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.
To be useful, knowledge (whether it is farmer’s innovations, latest research findings, or pressing policy issues) must be effectively shared amongst people and institutions. Communication for Development (ComDev) is therefore a critical component of any development initiative.
What is Communication for Development
“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, establishing trust, sharing knowledge and skills, building policies, debating and learning for sustained and meaningful change”.
World Congress on Communication for Development (WCCD), Rome 2006
- ComDev approach goes beyond information dissemination that targets communication at passive audiences, to facilitate active participation and stakeholder dialogue. It integrates the power of media with local communication systems to increase the involvement of rural populations in development initiatives.
- ComDev activities place particular focus on the convergence of different media (e.g. rural radio and ICTs) and the empowerment of local stakeholders. Emphasis is given to local content and community media to foster dialogue and improve the capacity of local institutions and people to plan and implement communication processes.
- ComDev strategies and activities are based on an initial participatory communication needs assessment so that the right tools are used to address specific needs. They prioritize horizontal information sharing and dialogue among development actors, giving the voice to those who are not always heard: farmers, community leaders and vulnerable communities in rural areas.
- ComDev systems facilitate access to locally relevant information about markets, new technologies, credit and rural services. Access to this information helps to enhance food security, improve rural livelihood and foster new development opportunities.