The widespread adoption of mobile telephony in India created new channels for reaching the masses.[36]


The African school of development communication sprang from the continent's post-colonial and communist movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Anglophone Africa employed radio and theatre for community education, adult literacy, health and agricultural education (Kamlongera, 1983, Mlama, 1971).[10][32]

In 1994 the FAO project "Communication for Development in Southern Africa" was a pioneer in supporting and enhancing development projects and programs through the use of participatory communication. The FAO project, placed under SADC, developed an innovative methodology known as Participatory Rural Communication Appraisal (PRCA), which combined participatory tools and techniques with a strong communication focus needed to enhance projects results and sustainability. FAO and SADC published a handbook on PRCA that was used in projects around the world.[citation needed]

Radio maintained a strong presence in research and practice into the 21st century. Radio was especially important in rural areas, as the work of the non-governmental organization Farm Radio International and its members across sub-Saharan Africa demonstrated. Knowledge exchange between development partners such as agricultural scientists and farmers were mediated through rural radio (Hambly Odame, 2003).


Systematic study and practice began at the University of the Philippines Los Baños in the 1970s, through the establishment of the Department of Development Communication in the College of Agriculture,[37] which offered undergraduate and master's degrees.[38]

Quebral coined the term "development communication" while at the university's Office of Extension and Publications, now the College of Development Communication (CDC).[37][38] According to Felix Librero, the term was first used by Quebral in her 1971 paper, "Development Communication in the Agricultural Context," presented in at a symposium at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. In her paper, Quebral argued that development communication had become a science, requiring the tasks associated with communicating development oriented issues be based on scientific inquiry. At the time the field was limited to agricultural and rural development.[39]

At the time the term 'development support communication' was used in UNDP programmes under Erskine Childers, with coauthor and wife, Malicca Vajrathron.[citation needed] This area of research focused on the functions of communication in promoting UN agricultural and development programmes. Development communication at Los Baños became an academic field rather than a techniques program.[40] Quebral cited Seers's definition of development in arguing for the term, as opposed to Childer’s 'development support communication', which was used in public and in scientific literature for the first time. Librero recounted that colleagues in agricultural communications in Los Baños agreed with Quebral, but colleagues from the field of mass communication in the University of the Philippines Diliman, and from countries in North America, did not initially agree, although they ultimately relented.[citation needed]

In 1993, in the Institute of Development Communication's faculty papers series, Alexander Flor proposed expanding the definition of development communication to include the perspective of cybernetics and general systems theory:

If information counters entropy and societal breakdown is a type of entropy, then there must be a specific type of information that counters societal entropy. The exchange of such information – be it at the individual, group, or societal level – is called development communication.[41]

Participatory development communication

The evolution of the participatory development communication school involved collaboration between First World and Third World development communication organizations. It focused on community involvement in development efforts and was influenced by Freirean critical pedagogy and the Los Baños school (Besette, 2004).[10][32]

World Bank

The World Bank actively promotes this field through its Development Communication division and published the Development Communication Sourcebook in 2008, a resource addressing the history, concepts and practical applications of this discipline.[42]

Development Communication or Communication for Development

World Bank tends to espouse and promote the title Development Communication while UNICEF takes on Communication Development. The difference seems to be a matter of semantics and not ideology since the end goals of these global organizations are almost identical each other.

UNICEF explains: Communication for Development (C4D) goes beyond providing information.It involves understanding people, their beliefs and values, the social and cultural norms that shape their lives. It includes engaging communities and listening to adults and children as they identify problems, propose solutions and act upon them. Communication for development is seen as a two-way process for sharing ideas and knowledge using a range of communication tools and approaches that empower individuals and communities to take actions to improve their lives. [43]

World Bank defines Development Communication as an interdisciplinary field, is based on empirical research that helps to build consensus while it facilitates the sharing of knowledge to achieve a positive change in the development initiative. It is not only about effective dissemination of information but also about using empirical research and two-way communications among stakeholders (Development Communication division, the World Bank)[42]


  • One of the first examples of development communication was Farm Radio Forums in Canada. From 1941 to 1965 farmers met weekly to listen to radio programs, supplemented by printed materials and prepared questions to encourage discussion. At first this was a response to the Great Depression and the need for increased food production in World War II. Later the Forums dealt with social and economic issues. This model of adult education or distance education was later adopted in India and Ghana.[citation needed]
  • Radyo DZLB was the community broadcasting station of UPLB College of Development Communication. It was a forerunner of the school-on-air (SOA) concept that provided informal education for farmers. DZLB hosted SOAs on nutrition, pest management and cooperatives.[44] DZLB aired educational programming for farmers and cooperatives.
  • Established in 2009, Global South Development Magazine has been a recent example of development communication in practice.
  • Instructional television was used in El Salvador during the 1970s to improve primary education. One problem was a lack of trained teachers. Teaching materials were improved to make them more relevant. More children attended school and graduation rates increased.[citation needed]
  • In the 1970s in Korea the Planned Parenthood Federation succeed in lowering birth rates and improving life in villages such as Oryu Li. It mainly used interpersonal communication in women's clubs. Oryu Li's success did not recur in all villages. The initial effort had the advantage of a remarkable local leader and visits from the provincial governor.[citation needed]
  • A social marketing project in Bolivia in the 1980s tried to get women in the Cochabamba Valley to use soybeans 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. Some people tried soybeans but the outcome of the project was unclear.[citation needed]
  • In 1999 the US and DC Comics planned to distribute 600,000 comic books to children affected by the Kosovo War. The books were in Albanian and featured Superman and Wonder Woman. The aim was 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 and not to move, but instead to call an adult for help.[citation needed]
  • Since 2002, Journalists for Human Rights, a Canadian NGO, has operated projects in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. JHR works directly with journalists, providing monthly workshops, student sessions, on the job training and additional programs on a country by country basis.[citation needed]


Development communication is intended to build consensus and facilitate knowledge sharing to achieve positive change in development initiatives. It disseminates information and employs empirical research, two-way communication and dialogue among stakeholders. It is a management tool to help assess socio-political risks and opportunities. By using communication to bridge differences and take action towards change, development communication can lead to successful and sustainable results.[45]

Development communication is a response to historic, social and economic factors that limit access to information and citizen participation. These include poverty and unemployment, limited access to basic services, remote settlement patterns, lack of access to technology, lack of information, inadequate health services, lack of education and skills and lack of infrastructure.[46]

FAO asserted that communication can play a decisive role in promoting human development. Democracy, decentralization and the market economy empower individuals and communities to control their own destinies. Stimulating awareness, participation, and capabilities is vital. Policies must encourage effective planning and implementation of communication programs.[47]

Lee advocated that communication policies and practices require joint action among leaders in social, economic, scientific, educational and foreign affairs and that success requires constant contact and consultation with communicators and citizens.[48]

UNESCO conducted studies on communication policies as part of the resolutions adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO during its 16th session in 1970.[49] Its objective was to promote awareness of communication policies at the governmental, institutional and professional levels of selected member states.[50] The selected countries were Ireland,[51] Sweden,[52] Hungary,[53] Yugoslavia,[54] West Germany,[55] and Brazil.[56] Two years later, a UNESCO meeting of experts on communication policies and planning defined communication policy as a set of norms established to guide the behavior of communication media.[57] According to these experts, the scope of communication policies comprises:[58]

  • The values that determine the structure of communication systems and guide their operation
  • The systems of communication, their structures, and operation
  • The output of these systems and their impact and social functions

The Asian Media Information and Communication Centre (AMIC[59]) was commissioned by UNESCO to do a feasibility study on "Training in Communication Planning in Asia" in 1974.[60] It organized the first AMIC Regional Conference on Development Communication Policies and Planning in Manila, Philippines in May 1977. Attended by delegates from ten countries, it drew up basic recommendations including the organization of national development communication councils by each country's governmental, educational and media groups.[61]

According to Habermann and De Fontgalland, the difficulties in the adoption of a viable development communication policy have to be simultaneously analyzed horizontally and vertically. Horizontally government agencies, semi-governmental offices (e.g., rural extension service), independent development organizations and private media outlets must coordinate policy. Vertically, information must flow in both directions between the population base and decision-making bodies. This involves local and supra-local administrations that are active in handing out directives and reporting back to the government. Commonly, default policies do not encourage/require such institutions to feed information from the populace to policymakers, with the exception of government extension bureaus.[62]

In 1986 Quebral stressed the importance of equally recognizing systematic practice along with formal research as a legitimate basis for decisions. According to her, research must precede and become the foundation of policy.[63]

Stakeholder analysis

The design and implementation of policies is becoming more complex, and the number and type of actors involved in policy implementation more diverse;[64] hence, the policy process is evolving towards multi-actor and multi-goal situations.[65] "Stakeholder" has been variously defined according to the goal of the analysis, the analytic approach or the policy area. Where several groups of stakeholders are involved in the policy process, a stakeholder analysis can provide a useful resource.

Stakeholder analysis can help analyze the behavior, intentions, interrelations, agendas, interests and the resources of stakeholders in the policy processes.[64] Crosby described stakeholder analysis as offering methods and approaches to analyze the interests and roles of key players. Hannan and Freeman include groups or individual who can affect or be affected by the achievement of the organization's objectives, while others exclude those who cannot influence the outcome. For instance, Brugha and Varvasovszky defined stakeholder as "individuals, groups, and organizations who have an interest (stake) and the potential to influence the actions and aims of an organization, project, or policy direction."[64] According to Flor,[66] a stakeholder analysis of communication policy would reveal the interplay of the following sectors:

  • Government - Enacts all communication policies, making it the most powerful stakeholder.
  • Education sector - Conducts research that underlies subsequent policies.
  • Communication industry - Influences communication policies. May adopt self-regulation to avoid/delay government regulation. For example, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas and the Philippine Press Institute institute ethics codes.
  • Private sector - Avoid policies that limit content and to protect themselves from opponents.
  • Religious sector - Traditionally opposes policies that allow obscenity, violence and profanity to be distributed.
  • Foreign interests - e.g., international lending agencies may demand the end of monopolies—including state media entities—as a condition for financial aid.
  • Consumers - Traditionally not consulted, but more recently claiming to protect the public interest.

The United Nations has recognised the importance of "the need to support two-way communication systems that enable dialogue and that allow communities to express their aspirations and concerns and participate in decisions...."[67] Such two-way interactions can help expose local reality.[68] Keune and Sinha claim that community involvement in development communication policy is important, as they are the "ultimate and perhaps the most important beneficiaries of development communication policies and planning".[69]

Historical perspectives

Cuilenburg and McQuail (2003) identify three main phases of communications policy-making:[70]

  • Emerging Communications Industry Policy (until the Second World War)—during this era, communications policy mainly supported state and corporate benefits. Policy covered telegraph, telephony and wireless and later, cinema. Policies were ad hoc measures designed to facilitate a series of technical innovations.[70]
  • Public Service Media Policy (1945-1980)—After the Second World War, policy was dominated by sociopolitical rather than economic and national strategic concerns. This phase began after the Second World War. Policy expanded from addressing technical matters to the content of communications and to cover the traditional press.[70]
  • New Communications Policy Paradigm (1980 to present)—Technological, economic and social trends fundamentally changed media policy from 1980 onward. Technological convergence became an agenda item when the US Office of Technology Assessment published its pioneering study, Critical Connections (OTA, 1990) followed by the European Union (CEC, 1997). "Convergence" meant that the boundaries between information technologies blurred: computer and telecommunications converged to telematics; personal computers and television become more similar; and formerly separated networks become interconnected. Regulation of mass media became increasingly linked to telecommunications regulation. Globalization and the permeability of national frontiers by multinational media limited the impact of policy in most countries.[70]


Development communication policy as a field experienced persistent conflict.[71] Debates operated within the discourse of each period: autonomous vs. dependent in the 50s;[clarification needed] unequal North-South communication flows in the 60s and 70s; transnational corporations and non-governmental actors in the 80s; the converged global information society and the market-based media structure in the 90s; and online media and the digital divide in the 2000s.[citation needed]


Hamelink and Nordenstreng called for multistakeholder participation in Information and Communications Technology(ICT) governance and for formal and informal policy development mechanisms to enable state and non-state actors to shape the media and communication industries.[72]

Funding agency bias

Manyozo advocated a rethinking of communication for development policies, perceiving a failure by communication policy makers to identify funding institutions that encourage cultural imperialism and unequal power relations between Western and local organizations. He attributed this to the absence in communication policy debates of a political economy discourse.[73] In reviewing the different approaches to communication for development policies –media, participation and community dialogue – Manyozo criticizes groups that emphasizes one over the others.[74]

Risk communication

Risk communication originated in the United States where environmental clean-up efforts were implemented through legislation. The terms ‘risk communications’ and ‘risk management’ were first used by William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the U.S. 'Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which was established in the 1970s.[75] Risk communication includes management decision risks, implementation risks and risks related to existing environmental, health, political, or social circumstances. For instance, in the health sector, risk communication addresses pandemics, natural disasters, bioterrorism, resource contamination, etc.[76] Definitions of "risk" include:

  • "The identification and analysis, either qualitative or quantitative, of the likelihood of the occurrence of a hazardous event overexposure, and the severity of injury or illness that may be caused by it."—American National Standard for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems (ANSI/AIHA Z10 - 2005 ): "[77]
  • "...the probability that a substance or situation will produce harm under specified conditions. Risk is a combination of two factors: (1) the probability that an adverse event will occur and (2) the consequences of the adverse event."—The Framework for Environmental Health Risk Management (Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment and Risk Management, 1997 ): [77]
  • "...the probability (or likelihood) that a harmful consequence will occur as a result of an action."—The Safety Professionals Handbook (Fields 2008 ):[77]

Risk management was described as:

  • The evaluations and decisions that go into coping with risks (Lundgren and McMakin, 2004)[78]
  • Planning for a crisis, which should involve the removal of risks and allow an organization, a society, or a system adequate control [79](Fearn-Banks, 2007)[78] and
  • Factors that combat crises with the objective of minimizing damage.(Combs, 1999)[78]

Risk communications involves important information for managing risks, both from authorities to those at risk and vice versa.[80]

Development communication benefits from risk communications when the latter clarifies the risks of development (or lack thereof).

Development Communication Policy Science

Development communication policy science is a thriving and a contemporary field in social sciences. According to Alexander G. Flor, Ph.D., "development communication and policy sciences are generally regarded as distinct and mutually exclusive areas of study." In his work, Development Communication and the Policy Sciences," Flor states that development communication and the policy sciences stem from the same rationale although they are different in scope. Both of them, he says, endorse a normative or prescriptive role for the social sciences.

Flor thus proposes the creation of a nationwide media consumers' organization where policy analysts play a significant role in order to enhance the participation of information users in policy making. This organization, Flor believes, could initiate media education in the formal and nonformal modes, and conduct its own audience studies and policy research.

Policy sciences

The notion of "policy sciences" is construed in various shades. In fact, its concept was crystallized by Harold D. Lasswell in 1943. Over several decades Lasswell and his collaborators refined through practice and peer review the intellectual tools needed to support problem-oriented, contextual, and multi-method inquiry in the service of human dignity for all.[81] Harold Laswell (1971), for instance, explicated that policy sciences are concerned with the knowledge and the decision processes of the public and civic order.[82] Knowledge of decision processes points to the empirical and scientific understanding of how policies are made and executed. Empirical knowledge pertains to those generated through scientific inquiry and observation as applied to decision processes.

The policy sciences provide an integrated and comprehensive approach for addressing issues and problems at all levels in ways that help clarify and secure the common interest. Policy sciences are concerned in helping people make better decisions toward fostering human dignity for all. Since we are living in a "turbulent field" environment as cited by Flor, policy science is in need to address issues before it will get bigger. The approach of Policy Sciences[83] as cited by Flor in his article is forward looking or anticipatory. Policy sciences tell us what do we need to do and prepare before certain issue or problem occurs. Furthermore, another characteristics of Policy Sciences is its interdisciplinary and holistic nature. It does consider several variables (education, communication, money, culture) in coming up with a decision.These variables are important fctors in coming up with a policy.

The term “policy sciences,” in its plural form, emphasizes an interdisciplinary nature.[84] It recognizes the multiplicity of factors affecting certain problems and multidimensions of certain phenomena that are subject to decision processes.[85] As such, the emphasis of policy sciences is on applying scientific or empirical evidences in understanding problems so that more realistic, responsive and effective interventions are identified and implemented. Since a problem is multidimensional, various scientific disciplines are needed to form a comprehensive analysis of a certain phenomenon.

In the context of communication policy development, therefore, policy sciences are necessary to make more responsive communication policies. Lasswell and McDougal [79] called on "policy scientists to aid decision makers in clarifying goals, identifying trends relative to goals, analyzing the factors causing or contributing to specific trends, projecting the future, and inventing and evaluating policy proposals—alternative actions that may be taken related to the desired results." To ensure that policy scientists would be adequately equipped for these intellectual tasks, Lasswell and McDougal proposed educational training programs devoted to the knowledge and skills needed for better policy (decision) making: contextual comthinking, problem orientation, and mastery of diverse methods.[79]

The trend toward a policy sciences viewpoint - contextual, problem-oriented, multi-method - is a move away from fragmentation.[82] Too often, a differentiated approach is permitted to degenerate into a fragmented "worm's eye view" of policy matters.[82] When properly linked with law and jurisprudence, political theory and philosophy, the new instruments of policy analysis and management provide tools of unpreceded versatility and effectiveness.[82] Even an abbreviated list indicates the extraordinary richness of contemporary innovations: operations research, linear and dynamic programming,program budgeting, cost-benefit analysis, systems analysis, forecasting (Delphi and other techniques), computer simulation and gaming, sensitivity training, "brainstorming",decision seminar techniques, social accounting, prototyping.[82]


The atmosphere of participation created by recent administrations has brought about a more significant role for the development communication specialist/ policy scientist. His involvement in communication policy making is facilitated by the so-called institutionalization of people power. His expertise may be directly tapped by the most important stakeholder, the media consumer. The participation of information users and media consumers in policy making may be realized by the formation of a nationwide media consumer’s organization or a federation of local organizations of this nature in which policy analysts play a significant role. This proposed organization could initiate media education in the formal and non-formal modes. Media education at the formal level may be facilitated by lobbying for the inclusion of such in existing secondary and tertiary curricula. Nonformal education may be conducted through media consumer sponsored awareness campaigns. This organization could also conduct its own audience related studies and policy research. It could establish a nationwide[89] network involving the church, academic communities, grassroots organizations and cause-oriented groups. Communication policy scientists may also serve as part of the staff of our legislators in the Congress and Senate. In their private capacities, they can form research and development outfits or "think tanks" whose services may be availed of by government agencies. Indeed, now is a fortuitous time for policy engagement in development communication.

Development Communication Policy Science and Gender

Along with integrating regional, national, and/or organizational perspectives, one specific tool for policymakers is ensuring that gender perspective is incorporated into policies. Regardless whether gender plays a central role in a development communication policy, the policymaking process has to be taken in a deliberate way to address concerns of both women and men. When views of different groups of women and men in policy formation and delivery are taken accordingly, misjudging of the different effects on each group, and the systems and organizations that support them can be avoided.[87]

In a quest to ensure that the overall legal and policy framework is promoting gender equality, more than just adopting laws that explicitly provide for gender equality can be done. Thus it is essential that all laws and policies reflect gender equality considerations, through a process called gender mainstreaming. Gender mainstreaming is the mechanism to ensure a gender-sensitive approach to policy making.[88]

Gender mainstreaming, according to the United Nations, is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities - policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects. A strong, continued commitment to gender mainstreaming is one of the most effective means for the United Nations to support promotion of gender equality at all levels - in research, legislation, policy development and in activities on the ground, and to ensure that women as well as men can influence, participate in and benefit from development efforts.[89]

United Nations Children’s Fund or UNICEF also promotes gender sensitivity in its policies. UNICEF gender review ensures that gender is mainstreamed in all UNICEF’s projects and programs as well as in its work with partners. UNICEF also ensures that the monitoring and evaluation tools are gender sensitive and that every staff is aware of the UN Code of conduct. UNICEF also uses the Harmonized Gender and Development Guidelines (HGAD) as a tool to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the development and implementation of projects.[90]

Selected Approaches to Communication Planning for Policy Development[91]

UNESCO or the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization is one of the multilateral organizations that uses communication planning for policy development. In one of its publications back in 1980 "Approaches to Communication Planning," where it presents some of the most common approaches that scholars, planners and professionals to use. Below are common approaches to communication planning.

The Process Approach[91]

The Process approach deals directly with the communication planning process which deals to the theories within the planning process that asserts that planning is the application of theory on how and why they are used. (UNESCO, 1980) The second is it deals with the planning process itself that provide alternative ways of organizing the planning function and process, given different purposes and planning contexts. (UNESCO, 1980) The thrust of the argument is that there are alternatives to the widely known rational/comprehensive planning approach. (UNESCO, 1980)

The Systems Approach[91]

The Systems approach in communication planning deals on how to establish new systems within organizations. (UNESCO, 1980) This approach is valuable to planners faced with the task of setting up organizational systems to carry out communication functions. (UNESCO, 1980) This approach can also be best applied to problems in the environment, providing planners with an analytical perspective on problem analysis and a range of techniques to use in implementing this perspective. (UNESCO, 1980)

The Process Approach [92]

Communication policy makers are not acting in isolation; they had the full support of scientist and theorists. Communication for Development aims at upholding change in people’s attitudes and behavior so as to increase their participation in the development process. Rogers ‘diffusion of innovations theory is perhaps the most influential theory in the modernization paradigm. The diffusion model gained wide currency in most developing nations and still looms large with the agenda to support ‘development’ by “informing the populations about the development projects, illustrating their advantages and recommending that they be supported” (Servaes, 1996). Communication within the modernization approach is synonymous to information and ignores the importance of feedback in the communication process. Melkote and Steeves (2001) contributed three key qualities of modernization theory and practice: blaming the victim, Social Darwinism, and sustaining class structure of inequality. (1) Blaming the victim is an ideological process, an almost painless circumvention among policy-makers and intellectual all over the world. It is a process of justifying inequality in society by finding defects in the victims of inequality. The policymakers simply blame the despondent lives led by the poor in Third World countries and it is being attributed to the lack of motivation and access to information relating to the various social and economic aspects that they need in order to redeem themselves. (2) Social Darwinists believed that government interventions on behalf of the poor would have disastrous results since they would interfere with the laws of natural selection. The theorist believed that outside interventions to address matters concerning the poor would have dreadful results since these would be interfering with a natural course of events and individual choices and rights. (3) Sustaining class structure of inequality, this is a capitalist interest and quite difficult to overcome. The effect of a focus on individual level cultural deficiencies has been to sustain the status quo within and between unequal societies and thus delay change.

Policy Life Cycle[93]

Government official and policy makers in industrialized and developing countries are often confronted with problems for which they have no design solutions (Servaes, Jacobson and White, 1996). Every problem, country and culture requires a specific approach and seems to go through policy life cycle. Winsemius proposed four phases of policy cycle; Phase 1: Recognizing the problem; groups in the society such as government official, lobbyists and countries’ leaders recognize the problem, e.g. terrorism, poverty, global warming, and other. The problem is made known to all stakeholders, during this stage the members realized that problem should be tackled through policy. Phase 2: Gaining Control over the Problem; at this point, the government start to advance in their mechanisms through the formulation of policies. Policy oriented research is often appointed to scientific institutions, opinion surveys are piloted, and options for improving and solving the problem are accounted. Phase 3: Solving the Problem; at this stage, policies, programs and projects are implemented. In most case, the government will manage all the details of a program by itself but the best scenario is when NGOs and other involved groups participate in the initiatives. Phase 4: Monitoring the Problem: At this point the focus is to ensure that the problem is under control and must remain so. This is also the time to think about future policies and to develop public and private partnerships in implementing policies.

The Gap Between Researchers and Policy Makers'

The praxis or the marriage of research and practice, according to Flor (1991)[83] is needed to address the pressing social issues that are pestering the society. However, there are factors that delay its realization. According to UNCTAD Virtual Institute (2006), there are still a huge communication gap between researchers and policy makers. On the side of the policy makers, the information on ongoing researchers barely reaches to them. The researchers, on the other hand, lack the awareness and the knowledge on the most important policy that could contribute so much in the research. Here are some common reasons for the wide gap between the two:

ƒ1. Policy makers turn primarily to international organizations, international research institutes or their own technical experts or diplomatic missions to obtain information and analysis as policy inputs. Local universities and research institutes may have the capacity but are often not able to engage in cooperation with policy makers.

2. ƒ Policy-makers consider the credibility of researchers and research outputs a key requirement for cooperation.

3. ƒ Governments lack systematic procedures regarding which research institutions to turn to, and when and how to establish contact with researchers.

4. ƒ Data required for informed research may be non-existent or inaccessible. [96]

Hence, the joint UNCTAD-WTO-ITC workshop on trade policy analysis workshop has forwarded these recommendations for both the research institutions and policy making bodies:

As a researcher:

ƒ 1. Try to disseminate information about current research projects as widely as possible:

a. Invite concerned government officials to conferences or presentations of research, or organize specific events bringing together policy makers and researchers

b. Send notes and abstracts to relevant ministries

c. Distribute research to government agencies but also to NGOs, which might also be among its users. Be ready to discuss work in progress with policy-makers after initial contacts have been established.

d. Try to get in direct contact, for example with negotiators, by providing them with short notes/abstracts of relevant research findings.

e. Establish contact and build a long-term cooperation with relevant ministries. The start can be facilitated by having a "champion" in the ministry. However, the researcher/research institution may need to avoid being too closely identified with a “champion”, and hence, depending too much on the evolution of the "champion's" status.

ƒ f. Access to high-ranked officials at ministries can be facilitated by involving higher-level representatives at universities (deans, vice-chancellors…) in the establishment and maintenance of contacts. However, more decentralized cooperation can also be productive if the procedures within the university tend to be very hierarchical and bureaucratic. [96]

As a policy maker:

  1. Involve policy-makers in research. Policy-makers who are consulted at the initial stages of a research project tend to be more open since they can actively participate and hence have a stake in shaping the research questions, and thereby take "ownership" of the research as well. Regular interaction during the research project can help adjusting the questions researched and the tools used to the needs of policy makers.
  2. Make sure that your research addresses issues of policy relevance to your country by approaching permanent missions in Geneva which can act as facilitators by providing information regarding current policy-relevant research questions. [96]

Development Communication and Policy Sciences

Nora Quebral (1971) defines development communication 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 larger fulfilment of the human potential.” [87]

Melafopulos (2008) presented two modes or approaches to development communication: the monologic mode and the dialogic mode. The monologic mode is linked to the standpoint of ‘diffusion’ following the one-way model of communication. The purpose of this mode is to disseminate information and messages to persuade its recipients about the intended change. In short, communication is positioned to (1) inform and (2) persuade. In this model, the feedback is enhanced and canned allowing the sender to refine its persuasive message. On the other hand, dialogic mode is related with the participatory paradigm which follows a two-way communication model. It seeks to create a conducive environment where stakeholders are involved in all stages of the project from the definitions down to the implementation of solutions. This model seeks to make use of communication (1) to assess and (2) to empower. The use of dialogic communication paves the way for building of trust and understanding which is the key to participation and eventually for the empowerment of the people in the grassroots.[2]

Achieving development in the community is collaboration between different stakeholders. Development communication believes that in order to have genuine development, that desire to improve and uplift their lives must come from the grassroots level; it must come from the people. Development communication empowers the people to believe in themselves that they can do something in order to alleviate their standard of living. In their book, Introduction to Development Communication, Ongkiko and Flor (2003) claimed that Development communication entails motivating individuals and groups of people such as farmers, fisherfolks, workers, housewives, and the youth to change their habits, their lifestyles, their way of thinking and their way of doing things. This further proves that development communication is not just merely providing facts and information instead its goal is to persuade the people to become an active participant in the achievement of their goals.

Policy Sciences refer to the scientific study of policies and policy making. Policy refers to a cluster of decisions with a particular purpose and audience in mind. The word “science” is used to suggest the use of empirical data gathered from systematic observation. The plural form (sciences) is used to underscore the interdisciplinary nature of this field (Allen, 1978). Policy science was conceived in order to cope-up with the fast changing landscape of our society. Because of these changes they called, “turbulent field”, the traditional social science methodology was already considered inadequate in solving today’s societal problems (Allen, 1978). The goal of policy sciences is to develop and provide concrete solution to the rising problems brought by technological progress. [87]

Policy Sciences are concerned with knowledge of and in the decision processes of the public and civic order. Knowledge of the decision process implies systematic, empirical studies of how policies are made and put into effect. When knowledge is systematic, it goes beyond the aphoristic remarks that are strewn through the “wisdom” literature of the past. [87]

Development Communication and Policy Sciences are two essential elements in resolving recurring dilemma especially in the third world societies.

Development Communication and the Policy Sciences Work Together Towards Social Change

Flor (n. d., as cited in Academia, 2015) states that policy sciences and development communication have seemingly identical underlying function in society: to solve societal issues and make social change possible for the benefit of the greater majority. Development communication and policy sciences share key characteristics. First, both policy sciences and development communication are purposive. They serve specific and systematic functions to achieve a common goal which is to solve issues and problems in society in order to achieve change. Second, both policy sciences and development communication believe that, at times, power and corrupt practices in the government have the potential to undermine reasoned logic. This is evident in the commercialisation of mass media that advances profit over social responsibility. Thus, development communication and policy sciences have the role to combat such corrupt practices. The third characteristic that policy sciences and development communication share is to heed action for policies to take effect. Policies that remain in print/word without action is a futile enterprise. A policy to be effective needs to be implemented, monitored, assessed and sustained. For development communication and policy sciences to make great impact to the world, participation or engagement of stakeholders is necessary. Below is an analysis of a few studies that deal with how development communication relates with policy sciences, and how they fuse in order to effect change in the larger society. In a discussion on the policy sciences, Allen (1978, as cited in Flor, n. d.) states:

Since communication permeates every facet of a person's behaviour, the study of communication is no less than one way to study policy making.Communication is a useful concept precisely because it is one more handle whereby we can effectively study policy making. Communication is one of those few variables through which any policy decision is dependent (p.69).

On Risk and Disaster Communication Amongst the Youths

The youths hold a pivotal role in making a difference in society. Being digital natives, they communicate efficiently, develop networks pervasively, and create, influence and change social norms and practices. In short, being communication natives who can create a collective voice, they have the power to influence policies and change perspectives deeply rooted in society. For instance, during disasters, the youths are viewed as passive victims with no role in communicating risks or preventing and responding to disasters. Since disaster management seems to be predominated by top-down strategies, not bottom-up, the youths are seen as weaklings who are at the receiving end of calamity relief operations. However, Mitchell, Haynes, Hall, Wei and Oven (2008) seem to have refuted this perception based on the findings of their case studies in El Salvador and New Orleans. Mitchell et al. (2008) concluded that children and youths can be potential informants within informal and formal risk communication networks. Their case studies have shown that:

children and youth can become effective conduits, vehicles and bridges as they are embedded within the household and community and can act as trusted two-way “translators” and communicators. Overall, children and youth were found to be effective communicators of risk when language barriers exist increasing the agency of young people, an outside agent has helped support the organization of youth groups, the community has strong social cohesion, and there is a level of distrust in political sources (such as police impunity) (p. 269).

In the Philippines, a study by Fernandez and Shaw (2013) found that even until today, “young people are not given an active role in (or worse, are excluded from) the action toward disaster risk reduction” (p. 135). Fernandez and Shaw’s (2013) review of national policies of the Philippines related to youth council participation in disaster risk reduction (DRR) shows discrepancies between ideal scenarios and actual youth participation in DRR in practice. So much more needs to be done in engaging young people in helping build disaster resilient communities. However, although these discrepancies exist, there are many success stories of Filipino youths involved in development programs with the aim to prepare communities for disasters. The National Youth Commission (NYC, 2013) believed that children and youth are not just a vulnerable group, but can play vital roles in their communities to prepare for future disasters. For instance, the Tanay Mountaineers Youth Arm, a Ten Accomplished Youth Organization (TAYO) 2013 winner, has been responding to victims of disasters not only in Tanay, Rizal but even in Quezon Province since Typhoon Ondoy (Ketsana) hit their town in 2009 (, 2014). The local government of Tanay has tapped the Tanay Mountaineers as the official disaster response team of the municipality. Another TAYO 2013 winner, the Hayag Youth Organization, carried out the “Langoy para sa Kaluwasan,” a Swim Camp Disaster Preparedness and Open Water Safety Training for children and youth from impoverished communities in Ormoc City, Leyte. This is in response to the fact that many youths in Ormoc still do not know how to swim apart from the fact that water safety skills are not taught to them in school (, 2014). Despite scepticism, there still exists a growing optimism that policy scientists and communication policy developers can help review and reaffirm existing youth policies in the Philippines in engaging youth groups themselves for DRR projects, among others. Fernandez and Shaw (2013) posited that open and engaging communication is necessary so that the youths become more involved in disaster management and risk reduction efforts in their communities.

On Urban Farming in Cities and Countries

Globalisation has been shaping this world into a small village. With this phenomenon comes urbanisation or massive urban planning that governments and private industries are advancing. With policies being created and governance being mandated, remote heartlands of countries are now slowly being transformed into urbanised places and spaces which in turn produce setbacks such as pollution, health issues and other social problems. However, one trend that is becoming popular in some countries is urban forestry which somehow demands for sound scientific information and public participation. According to Janse and Konijnendijk (2007), urban society's manifold perceptions, preferences and demands for urban forest goods and services indicate the necessity for socially inclusive policy planning processes. They said that successful policies can only be formulated by establishing close links with, for example, urban planning and municipal policies. Inherently, this means that close ties between research and policy are required. They discussed the outcomes of the NeighbourWoods research and development project in which a wide range of tools for public participation were tested in six urban woodland case-studies across Europe. Findings confirmed that a set of tools comprising a step-wise process from informing the public in an attractive way, collecting information on public opinion, towards fully participatory approaches such as direct involvement in decision-making is most likely to ensure socially inclusive planning. Communication with policy-makers requires a high degree of openness, clearly explaining every phase of the process, being open about each other's expectations, and developing relationships based on mutual trust (Janse & Konijnendijk, 2007).

Despite power issues that lurk in most organisations and governments, development communication and policy sciences seem to advance specific and systematic functions to achieve a common goal for the benefit of the majority. This is shown in an increasingly global India, whereby an agricultural community in Pune, Maharashtra was faced with losing farmland to urbanisation and devised an unusual solution (Sami, 2013). Pooling their land together, the farmers in this community leveraged their social and political networks to take advantage of the changing economic climate in Pune and built a mixed-use township on their 400 acres of farmland (Sami, 2013). They formed alliances with other stakeholders, both internally within the agricultural community and externally at the city and state levels. Sami (2013) concluded that “ad-hoc coalitions in the power and politics of urban processes in an Indian city have emerged as a result of a political will and leadership vacuum in Indian cities in the face of the changing focus and priorities of national and regional governments as well as a growing gap in urban service provision” (p. 151).

On Communication for Development (C4D) and e-Agriculture

If highly urbanised and wealthy cities or countries are advancing urban agriculture, it cannot be denied that many of the Third World countries are also at par when it comes to improving agricultural processes and policies and in the informatisation of agriculture. In Malawi, one of the poorest regions in Africa, Agunga (2012) emphasised that the success rate of poverty-reduction programming could be greater if C4D education was provided for development decision-makers and field staff, especially agricultural extension workers. Agunga (2012) further stated that agricultural extension education can impact development by focusing on how C4D can strengthen agricultural extension performance. He implied that educating policymakers about C4D will increase donor investments in pilot C4D projects, a strengthening of agricultural extension systems, and success of poverty-reduction programs (Agunga, 2012).

In the Philippines, a book by Flor (2007) entitled Development Communication Praxis discussed a rice scandal such that in the last quarter of 1990, the Philippines groaned as the price of rice and other commodities went up. Flor (2007) said:

Rice farmers who were expected to gain from the situation were likewise disadvantaged. They were not able to sell their produce at reasonable prices. On one hand, their bumper crop entailed expensive inputs - certified high yielding varieties, irrigation, pesticides and fertilizer. On the other, middle men bought their harvest at cutthroat prices leaving them penniless and in debt… the nature of the rice industry is such that information, particularly market information, means money and power. For all practical purposes, the Philippine rice industry is controlled by a group of obscure Filipino-Chinese businessmen called the Binondo Rice Cartel… Employing a nationwide marketing network composed mainly of fellow Filipino-Chinese traders, the cartel has held a viselike grip over rice trading since the post World War II years that enable them to virtually dictate the buying price of dried paddy all over the country (pp. 114-115).

What was done when this happened? Did development communication come into the picture? Was change sought? There were a few discussions on alternatives such as proper use of funds since it was observed that international donations for the agricultural farmers were spent more on the informatisation of agriculture (increasing need for computers, logistical aids, etc.) instead of investing into more practical and realistic methods to empower the farmers and improve their farming methods. Attention was also given to the rise of white-collar jobs which was cutting down the numbers of agricultural farmers tilling the land (Flor, 2007). The youths became more attracted to the life in the city and to seek for office or desk jobs than remain in the province and till the farm. With this, Flor (2007) suggested policy rationalisation:

Rationalisation need not mean a reduction of monies awarded to the information sector. It primarily means the rearrangement of priorities and the increase of allotment to actual farming activities in the case of agriculture or to direct social services in the case of rural development. (p. 123).

However, with the seemingly hegemonic influence of the internet and the impact of globalisation, the field of agriculture needs to adapt to radical changes in society for it to become sustainable. As policy sciences and development communication suggest, the goal of communication and policies is to empower individuals or groups, and this empowerment necessitates crucial adaptation to an ever changing world. This brought agriculture into another layer: e-agriculture. What is e-agriculture? The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO, 2013) defined this as:

An emerging field focusing on the enhancement of agricultural and rural development through improved information and communication processes. More specifically, e-Agriculture involves the conceptualization, design, development, evaluation and application of innovative ways to use information and communication technologies (ICT) in the rural domain, with a primary focus on agriculture (p. 1).

In a post on e-Agriculture webpage, Walter (2009), indicates that the Philippines has launched a Knowledge Working Towards Enhancing Agricultural Communities Program or K-Agrinet project with the aim to promoting the use of ICT to attain agricultural sustainability and competitiveness for the country's farmers. The project is a collaborative effort amongst the country's diverse agencies to utilize information technology (IT) as a tool to fast-track the dissemination of agriculture and natural resources information and technologies to farmers, upland dwellers, and rural entrepreneurs in the Philippines. The institutional key players in the agricultural and natural resource sectors are: (1) the e-Learning led by the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture of the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Rice Research Institute (DA-PhilRice) which focuses on e-extension and distance learning for agriculture extension workers; (2) the e-Consortia led by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCARRD) which intensifies technology and knowledge generation and exchange amongst existing partner R&D Institutions through improved ICT tools and applications; (3) the e-Farm also led by DOST-PCARRD that promotes e-commerce by initiating e- based farm to market opportunities through the FITS centers and their respective farmer-scientists; and lastly, (4) the e-Agrikultura led by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) tasked at mobilising and generating the participation of agrarian reform communities into the program (Walter, 2009, p. 1).

Indeed, the goal of C4D and e-agriculture is clear: to improve the lives of people especially the poor and the marginalised. This entails educating and empowering them for the impact of change to be sustainable.

On Women’s Roles on Development Through Advancing Policies

Reports and studies show that women are mostly victims of many kinds of abuse. For instance, Kaunda (1990) described that a smallholder development strategy in Malawi, Africa puts emphasis on commercialization of agriculture, combined with decision making processes which are centralized in the bureaucracy, serving only to reproduce and perpetuate historical forms of social differentiation which are the basis of the women's subordination and/or subjugation.

However, it can be seen in the past few decades that women have been successful in championing a cause and in letting their voices be heard in society. Women from all walks of life have been engaging themselves into development projects. For Instance, in the Philippines, the World Food Programme (WFP, 2012) launched a project in the Philippine island of Mindanao to helping women kickstart agriculture in the region by providing them with the training they need to become successful farmers. This shows that women can be empowered and independent - two qualities that development communication and policy sciences are championing. HumanaPeopletoPeople (2012) is also promoting gender equality in India, whereby, to realise empowerment of women, the women in their communities have formed coalitions such as women self-help groups focusing on community projects. The women are empowered to bargain, to have economic influence, to earn money for improvement of health and education of the family and to gain a stronger social standing.

Either in First World or in Third World nations, a huge number of women are making a difference in a lot of fields with the goal to contribute to character and nation-building. In the field of developing women's capacities to run and manage their small-medium enterprises (SMEs), Gail Romero, the founder and CEO for Collective Changes, has been providing effective technology platforms to business mentors for women's SMEs in developing nations.

Gail continues to drive support for empowering women in business and global recognition of the economic engine that women can provide to their nations. Gail is also Senior Advisor for MacKenzie-Romero Consulting, Executive Producer for Rainmakers TV and carried the title of Ambassador for Global Health for the American Cancer Society until August 2011. Gail has spent the last two decades creating and directing the development and integration of innovative economic ideas and campaigns and strategic alliances with policy makers to advance women in leadership throughout the world… She has held numerous corporate board positions for start-up companies and guided new social venture partnerships. She has served as a visiting professor and international speaker and presenter on social justice, women's issues and education. Gail is a recent TED Prize nominee for her work to leverage technology to grow women's business skills (“Advancing Women in Leadership”, 2014).

Development communication and policy sciences have gone a long way to advancing the rights and freedom of people - children and youths, women, farmers, labourers, etc., with the goal that they become more informed and empowered to make decisions for themselves and their communities, to realise their full potential and to become a catalyst for change as Flor (2007) postulated.

See also


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  2. 2.0 2.1 Mefalopulos, Paolo (2008). Development Communication Sourcebook: Broadening the Boundaries of Communication. Washington DC: International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank. p. 224. ISBN 978-0-8213-7522-8.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Flor 1995.
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  9. Ogan C.L. (1982). Development journalism/communication: The status of the concept.International Communication Gazette 29(3), 1-13. doi:10.1177/001654928202900101
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Further reading

  • Rogers, E 2006, 'Communication and development: The passing of the dominant paradigm', in A Gumucio-Dagron and T Tufte (eds.), Communication for social change anthology: Historical and contemporary readings, Communication for Social Change Consortium, United States of America, pp. 110-126. [1]
  • Quebral, NC 2006, ‘Development communication in the agricultural context (1971, with a new foreword)’, Asian Journal of Communication, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 100-107. [2]
  • Sloman, Annie. (2011). Using Participatory Theatre in International Community Development, Community Development Journal.
  • Gumucio-Dagron, Alfonso & Tufte, Thomas (Eds.). (2006). Communication for social change anthology: Historical and contemporary readings. Communication For Social Change Consortium.
  • Hedebro, Goran. (1982). Communication and social change in developing nations: A critical view. Ames, IA: Iowa State University Press.
  • McPhail, Thomas. (2009). Development communication: Reframing the role of the media. London, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Ramiro Beltran, Luis. (1980). A farewell to Aristotle: Horizontal communication. Communication, 5, 5-41.
  • Rogers, Everett M. (1976). Communication and development: The passing of a dominant paradigm. Communication Research, 3(2), 213-240.
  • Rogers, Everett M. (1989). Inquiry in development communication. In Molefi Kete Asante & William B. Gudykunst (Eds.), Handbook of international and intercultural communication (pp. 67-85). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
  • Melody, William (2011). The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy. Wiley-Blackwell.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sourbati, Maria (2012). "Disabling Communications? A Capabilities Perspective on Media Access, Social Inclusion and Communication Policy". Media Culture Society. SAGE Publications.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sen, A. (1992). Inequality Reexamined. Oxford University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford University Press.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Pandian, Hannah (1999). "Engendering Communication Policy: Key Issues in the International Women-and-the-media Arena and Obstacles to Forging and Enforcing Policy". Media Culture Society. SAGE Publications.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc (2003). "Gender and ICT in the Philippines: A Proposed Framework". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Anand, Anita (1993). "Moving from the Alternative to the Mainstream for a New Gender Perspective". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Gallagher, Margaret (2011). The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy. Wiley-Blackwell.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Young, David (2003). "Discourses on Communication Technologies in Canadian and European Broadcasting Policy Debates". European Journal of Communication. SAGE Publications.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Flor, Alexander G. (1995). Development Communication Praxis. University of the Philippines Open University.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Karim, Karim H. (2011). The Handbook of Global Media and Communication Policy. Wiley-Blackwell.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links