Elements of Communication ………………………………………………………………………………… 8
The Process of Communication ……………………………………………………………………………. 9
1.5 Communication for Development, participation and human development
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 15
1.6 Approaches to Communication for Development …………………………………… 16
Diffusion of Innovation Theory and development communication …………… 17
Strengthening an enabling media and communication environment ……….. 25
2.2 Features of communication modes …………………………………………………………….. 30
Community Media and Development ………………………………………………………………… 31
Defining Characteristics of community media ……………………………………………….. 32
Different Types of Community Media ……………………………………………………………….. 33
Problems and Challenges of community media ……………………………………………… 36
Information communication technologies for poverty reduction and
development ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 36
ICT contribution to development ………………………………………………………………………. 39
Indirect impact of ICTs on development………………………………………………………….. 41
Local content and development …………………………………………………………………………. 43
Role of ICT in Local Content Development ……………………………………………………… 45
Types of communication tools ……………………………………………………………………………. 46
MEDIA, GENDER AND SOCIETY …………………………………………………………………………. 51
TYPES OF MEDIA …………………………………………………………………………………………………… 53
1. MASS MEDIA ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 53
Gender biases within the media …………………………………………………………………………. 60
REFERENCES: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 63
This course equips learners with knowledge and skills to be effective communicators in
By the end of the course the student should be able to:
(i) apply basic principles of communication in daily life and in business management;
(ii)apply communication principles in business management;
(iii)Develop external communication strategies;
(iv) Be effective communicators in business meetings and other functions.
Development communication theory, history of development communication, contributors to
development commination, theories of development communication, models of development
communication, development communication planning process, communication for disaster
management, communication in Hyogo framework for action taking, development
communication continuum, role of development communication and media, indigenous
knowledge, social marketing communication theory, diffusion of innovation theory,
communication adoption process, social change and communication, the nature of
communication, the purpose of communication, forms of communication, verbal
communication, preparation and presentation of speeches, writing memos and reports, nonverbal
communication, meetings, communication as a management tool, system for internal
organization, external aspects of communication, social responsibility of an organization,
determinants of buyer behaviour, communication technology, ICT and development,
development communication and PR communication. Tools and techniques for development
Communication, cultural communication, Future for development communication. Public
awareness and education for development. Development journalism. Principles of
development journalism
The course will be conducted using lectures, quizzes, cases studies, group presentations.
Audio-visuals, computers/internet services, journals, newspapers, chalk/pens and chalk
/white boards, learning centers.
Continuous Assessments Tests 20%, Mid-semester Examination 20%,Final exam 60%
Brounstein, R. (2007) Business communication, John Wiley: New Jersey
Journal of Business Communication: Sage Publications: London
Sillars, S. (1988). Success in communication. London: John Murray Publishers.
Bovee, C. L., and John V. T. (1992). Business communication today (3rd ed.). New
Wahlstrom, B. J. (1992). Perspectives on human communication Iowa: Brown Publishers.
Nisar, A. S. (1997). Business communication and report writing simplified. Nairobi: N.A
Saleem Publishers.
Van rys, J. (2006) The Business Writer, Houthon Mifflin: New York
Mandal, S.K. and Kumar, S. (2006) Effective Communication and Public Speaking, Jaico
Publishing House: New Delhi
Journal of Business and Technical Communication: Sage: London
Module Learning Outcomes
By the end of this module students should be able to:
• compare concepts of the contribution of knowledge to development from different
development paradigms and how knowledge is expected to contribute to poverty reduction,
increased inclusion of the poor and greater equity
• understand how knowledge creation is socially constructed through social relations and
explain the implications of this concept of knowledge for development programmes, projects
and policies
• Articulate reasons why an analysis of power relations is useful for understanding
knowledge and information programmes in a development context
• outline arguments for the possibilities and limitations of different
developmentcommunication approaches
• explain why some communication and applications can be pro-poor and how
characteristics of the technology and the organisations and policy associated with their use
affect these outcomes
• compare and contrast different models of how knowledge and communication are
expected to influence policy directed at important development goals
• summarize key aspects of the different roles played by communication in relation to
different development goals
• critique inappropriate use of communication for development goals in a variety of sectors
and describe key lessons from experience, particularly with reference to their advantages
and disadvantages for the inclusion of disadvantaged sectors of society in developing
• identify crucial enabling factors that contribute to successful communication
interventions for development purposes
• identify key principles and practices that may help improve the design and social impact
of knowledge and communication-based interventions
The practice of development communication can be traced back to efforts undertaken in
various parts of the world during the 1940s, but the widespread application of the concept
came about because of the problems that arose in the aftermath of World War II. The rise of
the communication sciences in the 1950s saw a recognition of the field as an academic
discipline, with Daniel Lerner, Wilbur Schramm and Everett Rogers being the earliest
influential advocates. The term “development communication” was first coined in 1972 by
Nora C. Quebral, who defines the field as
…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
Or as Erskine Childers has defined it:
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.
Both Childers and Quebral stress that communication for development is not confined to
the mass media channels, but includes any and all effective means of communication –
interpersonal, face-to-face, small group, the stage play, a picture, or even a billboard.
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. The
theory and practice of development communication continues to evolve today, with different
approaches and perspectives unique to the varied development contexts the field has grown
in. Development communication is characterized by conceptual flexibility and diversity of
communication techniques used to address the problem. Some approaches in the “tool kit”
of the field include: information dissemination and education, behavior change, social
marketing, social mobilization, media advocacy, communication for social change, and
participatory development communication.
Participatory development communication refers to the use of mass media and
traditional, inter-personal means of communication that empowers communities to
visualise aspirations and discover solutions to their development problems and issues.
Communication planning for development is a logical process guided by a systematic and
rational framework. This framework could be developed through situation-specific data
gathered using participatory research techniques.
1. Preliminary situation assessment
2. Communication strategy design
3. Participatory design of messages and discussion themes
4. Communication methods and materials development
5. Implementation
6. Evaluation
The relevance of communication to development is an established paradigm in development
studies. It is borne out of the realisation that development is humancentred and thus
requires communication for its full realisation. FAO (1994:5) points out that
“communication is the key to human development and the thread that binds people
together”. This corroborates Moemeka’s (1991) view that development efforts cannot be
successful without planned communication because its flow determines the direction and
pace of dynamic social development. It is the agglutination of communication and
development that birthed the word development communication. It is to emphasize the kind
of communication that is done for development purposes. It is also known as
communication for development. Some scholars call it communication in development;
while others refer to it as “development support communication”, that is, communication in
support communication of development. These nomenclatures establish that there is a
close relationship between communication and development.
There exist various kinds of definition for communication, as there are different disciplines.
While some definitions are human centred, others are not. For example, communication
system may incorporate procession like computers, as well as less sophisticated
reproducing devices such as photocopiers. A photocopier may see communication as
meaning different thing from the way a marketer perceives it. Similarly, a gospel preacher
may think communication is something, which is of course different from what a journalist
thought it is. Therefore, there is no single definition of communication agreed upon by
scholars. Psychologists, sociologists, medical practitioners, philosophers and
communication specialists, all define communication based on their orientations and
perspectives. Psychologists define communication as “the process by which an individual
(the communicator) transmits stimuli (usually verbal symbols) to modify the behavior of the
other individuals (communicates).” This definition describes what many extension workers
and change agents hope to achieve. Sociologists see communications “as the mechanism
through which human relations exist and develop.” Some people limit their definitions of
communication rather narrowly, saying “communication is the process whereby one person
tells another something through the written or spoken word.” This definition, from a book
written by a journalist, seems reasonable for those in that field. So, there are definitions of
communication as there are various disciplines. Communication is from a Latin word8
COMMUNIS, which means common or shared understanding. Communication therefore is
a purposeful effort to establish commonness between a source and receiver (Schramm
1965). Whatever is being shared could be associated with knowledge, experience, thought,
ideas, suggestion, opinions, feelings etc. We will define communication here as the process
of exchanging or sharing information, ideas and feeling between the sender and the
receiver. It involves not only the spoken and written word by also body language, personal
mannerisms, and style – anything that adds meaning to a message (Hybels & Weaver II,
(2001). Baran (2003) has defined communication as the process of creating shared
meaning. This is because the participants in communication encounter are interested in
obtaining messages that are understandable. That is why they have to negotiable, seek
clarification and ask for explanation to ensure that they have obtained the meaning
intended in the message.
Elements of Communication
Communication as a system means that it works through interrelated set of elements. We
can identify about seven elements that are involved in communication process. They are:
Stimulus: This is the impulse that triggers off the communication exchange. It takes place
at the ideation stage of communication. We can also call it the reason one has for
communicating, which may be to inform, educate, entertain etc.
Source: This is the person who begins the communication process. He is the one triggered
by the stimulus and from him begins the communication activity. He could be referred to
as the initiator, encoder or sender. He is the initiator because he begins the communication
process. As the encoder, he packages the message in a way that it can be communicated
and as the sender when he passes across the message by himself.
Message: This could be the idea, feelings, information, thought, opinion, knowledge or
experience etc. that the source/sender wants to share.
Medium/Channel: Medium and channel are generally used interchangeably. But here, a
distinction is made between the two. Medium could be regarded as the form adopted by the
sender of the message to get it to the receiver. It could be oral or written form. The channel
then is the pathway, route or conduit through which the message travels between the
source and the receiver e.g. the channel of radio, television, newspaper, telephone etc.
Channel provides a link that enables the source and the receiver to communicate. It may
also be seen in term of the five physical senses- sight, sound, touch, taste and smellthrough
which messages can be sent, received, understood, interpreted and acted upon.
Receiver: This is the person to whom the message is sent. He is the target audience or the
recipient of the message. All the source/sender effort to communicate is to inform or affect
the attitude of the receiver. That is why communication must be receiver-centred.
Feedback: This is the response or reaction of the receiver to the message sent.
Communication is incomplete without feedback. It confirms that the message is well
received and understood. Feedback guides the source in communication process and helps
him to know when to alter or modify his message if not properly received. A feedback is
positive when it shows that the message has been well received and understood and it
could be negative when it shows that the intended effect has not been achieved
Noise: Noise is interference that keeps a message from being understood or accurately
interpreted. It is a potent barrier to effective communication. Noise may be in different
form: Physical Noise: This comes from the environment and keeps the message from being
heard or understood. It may be from loud conversations, side-talks at meetings, vehicular
sounds, sounds from workmen’s tools etc. Psychological Noise: This comes from within as a
result of poor mental attitude, depression, emotional stress or disability. Physiological
Noise: Results from interference from the body in form of body discomforts, feeling of
hunger, tiredness etc Linguistic Noise: This is from the source’s inability to use the
language of communication accurately and appropriately. It may be a grammatical noise
manifested in form of defects in the use of rules of grammar of a language, and faulty
sentence structure. It may be semantic as in the wrong use of words or use of unfamiliar
words, misspelling, etc. And it could also be phonological manifested in incorrect
The Process of Communication
Communication is a process because it is dynamic, recursive, on-going, continuous and
cyclical. There is no recognizable beginning and end, neither is there a rigid sequence of
interaction. But we may try to identify how the process begins.
Stimulation: This is the point at which the source sees the need to communicate. He
receives stimulus that triggers him to communicate.
Encoding: The source processes the message he want to communicate into a form that will
be understandable to the receivers. This may be a feeling, opinion, experiment etc.
Transmission: The message is passed across to the receiver through a chosen medium or
Reception: The receiver gets the message that is sent from the source
Decoding: The message is processed, understood and interpreted by the receiver.
Response: This the reaction of the receiver to the message received, in form of feedback
The Osgood model of communication presented below shows that communication is both a
system and process.
Contexts of Communication
Contexts here mean the different levels at which communication occurs. It can also be
referred to as the kinds of communication that are available.
Intra-personal Communication: This is essentially a neuro-physiological activity which
involves some mental interviews for the purposes of information processing and decision
making. The basic operations of intrapersonal communication are to convert raw data from
environment to information; to interpreter and give meaning to that information and to use
such meaning. In other words, it is communication that occurs within you. Because
interpersonal communication is cantered in the self, you are the only sender-receiver. The
message is made up of your thoughts and feelings and the channel is your brain, which
processes what you are thinking and feeling. There is also feedback because you talk to
yourself, you discard certain ideals and replace them with others. Interpersonal
Communication: Is occurs when you communicate on a one-to one basis usually in an
informal, unstructured setting. It occurs mostly between two people, though it may include
more than two. Each participant functions as a sender-receiver; their messages consist of
both verbal and non-verbal symbols and the channels used mostly are sight and sound. It
also offers the greatest opportunity for feedback. Group Communication This form of
communication occurs among a small number of people for the purpose of solving problem.
The group must be small enough so that each member has a chance to interact with all the
other members. The communication process in group communication is more complex than
in interpersonal communication because the group members are made up of several
sender-receivers. As a result, there are more chances for confusion. Messages are also more
structure in small groups because the group is meeting for a specific purpose. It uses the
same channels as are used in interpersonal communication, and there is also a good deal
of opportunity for feedback. It also occurs in a more formal setting than in interpersonal
communication. Public Communication: Here the (sender receiver) speaker sends a
message (the speech) to an audience. The speaker usually delivers a highly structured
message, using the some channels as in interpersonal or small-group communication. The
channels here are more exaggerated than in interpersonal communication. The voice is
louder and the gestures are more expansive because the audience is bigger. Additional
visual channels, such as slides or the computer programme Power Point might be used.
Opportunity for verbal feedback is limited in most public communication. The setting is
also formal.
Mass Communication: Mass Communication is a means of disseminating information or
message to large, anonymous, and scattered heterogeneous masses of receivers which may
be far removed from the message sources through the use of sophisticated equipment. It is
the sending of message through a mass medium to a large number of people. Development.
Rogers (1976) sees development as a widely participatory process of social change in a
society, intended to bring about social and material advancement (including greater
equality, freedom, and other valued qualities) for the majority of the people through their
gaining control over their environment. Rogers stressed the endogenous dimension of
development. It must be through people’s participation, exploiting their own environment to
improve their situation rather than expecting development to “fall from heaven” as it were.
Inayatullah (cited in Soola 2003:13), for example, says “development is change toward
patterns of society that allow better realization of human values, that allow a society greater
control over its environment and over its political destiny, and that enables its individuals
to gain increased control over themselves”. Moemeka (1991) observes that: …the two
definitions show that development is a multifaceted concept. It generally means different
things to different people, ranging from the psychologist’s preoccupation with individual or
personality variables as self reliance, achievement motivation, self worth and selfactualization,
to the communicator’s concern for acquisition of new knowledge and skills,
increased self confidence, control over oneself and one’s environment, greater equality,
freedom, ability to understand one’s potentials and limitations, and willingness to work
hard enough to improve on existing conditions (p.4).
Todaro and Smith (2003) stress that development involves both the quality and quantity of
life. Quality of life refers to opportunities and availability of social, health and educational
concerns. Quantity of life involves the amount of economic and political participation of the
people. This definition shifts the attention and aim of development away from an economic
to a more humanizing conceptualised one. In line with this, Oladipo (1996:1) notes that
development is: a process of economic and social advancement which enables people to
realize their potentials, build self-confidence and lead lives of dignity and fulfilment. It is a
process aimed at freeing people from evils of want, ignorance, social injustice and economic
exploitation. Todar and Smith (2003) identify three objectives of development:
1. To increase the availability and widen the distribution of basic life sustaining goods such
as food, shelter, health and protection.
2. To raise levels of living in addition to higher incomes, the provision of more jobs, better
education, and greater attention to cultural and human values, all of which will serve not
only enhance material well-being but also to generate greater individual and national selfesteem.
3. To expand the range of economic and social choices available to individuals and nations
by freeing them from servitude and dependence, not only in relation to other people and
nation- states but also to the forces of ignorance and human misery.
Development Communication Perspectives
Development communication can be looked at from two perspectives in terms of the use of
communication channels. The narrower concept of “development journalism” refers to the
use of mass communication (the mass media) in the promotion of development.
Development communication on the other hand is broader in shape and makes use of all
forms of communication in the development process. In other words, it employs not only
the mass media, but also interpersonal channels, group or public means of communication
and the traditional channels of communication.
Quebral (1975) cited in Anaeto&Anaeto (2010), 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 a state of poverty to a more dynamic state of economic
growth which make possible greater social equality and the larger fulfillment of the human
potentials. It is observed that development communication is a purposeful communication
effort geared towards realisation of human potentials and transformation from a bad
situation to a good one. That is why Moemeka (1991) defines development communication
as the application of the process of communication to the development process. Coldevin
(1987) notes that development communication mobilises people to participate in
development activities. He defines development communication as “the systematic
utilisation of appropriate communication channels and techniques to increase people’s
participation in development and to inform, motivate, and train rural populations, mainly
at the grassroots level. This is in line with Balifs (1988:13) definition, which sees
development communication as a social process aimed at producing a common
understanding or a consensus among the participants in a development initiative. Some
definitions specifically emphasise on social change. Okunna (2002) sees development
communication as the entire process of communication with a specific group of people who
require development (target audience), with the purpose of achieving the social change that
should change their lives in a positive way, thus giving them better living conditions.
Similar point was emphasised by Middleton and Wedeneyer (1985), describing development
communication as any series of planned communication activities aimed at individual and
social change; and by Rogers (1976:93) as the application of communication with a view to
socioeconomic development. As for the expression “development communication”, it was
apparently first used in the Phillippines in the 1970 by Professor Nora Quebral to designate
the process for transmitting and communicating new knowledge related to rural
environments (Srampickal, 2006). The fields of knowledge were then extended to all those
likely to help improve the living conditions of the disadvantaged people. The concepts of
communication and development are central to our understanding of development
communication. In development communication, the main reason of communication is to
bring about or expedite the process of development. Communication is necessary for
development because it helps to mobilise people’s participation. Communication is a
common denominator for development and participation. It is for this reason that FAO says
that communication is the key to human development and the thread that binds people
together (1994:5).
Types of Participatory Communication
Participation can be used as a goal or as a tool for specific projects. The four categories
below refer to different levels of participation and communication:
Passive Participation
The stakeholders of a project essentially act as “empty vessels” and receive information.
Feedback is minimal if at all and participation is assessed through methods such as head
Participation by Consultation
Researchers or “experts” pose questions to the stakeholders. Input can be provided at
different points in time but the final analysis and decision-making power lies in the hands
of the external professionals whom may or may not take the stakeholders decisions into
Participation by Collaboration
Groups of primary stakeholders are formed in order to participate in discussion and
analysis. Objectives are predetermined. This method incorporates components of horizontal
communication and capacity building among all stakeholders.
Empowerment Participation
Primary stakeholders are capable and willing to become involved in the process and take
part in decision-making. Outsiders are equal partners, but the stakeholders make the final
decisions as ownership and control of the process rests in their hands. Knowledge
exchange leads to solutions.
Communication based analysis:
Communication based analysis: research method probing empirical evidence and
stakeholders’ perceptions in order to assess the socio-political situation, cultural dynamics,
identify opportunities, and risks.
CBA Main Features
Identifies roadblocks for a project;
Assess the socio-political and cultural environment around the project;
Segments audiences based on their positions;
Assesses communication capacity of government, media, and others involved;
Identifies partners and local communication professionals;
Develops strategic guidelines for future communication plan
Development Communication Helps Overcome Obstacles to Change and Reform through:
Two-way (cyclic) communication: both informing and listening
Building consensus and active constituencies
Building local capacity to communicate development issues
Creating social ownership
1.5 Communication for Development, participation and human development
Success in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the broader global
development agenda of democratic governance and human development is dependent in large
part on the extent to which national planning processes are informed by all sections of society.
This means the involvement of the poor and more marginalized people as well as those who are
better off. Participation processes determine significantly whose voices are heard and amplified
and whoseare muted. Broader and more equal participation reflecting society as a whole is
considered a prerequisite for more responsive and democratic governance and sustainable
development. Such participation can only take place if the information needs of all citizens are
met and the voices of those most affected by policy decisions are heard. Access to clear, reliable
and appropriate information is necessary for citizens to make informed decisions and to
influence policy processes that affect their lives. Communication for development processes can
therefore be seen as essential for effectiveparticipation and central to enhancing human
The rapid spread of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in recent years is
transforming how people communicate and exchange information with each other and having a
consequent impact on the dynamics of social, political and economic life. However, not all
sections of society are able to take advantage of these opportunities. While the expansion of ICTs
open up many opportunities for public participation, they can also serve to widen the gap
between the poor andbetter off – between those with access and the skills to use the new
technologies and those without – thus limiting the potential to enhance human development.
Communication for development as a practice seeks to provide a framework through which the
most appropriate actions can be taken to empower communities and to make policy makers
more accountable. Sometimes ICT fordevelopment may be the best approach, while at other
times the most effective solution may simply involve bringing people together for discussion
without the use of technology.
1.6Approaches to Communication for Development
There are four main ‘strands’ / approaches within C4D. These include
(i) Behaviour change communication;
(ii) Communication for social change;
(iii) Advocacy communication; and
(iv) Strengthening an enabling media and communication environment.
1.7.1 Behavior Change Communication (BCC)
Behavior Change Communication (BCC) is an “interactive process for developing messages
and approaches using a mix of communication channels in order to encourage and sustain
positive and appropriate behaviors”.
This is probably the best-known approach, as it has been used widely in development
programmes since the 1950s. BCC envisages social change and individual change as two
sides of the same coin. It has evolved from information, education and communication (IEC)
programmes to promote more tailored messages, greater dialogue and increased ownership
together with a focus on aiming for, and achieving health-enhancing results. BCC is
regarded as an essential element of many health-related programmes, particularly
HIV/AIDS programmes.It has been argued that a central aspect of the relationship between
communication and behaviour is ‘ideation’ – the spread of new ways of thinking through
communication and social interaction in local, culturally-defined communities.
1.7.2 Communication for Social Change (CFSC)
Communication for Social Change (CFSC) emphasizes the notion of dialogue as central to
development and the need to facilitate poor people’s participation and empowerment.
CFSC uses participatory approaches. It stresses the importance of horizontal
communication, the role of people as agents of change, and the need for negotiating skills
and partnerships. CFSC focuses on dialogue processes through which people can overcome
obstacles and identify ways to help them achieve the goals they set for themselves. Through
these processes of public and private dialogue, all members of community and civil society
– women, men and children – define who they are, what they want and need and what has
to be changed for them to have a better life.A CFSC approach focuses on moving towards
collective community action and long-term social change and away from individual
CFSC is guided by principles of tolerance, self-determination, equity, social justice and
active participation. Elements of the CFSC process include catalyst, community problem
recognition, community dialogue, planning and collective action.
Diffusion of Innovation Theory and development communication
One of the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea. It … makes you think
that after all, your favorite notions may be wrong, your firmest beliefs ill-founded …
Naturally; therefore, common men hate a new idea, and are disposed more or less to illtreattheoriginalmanwhobringsit.
-Walter Bagehot Physics and Politics
Definition of Diffusion of Innovation
In his comprehensive book Diffusion of Innovation, Everett Rogers defines diffusion as the
process by which an innovation is communicated through certain channels over time
among the members of a social system. Rogers’ definition contains four elements that are
present in the diffusion of innovation process. The four main elements are:
(1) Innovation – an idea, practices, or objects that is perceived as knew by an individual or
other unit of adoption.
(2) Communication channels – the means by which messages get from one individual to
(3) Time – the three time factors are:
(a)innovation-decision process
(b) relative time with which an innovation is adopted by an individual or group.
(c) innovation’s rate of adoption.
(4) Social system – a set of interrelated units that are engaged in joint problem solving to
accomplish a common goal.
Make a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to our door.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Background on Diffusion of Innovation
The original diffusion research was done as early as 1903 by the French sociologist Gabriel
Tarde who plotted the original S-shaped diffusion curve. Tarde’s 1903 S-shaped curve is of
current importance because “most innovations have an S-shaped rate of adoption”. (Rogers,
1983) The variance lies in the slope of the “S”. Some new innovations diffuse rapidly
creating a steep S-curve; other innovations have a slower rate of adoption, creating a more
gradual slope of the S-curve. The rate of adoption, or diffusion rate has become an
important area of research to sociologists, and more specifically, to advertisers. In the
1940’s, two sociologists, Bryce Ryan and Neal Gross “published their seminal study of the
diffusion of hybrid seed among Iowa farmers” renewing interest in the diffusion of
innovation S-curve. The now infamous hybrid-corn study resulted in a renewed wave of
research. “The rate of adoption of the agricultural innovation followed an S-shaped normal
curve when plotted on a cumulative basis over time”. This rate of adoption curve was
similar to the S-shaped diffusion curve graphed by Tarde forty years earlier.Ryan and Gross
classified the segments of Iowa farmers in relation to the amount of time it took them to
adopt the innovation, in this case, the hybrid corn seed. The five segments of farmers who
adopted the hybrid corn seed or adopter categories are:
(1) Innovators,
(2) Early adopters,
(3) Early majority,
(4) Late majority, and
(5) Laggards.
“The first farmers to adopt (the innovators) were more cosmopolite (indicated by traveling
more frequently to Des Moines) and of higher socioeconomic status than later adopters”.
One of the most important characteristics of the first segment of a population to adopt an
innovation, the innovators, is that they require a shorter adoption period than any other
category. Rogers identifies several additional characteristics dominant in the innovator type:
(1) Venturesome, desire for the rash, the daring, and the risky,
(2) Control of substantial financial resources to absorb possible loss from an unprofitable
(3) The ability to understand and apply complex technical knowledge, and
(4) The ability to cope with a high degree of uncertainty about an innovation.
Characteristics Rogers identified in the Early Adopters:
(1) integrated part of the local social system,
(2) Greatest degree of opinion leadership in most systems,
(3) serve as role model for other members or society,
(4) Respected by peers, and
(5) Successful.
Characteristics Rogers identified in the Early Majority:
(1) Interact frequently with peers,
(2) Seldom hold positions of opinion leadership,
(3) One-third of the members of a system, making the early majority the largest category.
(4) Deliberate before adopting a new idea.
Characteristics Rogers identified in the Late Majority:
(1) One-third of the members of a system,
(2) Pressure from peers,
(3) Economic necessity,
(4) Skeptical, and
(5) Cautious.
Characteristics Rogers identified in the Laggards:
(1) Possess no opinion leadership,
(2) Isolates,
(3) Point of reference in the past,
(4) Suspicious of innovations,
(5) innovation-decision process is lengthy, and
(6) Resources are limited.
Although additional names and titles for the adopters of an innovation have been used in
other research studies, Everett Rogers labels for the five adopter categories are the preferred
or standard for the industry. Moreover, the specific characteristics that Rogers’ identifies for
each adopter category is of significance to advertisers interested in creating an integrated
marketing plan targeting a specific audience. Ideas confine a man to certain social groups
and social groups confine a man to certain ideas. Many ideas are more easily changed by
aiming at a group than by aiming at an individual.
-Josephine Klein, Working with Groups: The Social Psychology of Discussion and Decision
The Adoption Process
In his book Diffusion of Innovations, Rogers defines the diffusion process as one “which is
the spread of a new idea from its source of invention or creation to its ultimate users or
adopters”. Rogers differentiates the adoption process from the diffusion process in that the
diffusion process occurs within society, as a group process; whereas, the adoption process
is pertains to an individual. Rogers defines “the adoption process as the mental process
through which an individual passes from first hearing about an innovation to final
Five Stages of Adoption
Rogers breaks the adoption process down into five stages. Although, more or fewer stages
may exist, Rogers says that “at the present time there seem to be five main functions”. The
five stages are:
(1) Awareness,
(2) Interest,
(3) Evaluation,
(4) Trial, and
(5) Adoption.
In the awareness stage “the individual is exposed to the innovation but lacks complete
information about it”. At the interest or information stage “the individual becomes
interested in the new idea and seeks additional information about it”. At the evaluation
stage the “individual mentally applies the innovation to his present and anticipated future
situation, and then decides whether or not to try it”. During the trial stage “the individual
makes full use of the innovation”. At the adoption stage “the individual decides to continue
the full use of the innovation”. Why is the Adoption Process of any relevance to advertisers?
The purpose of marketing and advertising is to increase sells, which hopefully results in
increased profits. It is through analyzing and understanding the adoption process that
social scientists, marketers and advertisers are able to develop a fully integrated marketing
and communication plan focused at a predetermined stage of the adoption process.
Be not the first by who the new is tried, nor the last to lay the old aside.
-Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism, Part II
Rejection and Discontinuance
Of course, as Rogers points out, an innovation may be rejected during any stage of the
adoption process. Rogers defines rejection as a decision not to adopt an innovation.
Rejection is not to be confused from discontinuance. Discontinuance is a rejection that
occurs after adoption of the innovation. Rogers synopses many of the significant research
findings on discontinuance. Many “discountenances occur over a relatively short time
period” and few of the “discountenances were caused by supersedence of a superior
innovation replacing a previously adopted idea”. One of the most significant findings was
research done by Johnson and Vandan Ban (1959): The relatively later adopters had twice
as many discountenances as the earlier adopters. Previous researchers had assumed that
later adopters were relatively less innovative because they did not adopt or were relatively
slow to adopt innovations. This evidence suggests the later adopters may adopt, but then
discontinue at a later point in time.
Rogers identifies two types of discontinuance:
(1) Disenchantment discontinuance – a decision to reject an idea as a result of
dissatisfaction with it’s performance, and
(2) Replacement discontinuance – a decision to reject an idea in order to adopt a better idea.
One must learn by doing the thing, for though you think you know it, you have no certainty
until you try.
-Sophocles, 400 BC
The Innovation – Decision Process
Rogers defines the innovation-decision process as the “process through which an individual
(or other decision making unit such as a group, society, economy, or country) passes
through the innovation-decision process”.
There are five stages in the Innovation-Decision Process:
(1) From first knowledge of innovation,
(2) To forming an attitude toward the innovation,
(3) To a decision to adopt or reject,
(4) To implementation of the new idea,
(5) To confirmation of this decision.
It should be noted that prior conditions affect the innovation-decision process. Prior
conditions such as:
(1) Previous practice,
(2) Felt needs/problems,
(3) Innovativeness, and
(4) Norms of the social systems.
The first stage of the innovation-decision process entails seeking one or more of three types
of knowledge about the innovation. Rogers describes these as:
1. Awareness knowledge is information that an innovation exists.
2. How-to-knowledge consists of the information necessary to use an innovation
properly, and
3. Principles knowledge consists of information dealing with the functioning principles
underlying how the innovation works.
Rogers states that awareness and knowledge of an innovation can be made most efficiently
through mass media. It will be interesting in twenty years or so, to ascertain if mass media
will still be considered the most efficient means to create product awareness and
knowledge. The following chart identifies seven characteristics consistently found in `early
knowers’. These characteristics should be taken into consideration when targeting the early
or late knowers segment of the population.
1 Earlier knowers of an innovation have more formal education than later knowers.
2 Earlier knowers of an innovation have higher socioeconomic status than late knowers.
3 Earlier knowers of an innovation have more exposure to mass media channels of
communication than later knowers.
4 Earlier knowers of an innovation have more exposure to interpersonal channels than
later knowers.
5 Earlier knowers of an innovation have more change agent contact than later knowers.
6 Earlier knowers of an innovation have more social participation than later knowers.
7 Earlier knowers of an innovation have more cosmopolite than later knowers.
The knowledge stage of the innovation-decision process is of great value to advertisers
because at this vulnerable stage of the innovation-decision process, advertisers are able to
create an impressionable impact on their target audience. Advertisers should focus their
efforts on creating awareness and knowledge when promoting a new product or innovation.
Consequences of Innovations
Before concluding our discussion on the innovation-decision process, it is important to
consider the consequences or changes that occur to an individual or to a social system as a
result of the adoption or rejection of an innovation. Rogers identifies three consequences or
(1) Desirable versus undesirable consequences
(2) Direct versus indirect consequences, and
(3) Anticipated versus unanticipated consequences.
Diffusion research is emerging as a single, integrated body of concepts and generalizations,
even though the investigations are conducted by researchers in several scientific
disciplines. -Everett M. Rogers with F. Floyd Shoemaker (1971), Communications of
Innovations: A Cross-Cultural Approach.
For the most part, the world of advertising is concerned with the diffusion of innovation
process in terms of how such research studies can facilitate product adoption and therefore
market segmentation. But it should be mentioned that additional research exists on the
diffusion of innovation theory in other scientific disciplines, such as economic development
and in the technological sector.
The Process of Innovation
In The Innovative Choice: An Economic Analysis of the Dynamics of Technology, Mario
Amendola and Jean-Luc Gafford compare the process of innovation with the diffusion of
innovation as “the extent and the speed at which the economy proceed to adopt a superior
technique.” The concern is on how the economy adjusts or `diffuses’ to the new technology.
This adjustment or diffusion can be instantaneous or gradual. Amendola explains a `new’,
expanded interpretation of the process of innovation has emerged. Less emphasis is on the
actual absorption of a given technology, and more importance is placed on the actual
process through which a new technology is developed step by step. “The economy, in this
context, no longer adjusts passively to the technology but becomes the instrument for
determining the extent, the nature and the articulation through time of the development of
the technology.” (Amendola, 1988)
Although, we are most concerned with how the diffusion of innovation theory relates to the
field of advertising, it is meaningful to give a brief description of other existing research that
is based on and integrates the diffusion on innovation process into its’ study. A slow
advance in the beginning, followed by rapid and uniformly accelerated progress, followed
again by progress that continues to slacken until it finally stops: These are the three ages
of…invention…if taken as a guide by the statistician and by the sociologists, (they) would
save many illusions.
-Gabriel Tarde, The Laws of Imitation, p 127.
Five Stages of the Diffusion Process
In his book Inventive Activity, Diffusion, and Stages of Economic Growth, Stanislav Gomulka
identifies five stages of technological growth that any economy in the world can be divided.
They are:
(1) by and large balanced growth at a low rate,
(2) transition phase of gradually increasing the characteristic rate of growth.(Gomulka
states that there are four characteristic rates of growth),
(3) high level of roughly semi-balanced growth,
(4) transition phase of gradually decreasing characteristic rate of growth,
(5) by and large balanced growth at a relatively low rate, possibly close to the rate of growth
of the country’s population.
The first stage.
In this phase of development the technological sector as well as the level of technology are
in their “embryonic” stages. Both the share and rate of growth are low. The society is
frequently faced with a great scarcity of primary commodities, living on a low level of
subsistence, and with a lack of medical facilities (Gomulko 1971). Although the birth rate is
high, the expansion rate of the technological sector is almost zero. There are two channels
for diffusion to a less developed country. The first channel for diffusion is the exchange of
knowledge and the second channel for diffusion is innovations from other countries. For
either one of these channels to be utilized, so that the diffusion rate of a less developed
country expands, is dependent upon two factors:
(1) the degree of openness and receptivity from the underdeveloped country, and
(2) the rate of growth of exports.
The `degree of openness and receptivity’ of an underdeveloped country is influenced by
three main conditions:
(1) transportation sectors within the country,
(2) communication sectors within the country, and
(3) the general education levels of the population.
All of these conditions tend to be low in underdeveloped nations. Low levels of
transportation, communication, and education produces a low degree of openness, making
the less developed country almost closed to the diffusion process. Gomulka summarizes
that the above hypothesis of a low rate of growth during the first stage can be due to the
following three main reasons:
(1) low rate of growth of the total population,
(2) very limited growth of the technological sector,
(3) relatively little communication with more advanced countries.
The second stage.
The rate of growth of the total population gradually begins to accelerate due to increased
knowledge and achievement of a certain level of technology. The increased knowledge and
technology achievement is due to improvements in food production and medical facilities.
“New expanded supply and demand by society necessitates a larger absorption of foreignmade
innovations and augmentation of the technological sector.” (Gomulka 1971)
The third stage.
The third stage is a continuation of the growth rate at the end of the second stage. Growth
is brought about by the high rate of growth of the technological sector and/or by massive
The fourth stage.
The rapid rate of the third stage decreases due to an exhaustion of one or more of the
growth rate variables.
The fifth stage.
The fifth stage is congruent with the growth of the country when it:
(a) is already a part of the technologically leading area of the world,
(b) expansion of the economy follows growth of the country’s population. The growth of the
country’s population is the independent variable, or principal determinant of the former.
Just as the adoption process relates to market segmentation, Gomulka presents an
example of how the diffusion process can be applied to the economy and technological
levels of less developed countries.
The New Learning about Innovation
Mark Dodgson and John Bessant in their book “Effective Innovation Policy: A New
Approach” recognize that `success’ in innovation is not simply a matter of moving a
resource from A to B, but “the capability on the part of the recipient to do something useful
with that resource”, in other words, to innovate effectively. Dodgson and Bessant
acknowledge that innovation is not an “instantaneous event, but a time-based process
involving several stages”. They have identified these stages as:
(1) initial recognition of opportunity or need,
(2) search,
(3) comparison,
(4) selection,
(5) acquisition,
(6) implementation, and
(7) long-term use (involving learning and development).
Communication for advocacy
Advocacy communication involves organized actions aimed at influencing the political
climate, policy and programme decisions, public perceptions of social norms, funding
decisions and community support and empowerment regarding specific issues. It is a
means of seeking change in governance, power relations, social relations, attitudes and
even institutional functioning. Through ongoing advocacy processes, policy makers and
political and social leaders at all levels are influenced to create and sustain enabling policy
and legislative environments and to allocate resources equitably.
Strengthening an enabling media and communication environment
This approach emphasizes that strengthening communication capacities, including
professional and institutional infrastructure, is necessary to enable:
i) A free, independent and pluralist media that serves the public interest;
ii) Broad public access to a variety of communication media and channels,
including community media;
iii) A non-discriminating regulatory environment for the broadcasting sector;
iv) Media accountability systems; and
v) Freedom of expression in which all groups are able to voice opinion and
participate in development debates and decision-making processes.
Communication plays a central role in changing the behaviour of individuals and groups
when combined with the development of appropriate skills and capacities and the provision
of an enabling environment. Communication also plays a key role in behavioral
development, (process of putting habits and attitudes that result in desired / healthy
behavior). Communication needs to be understood and used as a process – and not simply
a collection of print materials, radio commercials and television ads – to change what
people think and do.C4D prioritizes communication systems and processes that enable
people to deliberate and speak out on issues important to their own well-being. Its role in
this empowerment processes helps distinguish Communication for Development from other
forms of communication, for example, corporate and internal communications.
Guiding principles for Communication for development
C4D (communication for development) is a broad ranging concept based on key principles;
these are that
· C4D is participatory in all aspects of content production and dissemination
· It is communication that originates from the ‘subjects’ of the communication itself,
· It is not at its inception mediated, translated or editorialized by external parties
such as the mass media or intermediaries,
· In its distribution it may be repackaged by these parties, but only as a redistribution
· It is bottom-up and inclusive.
Communication role is not restricted to media and dissemination—that it is also concerned
with “involving people in the diagnosis of needs and in the design and implementation of
selected activities.” To be effective in that task, a specialist in this field should be familiar
not only with communication do’s and don’ts but should have broad analytical skills and
be able to use communication methods to assess the cultural, political, and social context.
A communication specialist, when called in to assist in development projects and programs,
should always ask why a certain issue is occurring and what kind of communication is
needed to address it effectively.
Development communication is divided into two basic modes, or families’ i.e.
· The “monologic” mode, based on the classical one-way communication model
associated with diffusion, and
· The “dialogic”mode, based on the interactive two-way model, associated with
participatory approaches.
The two modes serve different purposes, but they are not mutually exclusive and can often
be used in a complementary way.
Monologic Mode: One-Way Communication for Behavior Change
The monologic mode is linked to the development communication perspective known as
“diffusion.” It is based on the one-way flow of information for the purpose of disseminating
information and messages to induce change. Its main intentions can be divided into two
different types of applications:
1. Communication to inform (or simply “information,” and
2. Communication to persuade.
Communication to inform” typically involves a linear transmission of information, usually
from a sender to many receivers. It is used when raising awareness or providing knowledge
on certain issues is considered enough to achieve the intended goal (for example, informing
a community about the activities of a project or informing the public about a reform coming
into effect).In other instances, the dissemination of information is only a temporary stage to
be reached in a longer process aimed at achieving behavior changes. This modality can be
labeled “communication to persuade.”
Approaches in communication for behavior change use methods and media to persuade
individuals to adopt specific practices or behaviors. These approaches are frequently used
in health initiatives. Communication for behavior change aims to foster positive behavior;
promote and sustain individual, community, and societal behavior change; and maintain
appropriate behavior. Its underlying assumption is that individual attitudes and behaviors
can be changed voluntarily through communication and persuasion techniques and the
related use of effective messages. Since the approaches, methods, and media used for this
modality rely mostly on the one-way model, the mode of referred to as monologic
Dialogic Mode: Two-Way Communication for Engagement and Discovery
The dialogic mode is associated with the emerging participatory paradigm. It is based on
the horizontal, two-way model of communication, creating a constructive environment
where stakeholders can participate in the definition of problems and solutions.
The main purposes of this model can be divided into two broad types of applications; i.e.
(1) Communication to assess; and
(2) Communication to empower.
This categorization helps one to understand the way in which the ultimate scope of the
communication interventions shapes the choice of communication approaches, methods,
and models of reference. Both of these types of applications take a radical turn away from
the common conception of communication, since they do not involve any dissemination of
information or messages. The scope of the two type of application is often closely
intertwined; with the ultimate use of dialogic communication being to ensure mutual
understanding and explore a situation, hence becoming the best tool to facilitate
empowerment.”Communication to assess” is used as a research and analytical tool that
can be used effectively to investigate any issue, well beyond those strictly related to the
communication dimension.
The power of dialogic communication is applied to engage stakeholders in exploring,
uncovering, and assessing key issues, opportunities, and risks of both a technical and
political nature.Take an example such as building a bridge to link two communities
separated by the river. A communication-based assessment prior to the project would probe
the knowledge, perceptions, and positions of local stakeholders on the intended initiative.
Unless probed through two-way communication, the identified technical course might
neglect important aspects that could lead to problems or conflicts, for example by local
fishermen who see their livelihoods endangered.This use of two-way communication
engages experts and local stakeholders in the problem-analysis and problem-solving
process leading to change. Active listening becomes as important as talking. In a way, it
could be said that dialogic communication is not used to inform but to truly
“communicate”—that is, to share perceptions and create new knowledge.
Dialog should be understood as a process where “participants come together in a safe space
to understand each other’s viewpoint in order to develop new options to address a
commonly identified problem. In dialog, the intention is not to advocate but to inquire; not
to argue but to explore; not to convince but to discover. Similar notion applies to the other
typology of the dialogic mode, that is, “communication to empower.” When used to facilitate
the active engagement of stakeholders, the dialogic feature of communication enhances the
capacities of all groups, especially the most marginalized ones, and addresses the issue of
poverty in a community.
· Dialogic communication is not only effective as a problem-solving tool, but it also
builds confidence, prevent conflicts, and addresses the issue of poverty by engaging
the poorest and most marginal sectors in the process concerning issues of relevance
to them.
· By involving the poor in the assessment of problems and solutions, by engaging
them, and not just the experts, in the decision-making process, and by making the
voices of the poor heard, the dialogic mode can address and reduce one key
dimension of poverty: social exclusion.
The overall goal of the dialogic mode is to ensure mutual understanding and to make the
best use of all possible knowledge in assessing the situation, building consensus, and
looking for appropriate solutions. By facilitating dialog with key stakeholders, this type of
communication enhances the analysis and minimizes risks. On the other hand, the
primary scope of the monologic mode emerges especially when information needs to be
packaged and disseminated to address specific needs and gaps.
2.2 Features of communication modes
Monologic Mode Dialogic Mode
Compare and
to inform
to persuade
to asses
to empower
Main purpose To raise
awareness or
knowledge of
key audience
To change
attitudes and
behaviours of
key audience
To asses, probe
and analyze the
To involve
stakeholders in
decision over
key issues
Model of
One way model
One way model
Two way model
Two way model
methods and
mass media
mass media
Wide range of
methods to
Use of dialogue
to promote
Development is about change and about people. Each of the communication types
presented in table above is a means to bring about change. Methods to achieve change,
however, may vary according to the perspective, situation, and overall scope of the
initiative. Even if past experiences indicate that the mere dissemination of information
seldom achieves the intended change, properly packaged message dissemination may be
effective in a number of cases, such as the prevention of the spread of pandemic illnesses
or for explaining the benefits of a public reform. On the other hand, two-way
communication is more indicated in achieving mutual understanding, building trust, and
uncovering and generating knowledge, leading to better results.
Community Media and Development
Community media is any form of media that is created and controlled by a community,
either a geographic community or a community of identity or interest. Community media is
a crucial element in development process. The role of any media in promoting good causes
is indispensable. However, in some cases, media may fail to play that role. This could
happen because there are political or financial pressures, or lack of knowledge, interest and
understanding of certain issues. Even more, they are essential when it comes to giving
voice to particular social groups and communities, notably those disadvantaged. It’s a
platform which enables the “voiceless” to have a “voice”. The media systems usually stand
in-between public broadcasting and private media outlets, i.e. they often fill the void left by
larger corporate media entities that operate under different imperatives that may not
include the underrepresented or marginalized populations in a society.
Community media exist in many countries in all continents. Community media enables
marginalized communities to speak about issues that concern them at the local level,
creating linkages between development, democracy and community media. This presents a
snap-shot of community needs and aspirations and allows a community to map its future
using the bottom-up approach.More so, community media offers space for creativity and is
also a tool for empowerment. Besides it’s able to integrate different mediums of
communication e.g. drama, song and dance, storytelling, puppetry, radio listenership
groups and community radio stations.
Community media can help contextualize national development programs within
community frameworks and bring these goals closer to their intended beneficiaries. In
promoting democratic processes, effective local media can also help people understand the
history and evolution of oppression or discrimination and give them the necessary
perspective to make rational choices to emerge from it. With this information, people have
the means to participate in democratic processes and shape their own futures locally and
nationally. Community Media foster the freedom of expression and information, the
development of culture, the freedom to form and confront opinions and active participation
in local life.
Defining Characteristics of community media
There are four key characteristics that are common to the community media described.
However no one organization can fulfill all these ideals all the time:
1. Localism
Community media are created primarily with and by residents of a specific geographic
place. They explore local issues. They help define the places where we live and how we
relate to one another. They reflect local values and culture. By definition, community
media “can’t be outsourced.”
2. Diverse Participation
Community media are mission-driven, in service to the broader community. They insist
on the inclusion of diverse voices within the community, and their production and
distribution processes emphasize community participation. They seek representation of
the range of demographics of its citizens – social, economic, ethnic, cultural, political,
age – in their programming. And that programming is not merely about the community;
it is created in collaboration with the community.
3. Storytelling and Deliberation
As both process and content, storytelling is central to community media and can jumpstart
a deliberative process among community members. It combats alienation and
isolation by allowing audience members to express their story as well as live in someone
else’s shoes. It allows participants and viewers to derive broader meaning from personal
experience and provides in-depth coverage of issues on an intimate level.
4. Empowerment
One goal of community media is to challenge notions conveyed in mainstream media.
Accomplishing this requires putting communication tools in the hands of individuals,
sharing access with nonprofessionals, and supporting self-expression and community
building. Community media institutions engage in empowerment in different ways.
Many offer training programs to build the capacity of community members to use media
technologies while others emphasize economic and workforce development through
skills training and content production. By enabling citizens to make and understand
media, community media become a tool for personal, community, and ethnic expression
and development. They may even inspire audiences to take action leading to political
Different Types of Community Media
Promotion of different kinds of community media depends on the particular circumstances
of the different communities. These are examined below.
1. Community Radio: As everyone recognizes, rural radio is an especially appropriate
tool for reaching large groups, or groups beyond the immediate vicinity. The freeing
of the airwaves makes access to radio a strong reality.
Community Radio is a third tier of radio, distinct from Public and Commercial Radio.
Community Radio stations are locally owned and accountable to their audience.
They operate on public service principles for community benefit and are non-profit
distributing. Community Radio stations are run by local people, mostly volunteers
and they enable communities to use the medium of radio to create new opportunities
for regeneration, employment, learning, social cohesion and inclusion as well as
cultural and creative expression.
Radio has enormous advantages for community use. The technology offers wide
choices to suit different spatial requirements for transmission. It affords easy
collection, recording and playback of events and issues. Radio can also cover several
villages or scattered communities at no extra cost. The low literacy rates also make it
still the most efficient and accessible mass medium.
The use of community radio should also be combined with field work to ensure that
communication flows in both directions: in this case, radio can both follow and
support a communication initiative being undertaken at the same time, or it can be
made an integral part of that initiative as a means for allowing people to express
2. Newspapers, magazines: Community newspapers and magazines are an important
component of community media. Experience shows that they can be used effectively
for mobilisation for development, through organized reading clubs and meetings.
However, the generally high illiteracy rate, especially in rural and poor communities,
makes print media an ambiguous proposition. Literacy rates are even lower in
indigenous languages. However, their use encourages interest in literacy among the
non-literate. Community print materials offer the literate a resource for improving
their reading skills. For print media to be most relevant, they must be published in
the local languages.
3. Video: By the virtue of being audio-visual, video has strong qualities of effectiveness
in imparting knowledge and skills that other media do not have. It facilitates
recording current events and group activities for recall better than do others, and it
is thus a medium with greater potential for credibility for non-literate people. Video
is recommended strongly to support training, educational and development
However, as a medium for communities, video has severe limitations. Without
broadcasting and production on television through transmitters that reach larger
audiences, video is usually limited to small groups at a time. This means that many
units would be required to meet the needs of many communities, or even groups in
individual communities at a higher cost. The main consumable, the tapes, is also
costly. Maintenance also makes extraneous demands.
4. Audio tapes: Using audio tapes for community projects has the potential for
reaching audiences as groups or as individuals. Their use for group listening,
feedback and production is the preferred approach. This creates an atmosphere for
dialogue, discussion, and the promotion of understanding and a culture of healthy
debate. Audio tapes can be an effective facility for education in a range of issues
from health, agriculture, voter or elections awareness to community management.
This medium, however, raises some issues pertaining to production and resources.
As the community’s needs increase, production on a corresponding scale would
require appropriate facilities, e.g. a studio with more sophisticated equipment.
5. Music, drama, and puppets: Most villages have informal or formal groups of
performing artists. Religious groups such as churches have choirs and some schools
have drama clubs. Drama groups performing professionally also exist. These forms
of media can be popular and facilitate educational programmes of awareness raising,
influence behaviour formation and contribute to perception change. However, they
are most beneficial as complementary or supplementary elements. Though live
performances are limited to one audience at a time, they are effective and encourage
interpersonal encounters and participation. These forms also unearth creative
talents. They can become more widely accessible if performances are produced and
broadcast through other media such as radio, video and audio tapes.
6. Community Internet: Community-based applications and the Internet have taken
off with the emergence of easy to installand use email and web-browsing software
coupled with growing awareness and reducing costs of Internet access. Unlike
traditional media, which broadcast from one source to many listeners, the Internet is
by its nature a two-way interactive medium. It presents exciting new opportunities
for Community Media whether as a stand-alone medium or linked to other media
such as radio and television. Early community-based Internet projects have provided
a platform for local organisations, a gateway to local information, news and listings,
and a networking service for groups and individuals.
Importance of Community Media (How it changes lives)
Community Media has the power to change lives:
1. It contributes to social inclusion by reaching hard-to-reach groups through
accessible broadcasts, training and employment opportunities.
2. It promotes Community Cohesion by offering a common platform on which diverse
and common interests can be shared and understood.
3. It contributes to neighborhood renewal or in development of initiatives by enabling
people to engage with regeneration initiatives in local communities.
4. It encourages volunteering and community participation by involving local people in
the production of programmes and the management and operation of community
media projects.
5. It promotes lifelong learning through vocational training for people of all ages,
backgrounds and abilities.
6. It contributes to local democracy by promoting an informed citizenship, facilitating
dialogue between communities and elected representatives and enabling meaningful
participation in electoral processes.
7. It encourages the expression and dissemination of local culture
8. It contributes to media literacy by enabling members of the public to directly engage
with, produce and understand the media.
9. It facilitates grassroots access to information communication technologies by
enabling local people to use the internet and learn computer literacy skills in friendly
and supportive environments. Community Media projects also enable communities
to deliver information and programming on new technological platforms like
broadband and wireless technologies.
Community Media has a lot to offer to those that participate in it and those who are able to
support it.
Problems and Challenges of community media
The main challenges confronting existing community media, and efforts to initiate new
projects, include the traditional problems of funding, running costs, management, human
resources, and the social environments of the communities. Other issues have to do with
the legal and policy regimes of the countries concerned. These affect the functioning of
media and communication and have a bearing on the establishment and operation of
community media as well.
One of the difficult social questions that obstruct community media is illiteracy. The
consequences of this are that print media development is hindered and human resources
for producing media messages and adding to creative productions are severely limited.
Illiteracy also hampers versatility in the use of new communication technologies by
members of communities.
Information communication technologies for poverty reduction and development
New information and communication technologies (ICTs) have become critical enablers for
sustained human development. The current wave of globalization – the trend towards
worldwide integration of markets- is spurred by the development of information and
communication technologies (ICTs), including the Internet, mobile phones and satellite
networks. Rapid growth of ICT usage in high-income countries is raising concerns about a
“digital divide” emerging between rich and poor nations.
The Complex Nature of Poverty
Progress in understanding of the complexity and interdependence of the causes of
persistent and widespread poverty offer an entry point for understanding where, and how,
ICTs might help address it.
It is increasingly clear that some individuals, families, and groups tend to remain in
poverty. In addition, there are, at any given time, significant flows into and out of poverty.
Flows into poverty are the joint product of economic decline and the shocks and
vulnerabilities particular to the poor. Conversely, flows out of poverty are the result of
some combination, particular to a countryand time, of economic growth, opportunities
for the poor, and mitigation of the risks and vulnerabilities that the poor particularly
The poor, lack not only material and financial resources. They lack opportunities to
convert the resources they do possess (their labor, skills and experience, and the
physical resources at their disposal) into value-creating activity (producing either
cash income or other resources valuable to their particular livelihoods.)
They lack information of many sorts and as a result they are information poor.
· First, they lack information (about resources, tools, processes) that could help
them be more productive or about new opportunities to increase their income and
improve their livelihoods.
· They lack information about markets and prices and about the availability and
reliability of persons and institutions on which they depend in their economic
· The poor lack communication opportunities vital to their lives and livelihoods. The
rural poor in particular, who comprise a substantial majority of the world’s poorest,
spend disproportionate amounts of resources that are valuable to them (time and
money, in particular) for essential communications with family, trading partners and
suppliers of economic necessities, health providers, government officials, and others.
· The poor lack access to education and knowledge that could improve their lives
and expand their opportunities. They have extremely limited access to the
increasing stock of global knowledge on agriculture, disease-prevention,
environmental and resource management. They lack access to innovations in
products and processes that could increase their efficiency, help them
economize on their scarce resources, including labor, and make them more
competitive in local, regional, and global markets. They lack access to the
educational opportunities that are widely recognized to be one of the most
important factors in ensuring the transition out of poverty for both individuals and
The poor lack access to capital and to financial resources and services that would
permit them to enter into new value-creating activities. These impediments are
compounded by weak access by the poor to the legal status and documentation for
themselves and the resources they own (including clear title to their land) that would both
enhance their economic opportunities and ensure full access to government services to
which they are entitled.More generally, the poor lack voice and power in the
institutions that affect their lives, even those designed to help them. This not only
deprives them of the opportunity to articulate their specific needs. It also makes
these institutions less responsive and efficient, and more prone to corruption.
The poor are prone to environmental shocks (famine, drought or floods, pests, and even
global climate change) because they have few or no reserves (food stocks, money, and
other valuables) on which to draw when such shocks occur. For these reasons also, and
because of their poor access to health care, the poor are especially vulnerable to
disease. These shocks and vulnerabilities can significantly affect poverty levels in a
country, both by pushing more people into poverty and by blocking the upward rising out
of poverty.
Seeing Poverty through an Information Communication Lens
One of the reasons for the high degree of excitement about the potential of ICT to combat
poverty and promote sustainable development is that it is possible to recognize an
information, communication or knowledge component of virtually every poverty
/development challenge articulated above.It is widely understood that information plays a
vital role in the proper functioning of markets. Yet information flows are crucial to society
more broadly. When information flows poorly, and the poor lack adequate access to
information about rights, services, and opportunities,pubic institutions are often
unresponsive to the needs of the poor, inefficient, and subject to corruption.
When the poor lack information and knowledge about basic hygiene and health issues and
resources, disease deepens and perpetuates their poverty. When poor farmers lack
information about crop prices, new farming techniques, and new markets, they remain
excessively dependent on middlemen, unable to adapt to environmental and market
changes, and unable to get the best yield from their own labor and that of their family.
When information flows poorly both within government institutions and between those
institutions and their stakeholders, those institutions remain inefficient and are more likely
to make poor policies. Their lack of transparency makes them more prone to corruption
and improper influence. When government institutions lack access to information about
their clients and their needs, and to knowledge about broader social and economic
developments, government officials often make short-sighted or self-defeating
decisions.Economic growth is severely constrained in environments where markets and
institutions perform poorly because of weak information, communication and knowledge
flows. Where information flows poorly, and where communication is difficult, investment
and innovation are also scarce. Without adequate information and communications
infrastructure as well as good physical infrastructure, foreign private investment will be
ICT contribution to development
What are ICTS?
Information and communication technologies can be defined as ‘electronic means of
capturing, processing, storing, and communicating information’. ICTs include both the
information infrastructure -wires, transmitters, computers – and the information
technology, i.e. the applications and content that travel through these infrastructure, i.e.
ICTs are based on digital information and comprise computer hardware, software and
Modern ICTs can be described using four characteristics i.e.
(1) Interactivity: For the first time ICTs are effective two-way communication
(2) Permanent availability: The new ICTs are available 24 hours a day.
(3) Global reach: Geographic distances hardly matter anymore.
(4) Reduced costs for many: Relative costs of communication have shrunk to a fraction
of previous values.
Role of ICTs in Development
Generally, the role of ICT in development and consequently poverty reduction can be viewed
from the following three key dimensions
Providing access to relevant information
ICTs can help improve the economic and social situation of people in poverty by enabling
them toobtain relevant information on market prices, weather conditions, medical
assistance, land and political rights as well as welfare or credit schemes;
– increase their competitiveness and market access;
– Train themselves via e-learning, thus making them responsible for their own
Giving a voice
As a consequence of their poverty, people often lack an effective voice in public life and
policy. ICTs help:
– to increase the voice and participation of the poor in the decision-making processes;
– to communities express their cultural identity;
– people assert their own rights and interests and pressure decision-makers to be
more responsive to their needs;
– to increase the efficiency, transparency and accountability of governments and
– to promote local cultures and cultural diversity through local content.
Facilitating communication and network building
By facilitating a new level of “many-to-many” information, ICTs offer an interactive and
decentralized platform that enables people to
– share knowledge and build networks;
– promote their interest and rights more efficiently;
– influence more effectively, rapidly and collectively political decisions that affect their
– Communicate more effectively, thus enhancing intercultural understanding.
The following section discusses the direct and indirect impacts that access to ICTs can have
on a number of areas that are central for poverty alleviation and human development and
indirect effects on economic growth.
Direct impact of ICTs on development
Direct impacts of ICT on poverty reduction take several routes.
· Educational aspect. Information and knowledge enable the poor to understand their
own circumstances and to voice their own opinions and needs. ICTs such as radio
and television have been effectively used in many countries to reach students in poor
rural areas. The Internet provides a virtual classroom in which intense interactivity
and the sharing of resources and information take place.
· Impact is on health: the most immediate and visible impact that the internet can
have in the poorer parts of the world is on the volume and flow of medical
· Productivity and income generation. ICTs give micro and small enterprises access to
market information (faster and cheaper than printed material), input prices and
output markets and it may strengthen forward linkages to the market
Indirect impact of ICTs on development
Indirect impacts of ICTs on development have drawn a distinction between ICT
consumption and ICT production (investment in information infrastructures, including
telecommunications hardware and software production).Production of ICT goods and
services has contributed significantly to the economic success of many developing
countries, (Asian examples). Evidence of the benefits of investments in information
infrastructure appears conclusive, particularly for telecommunications. The economic
benefits of telecommunications- especially voice and fax communication for business – are
considerable for individual small and micro-scale businesses in LDC market
environments.On the other hand lack of accessible and affordable communication services
are inhibiting the transmission of market information, preventing interaction between
Constraints to the use of ICTs by the poor:
1. Lack of human capabilities
Much of the information exchanged by the poor is organic, transmitted through
interpersonal communication, which does not even require literacy. Telephone, television,
radio and the printed media require few formal skills and only mother tongue literacy for
effective usage. Thus, they are likely to be in greatest demand from the majority of illiterate
and semi-literate users for the foreseeable future.
By contrast, effective use of e-mail and Internet requires not only literacy but language
skills, predominantly the use of English. It also requires technical and computer literacy,
i.e. the ability to operate and interact with a computer-based information system. Direct
access to computer-mediated information for the populations of most low development
countries is likely to remain with the educated elite unless literacy can be considerably
raised through greater participation in formal schooling at post-primary level. The lack of
skills and human resources may be the greatest barrier for diffusion of ICTs among the
2. Urban-rural inequalities
For most people in the developing world, the probability of having access to ICTs depends
on location. The disparities in access to ICTs between urban and rural communities are
indeed startling, with the rural areas lagging behind.
As a result, urban centers represent an overwhelmingly disproportionate share of Internet
users in developing countries. However, the situation is changing: urbanization has been
growing significantly, and urban populations are forecasted to expand significantly in the
near future.
3. Gender inequalities
Gender inequality for ICT access derives from the relatively higher levels of illiteracy among
the female population and from the lower level of female participation in the formal
economy. In most developing countries the vast majority of the female labor force remains
confined to rural areas partaking in predominantly subsistence agriculture, while men tend
to dominate in industrial and service-based employment. Women have a number of relative
disadvantages compared to men that inhibit their access to ICTs including the competing
demands on their time both as homemakers and workers.
4. Affordability
For ICTs to become relevant for poverty reduction they have to be affordable. Needed
financial resources include those necessary for the ‘supply’ of a technical infrastructure
and those necessary to create ‘demand’ for user technologies, information and
communication services. Over the long term, ICTs are expected to become cheaper. The
inability of the poor to raise their standard of living and afford to purchase either
collectively or individually ICTs services is a major barrier.
5. Content
Surveys of urban and rural households and of micro and small enterprises show that the
poor favor and trust information sources close to home and those that are applicable to
their existing knowledge base. For small entrepreneurs as well, the most valued sources of
information are friends, family, and business networks. By contrast, ICT mediated
information often lacks proximity and the element of ‘trust, confidence and security’ that is
gained through business networking and personal contacts. ICT-mediated information is
also not easily applicable to the existing local knowledge base.
6. ICT applications are technologies and as such cannot solve political or social
problems that are often at the roots of poverty
While information and the new communications technologies have a potentially large
impact on growth and poverty alleviation, their effective use may be constrained by lack of
skills, financial resources and the existence of urban/rural, gender and other inequalities.
Local content and development
Local content is the totality of the culture, values, heritage materials, and indigenous
knowledge of a group of people with common interest in a given locality. Local content
refers to what a community creates, owns, or adapts in terms of knowledge. It is a vital
platform for local people to express, share, and communicate locally-relevant knowledge on
the issues that affect their lives. Content creation must follow a bottom-up approach and
ideas not be imposed on communities.
The potentials of local content development are quite indispensable to sustainable national
development. Local content is important in any society as it is crucial in bridging the digital
divide through empowering the people to link and communicate with the rest of the world.
It is a powerful force and driver to national development as it is closely tied to human
development and empowerment of local communities. Absence of local content can lead to
capital flight in terms of goods and services purchased from abroad. Harnessing local
content helps to increase the sense of pride and value to our local languages, cultural
heritage and indigenous practices.
In the context of Africa, local content may be taken to refer to among other things: artifacts,
traditional medicine, music, arts, handcraft, local attire, etc. Local content is “an
expression and communication of a community’s locally generated, owned and adapted
knowledge and experience that is relevant to the community’s situation. The creation and
dissemination of local content reflecting the values, heritage, and experience of local
communities and culture is imperative for the preservation of cultural diversity. On a
general note, local content is a useful tool in promoting African languages and a positive
attitude towards the use of technology. Local content, when disseminated widely, allows
members of a community to express their values and be identified as unique entity, thus
enhancing their political and economic bargaining power.
The overall objective of local content development is to promote knowledge creation,
preservation, dissemination, and use of locally generated knowledge. Local content is a
source of identity and development, and it enables cultures to flourish. More importantly, it
provides the communities with the relevant information necessary for their development.
Challenges of Local Content Development
Local contents are always available but the critical issue is capturing, repackaging, storing
and disseminating them to a wider group of users. Content does not flow on its own accord;
it needs owners or originators with motivation and innovative mind to create, adapt or
exchange it. This has posed a lot of challenges as a result of lack of technical skills needed
to capture, repackage, store and disseminate the local content. Some of the reasons for lack
of local content as noted by authors include:
· Limited financial resources of developing countries for content production;
· Inappropriate training opportunities for content creators;
· Lack of access to advanced technology (production units, digital cameras, digital
· Low motivation and commitment at the decision-making level to change the
situation; and
· Market forces, which do not encourage diversity.
Reasons for lack of local content
· Limited financial resources of developing countries for content production;
· Inappropriate training opportunities for content creators;
· Lack of access to advanced technology (production units, digital cameras, digital
· Low motivation and commitment at the decision making level to change the situation
· Market forces, which do not encourage diversity.
But local talent is never a problem!
Role of ICT in Local Content Development
Information and Communication Technologies, and particularly the Internet, are
transforming all human activities dependent on information. ICTs present new
opportunities for individuals and communities to be not only consumers but also producers
of information. Through media convergence, ICTs can also build on and integrate the
capacities of other media (e.g. radio and television). This enables low-cost creation, access
and distribution of information, which requires a networked rather than centralized
approach. In order for content to be relevant for communities there are fundamental factors
that need to be considered. It is also imperative that local content should be linked to
development and how ICT can facilitate this process. It is not about ICT but the use of ICT
as enabler for communities to achieve development. Beyond physical access, information
needs to be timely, retrievable and easily applied by a broad range of users, accessible in
their own languages and consistent with their values.
Communication for development encompasses many different media and approaches – folk
media and traditional social groupings, rural radio for community development, video and
multimedia modules for farmer training, and the Internet for linking researchers,
educators, extensionists and producer groups to each other and to global information
Whether villages are connected to the outside world through modern telecommunications,
learn about health care from folk proverbs and songs or listen to radio broadcasts on better
farming practices, the processes are the same – people communicating and learning
together. (Communication and Development, Food for Agriculture and Organization) The
ICT sector will not be directly responsible for a significant number of new jobs, but rather is
positioned as an enabler of increasing competitiveness in other sectors, as a source of
future export earnings, and as a key enabler to achieve development goals. (National ICT
Approaches: Selected Case Studies).
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have enabled various information or
content to be placed over internet in order to share it all over the world, thus opening the
doors for content globalisation. Today, huge information is available over the internet in
text or document format like market prices, poverty alleviation government schemes,
hospital, weather, educational institute’s directory, telephone directory and much more.
While urban citizens increasingly upload content available with them due to greater
awareness on part of urban organisations, what is still ignored or not available is local
content available with and for rural communities.
Indigenous knowledge as local content
Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are not really about the computer, the
Internet, and telephone lines. They are about information and communication. This makes
the issue of content a very important priority as we try to use the new technologies for
community development and alleviation of poverty. Indigenous knowledge is part and
parcel of the culture and history of any local community.
Development agencies “need to learn from local communities to enrich the development
process”. Indigenous knowledge also affects the wellbeing of the majority of people in
developing countries. Some 80% of the world’s population depends on indigenous
knowledge to meet their medicinal needs and at least 50% rely on indigenous knowledge for
food supply. Indigenous knowledge is indeed the cornerstone for building a unique identity
and ensuring coherence of social structures within communities.
Because indigenous knowledge is mostly stored in people’s minds and passed on through
generations by word of mouth rather than in written form, it is vulnerable to rapid change.
Development processes like rural/urban migration and changes to population structure
may contribute to loss of indigenous knowledge. Indigenous knowledge faces extinction
unless it is properly documented and disseminated. Communities need to preserve and
manage their own local knowledge in an economically viable and sustainable manner and
so create a legacy for future generations. This can be done through local content creation.
Types of communication tools
Generally, we can distinguish between several types of communication tools including;
· Interpersonal communication tools
· Mass media (newspapers, radio, television)
· Traditional media (storytelling, theatres, songs),
· “Group” media (video, photographs, posters)
· Community media such as short-range rural radio broadcasting.
The following describes some of the tools and techniques one may wish to use in a
communication strategy. It may be useful to remember that often the use of more than one
approach, tool or medium can strengthen your approach so these should not be viewed in
isolation or as independent of one another.
Interpersonal communication tools
Group discussion and debate are widely used. They are so common that we seldom think of
them as communication tools. But if we do, we can greatly enhance their utilization. As
communication tools, they should support a given activity (in this case, generally a
community meeting), in order to reach a specific objective. Usually, the objective will
consist of raising an issue publicly, stimulating awareness and preparing for other
A large group discussion is not always the best tool though important to facilitate
participation. Often, only certain categories of people will talk, offer their arguments or ask
questions. In many settings, young people or women will not talk in front of the older men.
And of course, many topics cannot be discussed openly in public.The effectiveness of
discussion and debate resides in its complementarity with other activities, for example
discussions with smaller and more focused groups.
Usually, these sessions are organized during a public meeting where resource persons talk
about a given issue, and where, after the projection, a discussion is organized. This tool is
very effective in raising awareness on a specific issue, or to introduce knowledge or
behavior elements, but as a single activity, it has little potential to stimulate participation
to work out some solutions.Again, the effectiveness of the tool is linked with the
organization of other activities, with smaller and more focused groups.
A focus group discussion is held with a small number of people (7–10) who share similar
characteristics. The information obtained through this technique is considered valid for
other community members who demonstrate those characteristics.The discussion evolves
along the lines of a discussion guide, prepared before hand, but the questions are openended.
The idea is to enable every participant to express his/her opinions on a given
topic.In many cases, a focus group discussion can also evolve in a strategy-developing
activity, with each participant contributing not only to the identification of a problem,
causes or solutions, but also in a strategy which could facilitate community participation to
the resolution of that problem and the experimentation of the potential solutions.
Participatory rural/urban appraisal techniques are well documented and used in the field.
The exercises can include the use of different techniques like collective mapping of the local
area, developing a time line, ranking the importance of problems inside a matrix, wealth
ranking, doing observation walks, using Venn diagrams, producing seasonability diagrams,
etc.As communication tools, they give us a lot of information in a limited time span about
the characterization of natural resources in a given area and basic social, economic and
political information, in order to plan a development or research project. As such, they are
powerful tools for facilitating the participation of community members. But as mentioned
earlier, they can also be used restrictively, when the different techniques are not fully in the
hands of the participants and remain techniques used by the research team only to gather
information for their own purposes.
The main idea in using PRA is to collect information quickly with the participation of
community members and to share it so that everyone becomes empowered by that
information and can participate better in the analysis and decision-making processes.
When this does not happen, and when researchers or development practitioners go back
with the information without nurturing this empowerment process, the technique is not
applied as it should. In fact, such a process can be detrimental because researchers and
practitioners then think that they are doing participatory work, when, in fact community
members are only “being participated”.
Role-playing can be a very interesting way to facilitate participation in a small group,
identify attitudes and collect views and perceptions. In a role-play, two to five people take a
specific identity and play the interaction between the characters. It is interesting when the
situation asks for one character to make a case before the other ones or try to influence
them.As an example, one character could take the role of a researcher coming to the
community, and another would play a community member. Each would simulate a
situation in which the researcher engages in a dialogue with the community member to
identify her communication needs regarding a specific natural resource management
initiative.After the play, a discussion follows. Each participant explains what happens in
her group and how she felt in the guise of her character interacting with the other
character. The facilitator underlines the main ideas related to the topic of discussion and
links the exercise with the topic of discussion. Afterward, the participants and the
facilitator evaluate if they reached the objective of the activity.
Home visits are an excellent way to raise awareness on a given topic and to collect the views
of people on a given problem. Often, people who will not speak openly in a community
meeting, or who will not participate in it, will be more at ease to share views and
information in the context of their home or their field.In the context of rural poor, it is often
more effective when contact farmers instead of the research team itself make the visits, or
when contact farmers accompany the research team.Tours and visits by farmers to other
farmers are useful to demonstrate some solutions, which have been used in other settings,
and also to raise the motivation to try them out and experiment with them. But to be more
effective, they should be prepared by the farmers who are going to visit, after many
discussions on the problems they face and the solutions they could implement, instead of
having farmers participate in a tour by itself.The organization of a workshop on a given
topic is useful to present and discuss specific technologies, which can support solutions to
a given problem, or to assemble similarly minded people in order to develop a common
strategy. It is however often more effective regrouping resource persons and collaborators
from the community than community members themselves. Farmers often will not feel at
ease in the context of a workshop given in the city, and the poorest and more marginalized
people certainly will not come. So attention must be paid to the issue of who is at ease with
the formula and who is not.
Mass” media tools
As everyone recognizes, rural radio is an especially appropriate tool for reaching large
groups, or groups beyond the immediate vicinity. Many producers working with rural radio
are aware of participatory communication and will steer clear of the conventional
“journalistic” approach. For example, they will attempt to include discussion panels in their
broadcasting, and will do their best to make local voices heard.There are two important
provisos, however, for using radio successfully: first, it is important to enlist a producer (or
the broadcast authorities) in the initiative and work with her in planning the entire
communication process.
This means an ongoing cooperative relationship, and not just occasional requests for help.
Maintaining such a relationship is not always easy and requires constant
attention.Secondly, it will be necessary to put together the funding needed to produce the
spots or broadcasts (local FM stations often charge less than others), or to seek an
exemption from the ministry or agency responsible. For these reasons, radio is not used as
widely as it could by communicators working with participatory approaches involving
specific community groups.The use of rural radio should also be combined with field work
to ensure that communication flows in both directions: in this case, radio can either follow
and support a communication initiative being undertaken at the same time, or it can be
made an integral part of that initiative as a means for allowing people to express
Local press is of course not an interactive medium. But it can greatly assist the efforts of a
participatory development initiative, by informing the community or targeted decision
makers on the evolution of the initiative. Again, collaboration with a journalist at the
beginning of the initiative may develop into a partnership, while occasionally requesting the
participation of a journalist may be considered a demand of services.
Television is not used the way it could mostly because of the costs involved. In some
countries where it is well-developed, community television can host debates and
interventions, giving them the reach that working with small specific groups cannot have.
But this is seldom the case.In other countries, there is sometimes the possibility to connect
with the producer of development programs and use television to illustrate the realization of
a given community initiative, thus influencing other communities to embark on such a
venture. But again, this is not very common.There is a lot of potential though to use
television in a participatory way by relying on community television viewing and discussion
clubs. Experiences in India and Africa have been quite successful in using that tool. But
again, costs have made it unsustainable
The issue of gender and the media can be understood at 2 levels: the participation of
women vis-a -vis men in decision-making and expression in the media and secondly,
representation or portrayal of women vis-à-vis men, and gender relations in the media.
Gender is perhaps the basic category we use for sorting human beings and it is a key issue
when discussing representation. Essential elements of our own identity and the identities
we assume other people to have, come from concepts of gender what does it mean to be a
boy or girl.It is the way in which society assigns characteristics and social roles to women
and men. The society then determines or defines what is being male/man or
female/woman. This in turn determines what women or men are allowed to do or not to
do. Gender is therefore not biological but instead refers to the social roles and relations.
It is therefore not universal: as what is expected in one community may not be expected in
another. Gender is learnt and therefore changeable. Essential elements of our own identity
and the identities we assure other people to have, come from concepts of gender. Many
objects, not just humans, are represented by the media as being particularly masculine or
feminine particularly in advertising. People grow up with an awareness of what constitutes
“appropriate” characteristics for each gender.
The media do not merely represent, they also recreate themselves and their vision of the
world as desirable. What they produce is chosen, not random, and not neutral, not without
The events and issues that become news each and every day go through a process of
selection. News is a choice, an extraction process, saying that one event is more meaningful
than another event. The very act of saying that mean’s making judgments that are based
on values and based on frames (mental structures that shape the way we see the world).
The media define their role as;
1. To inform
2. To educate
3. To entertain
The radio, television and newspapers give us information through news, current affairs
programs and talk shows. They also entertain through television soaps, films, game shows,
music and sitcoms. It is through advertisements on radio, television and in the newspapers
that we know about goods and services for sale. The media also see their key role in any
society as a ‘watchdog’ of the government and all entities to ensure accountability in a
society in the public’s interest. The media do this by providing information that is collected
and edited based on the media guiding principles of accuracy, fairness and balanced
representation.The media’s ability to carry out this role depends greatly on whether the
media operate within political and legal environments which enable free speech, reasonably
unfettered access to information, free media, and economic and political environments
which encourage and promote the development of a diversity of media.
Because the process collecting, editing and choosing what news is not purely objective,
media and communications researchers and analysis have identified several other key roles
the media play in any society:
1. Shape public opinion and attitudes.
2. Determine the public discourse and thereby shape our political cultural and
economic priorities.
3. Influence public policy through the news agenda.
4. Reinforce or challenge gender, racial and other stereotypes and norms.
5. Serve as the channel through which policy makers communicate to the public
6. Media can act as a catalyst for social change through coverage of injustices and
the marginalization of populations in a society that often have little access to
expression in the public sphere. In other words, the media can give to those who
often find their voices marginalized.
According to Wikipedia, the media refers to various aspects. In communication, it ranges
from the recording media, print media, electronic media and published media
Mass media is the term coined in the 1920s to denote that section of the media specifically
conceived and designed to reach a very large audience ( typically at least as large as the
whole population of a nation state). ( Wikipedia)
Mass Media are the channels of communication through which messages flow, produced by
a few for consumption by many people Newspapers, magazines and the broadcast mediums
of television and radio fall into this category. Mass media is often general in its content in
order to cater for a diverse audience. Mass media view audiences as both consumers of
information and of goods and services. Advertising is essential to the sustainability of the
mass media. Mass media can be owned and operated the state, public or private interests.
According to WACC, these are limited to certain geographical areas and targeted at smaller
groups of people. It caters for people in towns, rural area; close-knit communities which
seek to keep themselves informed on issues of interest. In this kind of media, there is more
room for people within a local community to participate in the governance and editorial
operation unlike in the mass media where the control of information and messages is
vested in the hands of the media practitioners,
This is the term used to refer to the new information and communications technologies
(NICTs) that include web sites, web portals, e-mail news alerts etc. The main stream media
have web based editions of their information and news products and NICTs has also opened
ways for civil society, special interest groups, as well as individuals to create their own sites
for dissemination information and viewpoints, outside of the mainstream media sites. The
greatest challenge surrounding the use of new media is the accuracy and credibility of the
Gender roles are not biologically determined, but are socially constructed by culture. Most
of the behaviour associated with gender is learned rather than innate. People learn what
sorts of behaviour and personality are regarded in their cultural context as appropriate for
males or females.
2.8.4 Representation of gender roles
Portrayal of men and women in the media is largely traditional and stereotype.
Within cultures, Chandler points out that masculinity and femininity may be defined
differently by various groups, in particular according to ethnicity, age, social class and
sexuality. However there is cultural prevalence’s of traditional gender stereotypes in which
men are seen as seeking achievement and dominance while women are compliant and
Femininity is associated with traits such as emotional, prudence, cooperation; a
communal sense and compliance.Representation of women across all media tend to
highlight the following:
· Beauty
· Size/physique
· Sexuality
· Emotional
· Relationships
According to Meehan, good women are presented as submissive, sensitive and
domesticated while bad women are rebellious, independent and selfish. Women are often
represented as being part of a context (family, friends, and colleagues) and working or
thinking as part of a team. In drama, they tend to take the role of helper or objective,
victim hood (passive rather than active)
Masculinity tends to be associated with such traits as rationality, efficiency, competition,
individualism and ruthlessness.Representation of masculinity or men across all media
tends to highlight the following;
· Strength – physical and intellectual
· Power
· Sexual attractiveness
· Physique
· Independence
Male characters are often represented as isolated, as not needing to rely on others. If they
capitulate to being part of a family, it is often part of the resolution of a narrative, rather
than an integral factor in the initial equilibrium. It is interesting to note that the male
physique is becoming more important a part of representations of masculinity. As media
representations of masculinity become more specifically targeted at audiences with
product promotion in mind, men are encouraged to aspire to live like the role models they
see in magazines. Increasingly, men are finding it as difficult to live up to their media
representations as women are to theirs. Men heroes on TV are physically strong,
aggressive, assertive, takes initiative, independent, competitive and ambitious. It is no
wonder that boys try to emulate such characteristics through action and aggression. Boys
have even copied the WWF wrestling matches and at one time it was reported some boy
had killed his classmate while trying to emulate one of his wrestling heroes
2.8.6 Media portrayal of Occupations by gender
There are differences in how roles are portrayed. Men are portrayed more in employment,
tend to have a higher income and less likely to be shown at home. They are shown as
husbands and fathers as well as athletes, celebrities and tycoons. Women are often shown
on TV in traditional roles such as housewives, mothers, secretaries and nurses. Marital
status is revealed more in women than men.Various studies on the subject show that the
media tend to project mostly negative images of women that tend to perpetuate the
negative stereotypes. These may be anything from poverty-stricken dependents, sex
objects, and victims (of war, poverty, hunger and violence) and suffering from low selfesteem.
Many television commercials manipulate the female image in order to persuade
women to buy the product being advertised. The most common of these are women as
housewives and women as mothers. Many of these images are not necessarily negative in
themselves. It is the imbalance and the failure to project images of women as
professionals and successful businesswomen in their own right that is the problem.
(Kamweru).The portrayal of women’s work such as housework and family care is projected
as trivial and inconsequential. The frequent repetitions give out the message that the
place of women is in the home, especially the kitchen.Men are portrayed as strong,
successful, forceful, self-reliant and dominating. In contrast, what emerges as women’s
most common traits are meekness, gullibility, weakness, submission and lack of
confidence? Another popular created image is that of women as seekers of beauty to
please their men. This is evident in almost all advertisements of beauty products, which
urge women to buy products that will attract many by her improved looks after using the
A survey done on women in advertising in 1992 segmented the findings into three
1. A woman’s goal in life is to attract and retain her man. This conclusion was drawn
from the fact that women in advertising were always young and attractive and were
frequently depicted as sex object.
2: Women’s body parts such as shoulder, hands and feet are displayed to advertise beauty
products which, according to the ads, will enhance their beauty for a night out with their
3: Advertising defines woman’s relationship to man primarily in terms of the appeal
feminine attractiveness has for man.
There is a lot of gender stereotyping in TV advertisements. Men are portrayed as more
autonomous, in more occupations and most likely advertising cars or business products.
They are more likely to be shown outdoors (ENO advert, Dettol) and in business settings.
Portrayal of Men in commercials
1. The Businessman and decision maker- Men portrayed as independent, intelligent
and involved in a career i.e. Hedex, Eno. They are the frequent fliers. In the Safaricom
advert , it is shown that the man at sea asks his son to Sambaza him credit and the boy
makes the decision to sell eggs to get enough money. Note that the man does not consult
his wife
2. Income earner- Rich One- Shows where the man banks his money or sends money
home (MPESA). He is always going to work, owns the big car and house and property (
Housing Finance).
3. Sportsman- male oriented sports are sponsored and advertised i.e. football by
Cocacola, Tusker, Basketball by Sprite, Marlboro. Rarely will you see any woman’s sport
being advertised e.g. netball.
4. Scholar- reading newspapers
5. Preferred gender- the commercial on Telkom Phone card- “It’s a boy”
6. Sharp Observer- The man is allowed to have many women e.g. trust Condom,
7. Incompetent House helper
Generally, in most commercials, the man or boy child is shown as being the active one
who benefits from use of the products eg Dettol Cool advert, Blue Band, BrooksideIn the
same way, when adverts feature boys and girls, the boys tend to be more dominant,
aggressive, active and discontented e.g. Blue band adverts. They engage in traditional male
activities such as sports, travel and causing trouble. The girls are often shown as more
domesticated and either heading, talking on the phone, playing mum ( Roiko advert) or
helping with housework.
Women are mostly advertising domestic products.
Portrayal of women in Commercials
1. Homemaker and caring partner- Housemaker and caring partner, obsessed with
cleanliness, cooking- Royco, Kasuku
2. The gossiper- Kencell, Safaricom
3. Sex Symbol and seducer- Advertisements do not show women as individuals but as
mindless, sexy and beautiful bodies, scantily dressed, gyrating in sexy moves. Note that its
Women’s bodies that are used to advertise cars
4. Sex – used to sell make-up, beauty and personal products
5. Women portrayed as unemployed, low income earners, idle decorative roles
6. Fashion- Women copy the fashion as advertised in the media. They go to great
lengths to strive to fit in the popular images, body sizes and fashion trends
Voice over represent the programmes interpretation of what is seen: these are voices of
Children advertising and Gender Roles
A study carried out to promote healthy families through the wise use of media revealed the
· Television provide children with wealth of opportunity to observe social behaviour
and gender roles for e.g. how boys behave, how girls behave, what toys to play with, what
to wear, games to play and what to eat.
· Once children are settled into awareness, they are more likely to identify with the
model in the commercials and copy behaviour. Given the many number of advertisements
aimed at children, any stereotyping of gender behaviour can either impact positively or
negatively on children’s view about himself or herself or what she/he is capable of.
· Children between ages 2 and 11 watch over 20,000 TV advertisements per year
(Scheneider, 1989)
· Gender bias favors boys than girls in advertisements. Girls are morel likely to show
interest in boys’ products than boys in girls’ products. (Humes, 1983)
Advertisers favour using boys even in commercials where gender neutral products are
featured. Either boys or girls are used together or only boys are shown (Smith, 1994)
Some typical gender roles stereotypes that can found in commercials aimed at children
· Commercials with boy models are found to feature more away from home setting
· Commercials with girls models are found to be set at home
· Most boys are shown in anti social behaviour
· Girls in most commercials show only socially acceptable behaviour.
· Girls are tied with passive activity unlike boys with physical activity.
Programme Types
Morley shows that male prefer factual programmes such as news, current affairs and
documentaries while women prefer fictional programmes including romantic fiction.
Women watch romantic fiction to escape from their work inside and outside the home.
Thus you will find women watching soaps e.g. desperate housewives and even identifying
with the characters.A research carried out in Canadian Television Network news examined
both the presence and the roles of women and found the following:
1. Women appear most frequently in news programmes as anchors than as
reporters and list often as people interviewed.
2. When women are interviewed, they appear proportionately less often than men as
experts or as a central figure in a story, and proportionately more often as people “at the
scene of the even”
3. Women tend to appear less often than men in “hard news” stories and in national
and international news stories. This difference however is not consistent across all studies
of news programming.
In 1990 Canadian Television carried out a research which studied all television drama
programmes, not just those in prime time. Significantly more female characters were
found to appear in daytime programming than in prime time, 43% versus 34% there were
also differences among types of drama, with “action drama” having the smallest proportion
of female characters 30% female or less, and sitcoms, soaps and teleromans having the
highest proportion typically around 45% female.Mass media acts as an agent of
socialization together with family and peers. We learn to be male or female and TV has
unfortunately been presenting powerful, attention grabbing images of gender. It has been
noted that many boys are spending more time with male role –models on TV than their
own fathers.It is undeniable that the media shapes our conceptions of what it means to be
male or female. We encounter many different male and female role models in the course of
day’s media consumption.
It is therefore important that the media create balanced and realistic images of women and
give them so much media visibility as enjoyed by men. At another level, an increasing
number of women are reading the newspapers, watching television and listening to the
radio.The picture that emerges, even from a casual glance in the media especially
newspapers, is that majority of women are uninterested and uninvolved in political affairs
and developments, the economy and other societal issue. In fact, the content of general
interest and business section of newspapers and magazines are often dominated by men’s
affairs. Women are under represented in newspapers and magazines (except in women’s
magazines) and it would seem as if their interests are limited to beauty and fashion.
Women Media Usage
Despite the advancements that women have made in the economic and home fronts, their
use of media continues to be hampered by 2 main factors; low purchasing capabilities and
A great majority of women in Kenya live in the rural areas and yet another great number
live in the slums of the cities and towns. There, they eke out a living doing various
economic activities. The common thread among them all is that they get little from their
efforts as they are caught up in the malaise that has but the whole country.Their priorities
of use for the little money they will get will be feeding their families, providing shelter for
them and educating their children. Reading newspapers or buying a radio/TV set is not
even among their list of priorities.It is only when the economic base of these women is
strengthened that they can begin to think about media and start to benefit from them.
Media researchers have cited the issue of language as one hindrance to women access to
media. Low levels of illiteracy mean that women will not buy newspapers and if they do,
they may not draw maximum benefits from them because of the language used. This, the
researchers say, is especially so in regard to business pages in newspapers that are said,
use very technical language little understood by the common person.Another aspect of this
is the question of who is addressed by the media. Very often, one comes across headlines
and phrases like “Farmers And Their Wives Advised” while it has been proven that women
are responsible for 80% of subsistence farming in Africa. In this regard it would actually
be more accurate to say “Farmers And Their Husbands” while using the term generally
(Esther Kamweru pg. 73 Media Culture; Performance in Kenya).Examples of this
abound in the media where views about issues are collected from the ordinary man in the
street. It’s mainly men who are interviewed
Gender biases within the media
Within the media, gender inequalities, biases and prejudices show themselves in the
following ways:Opportunities in the workplace- It is noted that the top management in the
media is still male dominated Women often comprise the rank and file of journalists and
presenters in the print and broadcast media but few are in the topleadership. It is noted
that society is still dominated by men; Men dominate TV production and thus
unconsciously reproducing a traditional masculine perspective.Equal professional
opportunity – When it comes to division of labour and assignment of duties, women
reporters are often assigned to health, education, and social issues, while men are given
the political and economic assignments which are seen as part of the career path to senior
editorial and media management positions.What is newsworthy is seen through gendered
lens i.e. headline aerials are hard issues while soft issues are shunted to special and
supplementary segments of the media.Who speaks in the media -If we read, listen to and
watch those who are speaking in the media, those who are quoted in stories on events of
the day, the majority are men, although women and men live in the societies reported on
and both have views on the events and issues. Women are made ‘invisible’ by the media’s
omission of their voices and images.
Gender stereotypes – When women do appear in the media, they most often are
portrayed as sex objects, beauty objects , as homemakers, as victims or they become
front-page and headline news when they engage in activities which are no in line with
society’s prescription of what women should and should not do e.g.
What is considered newsworthy -News on the violations of women’s human rights
and discrimination against women are few and far between. When the media does cover
gender issues such as violence, sexual and reproductive health, women in decisionmaking
these articles are often confined to special pages and segments in the media and
tagged as women issues, rather than being placed on the news pages as issue of concern
to everyone.
Invisible women: -Certain categories of women receive even less attention in the media,
such as elderly women from minority ethnicities and religious groups, the working class,
and women with different sexual orientations.
While the media worldwide fight tenaciously to guard, protect and obtain legally the right
to be free from government censorship, free from political and economic interests and
controls, the media has been unable to detect, analyze and change alone, the gender
biases, prejudices and inequalities that influence and impact on its operations and
content.Gender biases and prejudices in the media emerge through the choices media
managers, advertisers, and media professionals) editors, journalists, sub-editors, new
photographer etc) make each day. Decisions about who will be promoted, who will not,
what will make news, what will not, who will be interviewed who will not are decisions
affected by media professionals beliefs about where women and men should be in society.
The media play a crucial role in influencing opinion, shaping attitudes and formulating
policy. It has the capacity to help correct prevailing negative gender imbalances and
portrayals of women, which in turn will see society, sit up and look at women more
positively. In regard to women, the media needs to give more coverage as well as a correct
and positive portrayal of women. This means integrating women and issues central to
women in their daily bulletins so that women cease to be mere spectators and indeed
become equal participants in society. This calls not only for a change of attitudes among
the male editors in Kenya’s newsrooms but also an increase of women employed as
Perhaps it is high time actors in the media industry are sensitized so as to embrace
gender-neutral language because they are undermining women by default. Activists
should also lobby for more gender sensitive communication rules. Since the media plays
a cardinal role in communication, media practitioners must make it their duty to lead in
objective portrayal of women and their true contribution to human endeavors. It is
unacceptable that media should perpetuate perspectives which reinforce the romantic and
reactionary view of women. Media practitioners who also wear the hat of educators should
play a more effective role in helping shed off the obviously negative aspects of social
engineering which disadvantages the girl child and women. There are numerous success
stories of women who the media could project to society.
For gender and feminist activists, the media should be
1. A medium through which messages are transmitted through editorial content,
images and adverts. The messages can either reinforce or challenge gender stereotype and
sex- based discrimination
2. media can also be a channel for putting women’s rights and gender equality on the
agenda of public policymakers. The media can hold the government accountable to many
international and regionals womens rights conventions and instruments that have been
3. Media should respect women’s and men’s human rights. Media Institutions should
not practice sex based discrimination.
1. Kamweru Esther, Women and Media, Media Culture and Performance in Kenya,
Copy Right 2000
4 http;//
5 The Kenya Times
6 Humes , S. “Fast food caught in the middle: but chains can lean to boy oriented
promos” advertising age. 8,pp, S12,S22
7 Schender, C. Children’s television; how it works and its influence on children,
Lincolnwood; NTC Business books 1989.
8 Smith , lois J. a content analysis of gender differences in children’s advertising” Journal
of broadcasting and electronic media. Spring, 1984,p 323
9 Nyamorata Tom et. Al. , Group presentation in a Gender and Media class, 1999: There
is an Extensive Gender Bias in Commercial. Discuss
10Chandler, Daniel, 1998, note on television and gender roles, (www document) URL