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Communication for Development

Communication for Development (ComDev) is a key driver in agriculture and rural development. It is a results oriented communication process based on dialogue and participation, that allows rural people to voice their opinions, share knowledge and actively engage in their own development.

Through a broad range of methods and tools, including local media and ICTs, Communication for Development can maximize the impact of development initiatives, fostering multi-stakeholders dialogue, informed decision making and collective action.

FAO's role in Communication for Development

"ComDev is a social process based on dialogue using a broad range of tools and methods. ComDev is about seeking change at different levels including listening, building trust, sharing knowledge and skills, building policies, debating, and learning for sustained and meaningful change.  It is not public relations or corporate communications.”

World Congress on Communication for Development, Rome, 2006

FAO ComDev activities aim at supporting development policy processes, enabling rural people’s access to relevant information and fostering social dialogue through the design and implementation of appropriate ComDev strategies. Priority is given to regional initiatives, country program frameworks and projects, and development of local capacities in ComDev. 

FAO ComDev priority areas of action include: 

  • Development and promotion of ComDev corporate approaches, tools and methodologies
  • Support the FAO Strategic objectives, regional initiatives and country framework programmes in the design and implementation of ComDev strategies and plans
  • Strengthen ComDev capacities of  FAO programmes, decentralized offices, rural institutions and grass-roots organizations, promoting partnerships, networking  and  cooperation in ComDev
  • Promote multi-stakeholder dialogue, informed decision making  and awareness raising on  key FAO corporate priorities and the need for ComDev policies and services

To enhance experience sharing, advocacy and collaboration among practitioners and projects engaged in communication for rural development, three regional web based platforms have been created in Africa (YenKasa), Asia (ComDevAsia) and Latin America (Onda Rural).  In line with its focus on promoting capacity building in ComDev, FAO has joint efforts with the College of Development Communication- University of Philippines in Los Baños, to spearhead the Collaborative Change Communication initiative.  This has entailed the creation of a web-based platform titled CCComdev which facilitates the exchange around research activities, methodologies and learning resources in ComDev.

FAO ComDev Team is also engaged in a long standing collaboration with the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) to facilitate access to information on development issues to the rural population. As a result of this collaboration, FAO and AMARC are working together on the “Communication and community media to advance Family Farming and Food Security “ campaign to celebrate the International Year of Family Farming 2014. 

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