Development Communication in Africa

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Mr. Musa, Ibrahim
Department of Mass Communication
Abdu Gusau Polytechnic
Zamfara Nigeria.
Development communication is the integration of strategic communication in development projects. According Anaeto and Anaeto (2010:2): Development communication is concerned with facilitating the process of development through the sharing of development-oriented information as well as fostering necessary collaborations to help move people from unacceptable levels of underdevelopment to improved quality of life. Also Amodu (2007) quoted in Anaeto and Anaeto (2010) posits that: Development communication is the process of positive socio-economic change in the quality of life and level of human existence which is aimed at raising the standard of living, the quality of life and human dignity. This strategic communication is a powerful means that can improve the chances success of development projects. The main idea is not only information dissemination education or awareness raising a change in behavior but it is also concerned with social emancipation, self realization and self actualization through determined cooperative efforts.

Development communication is also defined as mass communication in the service of development. It is an education process which aims at developing social consciousness, personal responsibility towards ones fellowmen, one’s community and country. This implies respect for the human person respect for his intelligence and his right to self determination.

The concept of development journalism is associated with the struggle of independent nations of the third world for political, economic and cultural self determination and an ideological distancing from the dominant powers of the technologically advanced and economically powerful western countries.

The idea of development journals is min Africa can be traced to some three historical moments each with its own basic assumptions. (Banda 2010)
The first of such moments was the period between 1945 to 1965. This period was marked by the modernization issues which stressed the transfer of technology and socio-political culture of modernity from the developed north to the third world. This was clearly articulated by Rogers (nd) as indicated in Banda (2003:1). The approach to development, described as the dominant paradigm by Rogers (in Shah1996:147) is re-echoed by such scholars as Walt W. Rostow (1960), Everett M. Rogers (1962) and Daniel Lerner (1958), who posit development communication as an engine of change from the traditional to modern society. According to Fjes (in Melkote 1991:38), “it was generally assumed that a nation became truly modern and developed when it arrived at the point where it closely resembled Western industrial nations in terms of political and economic behaviour and institutional attitudes towards technology and innovation, and social and psychic mobility.” The model is characterised by three mechanisms for ‘modernizing’ the ‘traditional society: psycho-sociological, institutional and technological. The‘psycho- sociological mechanism entails empathy, or the capacity to see oneself in the other fellow’s situation, which is an indispensable skill for people moving out of traditional settings. According to Lerner (1958), there is a correlation between the expansion of economic activity being equated with ‘development’ and a set of ‘modernizing’ variables, chief among which are urbanisation, literacy, mass media use, and democratic participation. Recognisable within this view is the belief that the interaction between literacy and mass media can make people in Third World countries break out of the bonds of traditionalism and adopt modernizing values and practices (Melkote 1991: 24-29). Thus, the role of the mass media would be to create awareness of, and interest in, the innovations espoused by change agents. It is clear that this mechanism was influenced to a large extent by the...
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