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Concept of Development:
act of improving by expanding or enlarging or refining;
Concept of development is used here in a wide sense so as to include, not merely the definition or
explanation, but also the theory, experience and problems. We hope you will be able to have a broad
understanding of the concept of development.
‗Development‘ is perhaps one of the most fiercely debated concepts in the contemporary social sciences. The
concept is often equated with ‗modernisation‘, ‗industrialisation‘, ‗social change‘, ‗progress‘ and
‗growth‘, and like these other terms is invariably seen as something desirable and positive for society in general,
and for the community in particular. Also, ‗development‘ as a socio economic phenomenon is seen as necessary,
even inevitable; as good and salutary. Rarely is development discussed as possibly hazardous and destructive of
the environment, or of social values and cultures. Development is in the main seen as absolute, inevitable, and
universal; it is promoted as a laudable goal no matter what the society, the culture, the people and their resources
We welcome economic development but our development programmes should not pave ways for the long-run
dangers. If economic transformation processesstart paving ways for the social dangers, the wave of development
must be checked and be turned into right direction. Of course commercial considerations are important to survival
and prosperity but in no case, the commercial motives should be successfulin establishing an edge over the social,
cultural and ethical values.
In an age of environmental disaster, population explosion, socio-cultural confrontation, tension and dissension, we
need to review the present philosophy of transformation of the industrial economy. We cannot deny the fact that
the present system of economic development, standing on the pillars of mechanized industrial economy, has
helped sensing, serving and satisfying customers fantastically but at the same time have also been instrumental in
inviting a number of social evils.
Do we feelthat the development activities channelised during the 20th century would open doors for social
interests in the 21st century?
Do we fee that the industrial development process of today is not to engineer a sound foundation for slow
murder of the coming generations?
Do we feelplanet earth will remain safe tomorrow?
In no case,the answer is to be positive.
We do not find any justification for promoting the fast food industry, especially when researchesrevealthat most
of the food items served by them are harmful. The hamburger, fried chickens are found gaining popularity the
world over though these are found injuring consumer health considerably. The service generating industries are
also found actively involved in the process.To be more specific the communication services have been found
invading on social and cultural values. All of us witness the movies and TV serials very much instrumental in
promoting the social evils. The educational institutes, hospitals are also in queue. The financial institutions in
general and public sector banks and insurance corporations in particular are not contributing substantially to the
process of motivating low-income group and mobilizing small savings. The social organizations, religious
organizations and even Red Cross society often fail in creating public awarenessand sub serving social interests.
Do we find any justification for endangering social interests just for generating profits?
Today or tomorrow, we have no option but to change our attitudes. Whatever we think is for society,
whatever we plan is for society, whateverwe produce is for the society and whatsoever we market is for
the society. This makes it essential that we are well aware of the multi-dimensional changes found in
Development, understood as widening the range of people's choices, has to consider three interrelated
and crucial dimensions: human, or "people-centred " development, global development and sustainable
development. Together they imply a radical change to the current development paradigm. If one or
more of these factors is missing in decision-making, then conflicts between people and nations are
inevitable. These three dimensions represent the conceptual base and necessaryfocus of action for
people's movements, for policy making and for the missions of any private initiative.
Human development of people, for people and by people means investing in human capabilities to
empower individuals to take charge of their own destiny. People are the end goal. Therefore, the
benefits of development are to be directed toward them and it should serve them. It means that
economic growth is distributed fairly and widely, that people benefit from their contributions to work
and social life, and people are given the chance to participate in the process.
Global development has three dimensions: spatial, time and holistic. The spatial dimension refers to
ensuring that actions have applicability to the rest of the world. The time dimension provides for a
perspective of the continuity of events and facts. The holistic dimension ensures that development is
not fragmented,but analysed from an integrated viewpoint and as a part of the same system.
Sustainable development utilizes resourcesto satisfy present needs without compromising the
satisfaction of the needs of future generations. Until the last quarter of this century, we have not
considered the world's resourceslimited. Decision-making needs to take greater responsibility for
the implications in the lives of others, including future generations.
Development, therefore,is a whole; it is an integral value loaded, cultural process; it takes in the
natural environment, social relations, education, production, consumption and welfare.The approach to
development depends upon the local cultural or national situations, not on any outside model. In other
words, development springs, from the heart of each society, relying on its history and traditions, as also
its own strengths and resourcesas far as possible.
Concept of Development Communication:
Sociologists, psychologists, economists and communication experts agree that the proper use of
communication can foster the pace and process of development. In generalterms, communication
means interaction between two individuals or within a group or a community or a nation. In
the four principle elements are communication source, a message,a channel or medium and a receiver
or audience. But in development communication it becomes the process of affecting or influencing
behaviour of individuals or groups towards certain desired goals and objectives, necessarily for the
benefit of the entire society. Thus, the receiver is expectedto show the behaviour desired by the source
Development communication is a relatively new field of study within the discipline of communication.
Like the science of communication, development communication has come to stay. However,we
should always remember that development communication is only one of the elements or inputs for
speedy progress and development. Development communication is mainly concerned with the role of
information and communication in social and economic development of an individual, society and
nation. It identifies what mass media can do directly or indirectly to improve the quality of life to both
urban and rural masses.
This describes an approach to communication, which provides communities with information they can
use in bettering their lives, which aims at making public programmes and policies real, meaningful and
sustainable. Such information must be applied in some way as part of community development but it
must also address information needs which communities themselves identified. The outcome of this
approach, in short, is to make a difference in the quality of life of communities.
Nora Quebral, a leading academic in this field defines Development communication as the art and
science of human communication applied to the speedy transformation of a country and the mass of its
people from poverty to a dynamic state of economic growth that makes possible greater social equality
and the larger fulfillment of the human potential. (Quoted in Development Communication - rhetoric
and reality by Pete Habermannand Guy de Fontagalland.)
F. Rosario Braid is of the opinion that development communication is "an element of the management
process in the overall planning and implementation of development programs". Development
communication is, in a broad sense "The identification and utilization and utilization appropriate
expertise in the development process that will assist in the increasing participation of intended
beneficiaries the grassroots level."
Rogers says, "development communication refers to the refers to the uses to which
communication is put in order to further development. Such applications are intended to either further
development in a general way, such as by increasing level of the mass media exposure among a
nation's citizens, in order to create a favorable 'climate', for development, or to support a specific
development programme or project this type of development communication is often termed as
'development-support communication' DSC".
The practice of Development Support Communication, DSC, is a multi-sectoral process of information
sharing about development agendas and planned actions. It links planners, beneficiaries and
implementers of development action, including the donor community. It obligates planners and
implementers to provide clear,explicit and intelligible data and information about their goals and roles
in development, and explicitly provides opportunities for beneficiaries to participate in shaping
development outcomes. It ensures that the donor community is kept constantly aware of the
achievements and constraints of development efforts in the field.
Development Support Communication makes use of all available structures and means of information
sharing. Therefore it is not limited to mass media alone. It also uses both formal group and non-formal
channels of communication, such as women‘s and youth associations, as well as places where people
gather.... markets,churches, festivals, and meetings. But its contribution is in using these in a systemic,
continuous, co-ordinated and planned manner, to perform linkage and enabling functions. It requires
analysis of the communication environment, of the available and needed communication competencies
and resources(hardware,software,financial and human), and clearly indicates expected results from
specific resource inputs, so as to maintain accountability.
In short, DSC is a legitimate function of development planning and implementation. DSC therefore
needs to be examined as a valuable «technology» for using the social communication process to foster
and strengthen sustainable development at local and national levels. It should be taken more seriously in
programs of social change, and should be reflected explicitly in development policy and strategy. One
way of doing so is through the enunciation of a national information and communication policy, which
can be explicitly integrated into national development thinking and practice.
Development communication has two primary roles:
a) A transforming role, as it seeks social change in the direction of the higher quality of life. The higher
quality of life can be achieved in various ways. Might be by adopting all the required vaccines for the
infants of each family of the society. Some countries might adopt techniques of producing enough food
for the citizen. Some countries might systematically and scientifically break all the myths surrounding
various religious and social customs. And communication could be a marvelous instrument to
achieve these objectives.
b) A socializing role, by seeking to maintain some of the established values of the society.
In playing these roles, development communication seeks to create an atmosphere for change as well
as providing innovation through which society may change. Each and every society has some
traditional values. These values give the people of each society an identity and a sense of belonging.
The aspirations of a society sometimes are embedded in these values. Now, the values, customs and
beliefs of other societies might make inroads into other societies. If, the people are not careful, they
taken off their grounds by the new incoming sets of values. Communication can play a very vital role
by making the people aware about this pitfall. It can also help immensely by drawing the attention of
the members of a society to the richness of their own values, customs, beliefs and, above all,
aspirations. Key elements of the development communication approach:
It is responsive - it does not provide ‗useless‘ information - that which people did not want to know,
but which centralplanners deemed as crucial. People understand their own needs better and through
this approach communication becomes a tool in the planning and development process, not a
mechanism to persuade communities once unpalatable decisions have been made (‗in their best
It hinges on feedback - it is not a one-way process but involves dialogue mechanisms about the
information, which was transferred. It is also fundamentally about consultative processesbeing
managed at community level.
Innovation and creativity - the message must not be dull and boring but show clearly how the
information transmitted will make a difference in the life of the recipient - it must not instill doubt or
disbelief, but trust and confidence (look for local adopters). Development Communication workers
should, however, balance creativity with an understanding of what communities would be prepared
to accept and where consideration has been given to the norms and prevailing values of that
Independent validation - it is not about ‗government speak‘. This approach builds participatory
mechanisms and functional networks involving NGOs, CBOs,Traditional Leadership structureswhile
also encouraging links with networks from across the country and indeed all over the world. These
can either prove or disprove the validity of the information transmitted.
It’s about sustainability and continuity- it is not about dumping information in a community and
never going back for months.
It’s about establishing common ground with communities who are to be the recipients of the
information/message - it is not about the public servant who swoops in and out of a community in his or
her GG like some ‗phantom expert‘ to ‗educate and uplift‘ communities. The standards, norms, values,
habits of the community are paramount. (This may mean that those accustomed to a liaison style
hinging on comfortable hotels with prepared meals and warm fluffy duvets will need to make some
adjustments to their style!)
It’s about community participation- development programmes which plan for communities or supply
information which planners feel communities need, fail to be relevant initiatives and more often than
not fail to be sustainable. A primary emphasis of this approach is to plan with communities, create
structures which offer communities and developers equal power, and use communication methods
which are fundamentally participatory in nature. This often requires that government planners,
community workers have to listen to the advice of communities and change the views they
It’s about access and visibility of governmentwhere governmentis no longer a distant and unknown
entity in community development experiences. This approach reverses the practice of communities
having to travel long distances and at relatively great cost to access government services and
information. This is made worse when government is not clearly and properly identifiable and access
is difficult because of inaccessible buildings, unfriendly and unprofessional staff etc. The development
communication approach brings government employees face to face with communities so promoting
accountability at local level. This is not possible when civil servants are remote and impersonal.
It’s about the use of simple and relevant language where concepts are packagedin the experiencesof
communities, in their own language and where communities themselves have played a major role in
the development of material for development communication programmes.
It is purposive one looks for specific behavioral objectives, such as getting farmers to go in for a
specific variety of seed,pesticide, etc.
It is positive - positive value is attached to what one communicates about. Take the example of the high
yielding variety of seed. Once adopted,the farmers can increase their harvest manifold. This means
more income, which can be utilised to buy land, cattle or equipments. This is what we mean by
positive value attached to development communication.
It is pragmatic In this context we might define pragmatic as practical and purposeful. In development
communication, the purpose of communication is important. Let us assume that we want the farmers to
plant a particular rice variety or the so-called miracle rice. The judgement or evaluation of
communication does not rest on the mere invention of communication activities performed, such as the
number of the press releases issued or the number of farm visits made. Findings have showed that
mere increase in the flow of information does not necessarily result in those behavioral changes, which
are desired to be achieved.
Development communication is a tool, and not a product. Development communication is goal-
oriented. The ultimate goal of development communication is a higher quality of life for the people of a
society. The role of the media also changes in development communication. It plays the following four
Circulate knowledge that will inform people of significant events, opportunities, dangers
and changes in their community, country and the world.
Provide a forum where issues affecting the national or community life may be
aired. Teach those ideas, skills and attitudes that people need to achieve for a
better life. Create and maintain a base of consensus that is needed for the stability
of the state.
To perform these roles, the media keeps the development orientation in its perspective. Three
approacheshave been identified in relating communication to development. These are
empathy, diffusion, and multiplying of information. We shall discuss each separately,
1.Empathy: Daniel Lerner in his book, Passing of Traditional society, saw the problem of
'modernizing' traditional societies. He saw the spread of literacy resulting from urbanisation as a
necessary precondition to more complete modernisation that would include participatory political
precondition to more complete modernisation that would include participatory political institutions.
Development was largely a matter of increasing productivity.
According to D. Lerner, development failed to occur because peasants were unable to 'empathise' or
imaginatively identify with the new role, and a changed and better way of life and so remained
fatalistic- unambitious and resistant to change. Every change in society must originate and begin in the
the people. If the people would like to change, only then the development would begin. What is
required is that some means of providing such people with clues as to what better things in life might
be. Lerner saw the media as filling this need of promoting interest among the people for a better life.
Not only that, he saw the media as machines, inspiring people for better things in life. He said 'empathy'
endows a person with the capacity to imagine himself as proprietor of a big grocery store in a city, to
wear nice cloths and live in a nice house, to be interested in "what is going on in the world" and to get
out of his hole."
2. Diffusion: Evertt M. Rogers approached this with a perspective that had much in common with
Lerner, but different with him somewhat in emphasis. He saw the diffusion of the new ideas and their
practice as a crucial component of the modernisation process.He found that his home community less
than impressed with his stock of innovations in agriculture; outside his country he had marked
influence in the field of agricultural extension, through his textbook on the diffusion of Innovations,
which over the years has been expanded and updated into the second and third editions.
Rogers developed his concepts and theories of the diffusion of innovations from a synthesis of
diffusion research studies in United States, and in later editions, of diffusion studies in the developing
world as well. Rogers defined ‗innovation‘ as ‗an idea perceived as new by the individual‘. ‗It really
little, as far as human behaviour is concerned‘,he added, ‗whether or not an idea is ‗objectively‘ new
as measured by the amount of time elapsed since its first use or discovery. It is the newness of the idea
to the individual that determines his reaction to it‘. By the third edition, Rogers begins to use
‗technology‘ as a synonym for ‗innovation‘, and to urge the adoption of a ‗convergence model‘ that
stresses the intricacy of ‗interpersonal communication networks‘ that are in operation during the
process of diffusion.
People must be informed, persuaded, educated. Information must flow, not only to them but also from
them, so that their needs can be known, and they might participate in the acts and decisions of the
nation building; and information must also flow vertically so that decisions may be made.
Wilbur Schramm extended the arguments of Lerner and Rogers in favour of 'modernization' through
the mass media - which he termed 'the magic multipliers'. His work was part of the efforts of the
United Nations and UNESCOfor 'a programme of concrete action to build up press, radio
broadcasting, film and television facilities in countries in the process of economic and social
development. UNESCO carried out the survey itself on which the book was based, during a series of
meetings in Bangkok, Santiago and Paris.
To Schramm, as to mainstream social scientists of the time, the mass media were 'agents of social
change', 'almost miraculous' in their power to bring about that change. Schramm argued that 'the mass
media could help accomplish the transitions to new-customs and practices (the 'innovations' of Rogers)
and, in some cases,to different social relationships. Behind such changes in behaviour must necessarily
lay substantial changes in attitudes, beliefs, skills and social norms'. The process,he elaborated was
simple: first, the awarenessof a need, which is not, satisfied by- present customs and behaviour; second,
the need to invent or borrow behaviour that comes close to meeting the need. Hence a nation –that
wants to accelerate the process of development will try to make its people more widely and quickly
aware of needs and of the opportunities for meeting them will facilitate the decision process, and will
help the people put the new practices smoothly and swiftly into effect. Schramm went further than
taking account of cultural linkages, in acknowledging 'resistance to change' and in urging ‘an
understanding participation'. However,his model of communication was still manipulative of behaviour
towards the desired end of innovation adoption; it still cited as empirical evidence a strong correlation
between high media exposure and development. Schramm argued forcefully that the mass media had
the potential to widen horizons, to focus attention, to raise -aspirations and to create a climate for
development. They also had the potential to confer status to enforce social norms, to help form tastes,
and could affect a:lightly held. He was optimistic about the potential of the mass media (and also the
educational media such as programmed instruction, language laboratories, electronic digital computers)
in all types of education and training. Unlike Rogers, he conceded though that ‗the mass media can help
only indirectly to change strongly attitudes and valued practices‘.
He therefore recommended that 'a developing country should review its restrictions on the importing of
informational materials, should not hesitate to make use of new technical developments in
communication, in cases where these new developments fit its needs and capabilities'. The challenge,
he concluded, was to put resourcesand the power of modern communication skillfuIIy and fully behind
economic and social development.
Role of Non-Governmental Organisations
The role of non-governmental organizations and voluntary agencies in India has been very important. In
situations of widespread poverty and deprivation, exploitation and discrimination, the State has not been
in a position to ameliorate everything. The Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have stepped in
to provide basic health and child care services,running home for the destitute and distressed and
providing education and training opportunities. At the same time, these NGOs have also been working
towards building a more humane society free from exploitation and want. The partnership between
the government has been of mutual benefit.
Some Major NGOs
Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Society for Participatory Researchin Asia (PRIA), New
Delhi Church's Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA), New
Delhi SAHELI, New Delhi
NIRANTAR, New Delhi
Voluntary Action Network, India (VANI), New Delhi
ANKUR, New Delhi
People's Rural Education Movement (PREM), Mandiapally, Orissa
LOK SHAKTI, Balasore, Orissa
UNNATI, Ahmedabad, Gujarat
Society for Promotion of Area ResourcesCentre (SPARC), Bombay
ASMITA (Resource Centre for Women), Hyderabad
Child In Need Institute (CINI), Calcutta
Explain the concept of development communication.
Explain the role of NGO‘s in development communication?
1. De Fleur, Melvin and Dennis, Everette; Understanding Mass Communication;
(1988); 3rd edition; Houghton Mifflin Co.
2. Narula, Uma; Mass Communication theory and practice; (1994); Haranand
3. Andal; Communication theories and model