Understanding Development Communication: A Review of Selected Literature

ISSUE: Vol.1  No.1 May 2020 Article 5  pp.37-48
AUTHOR: Daniel Odoom
DOI : 10.38159/ehass.2020055



Communication is critical in any development process. Beyond its role as an empowerment tool, communication is used to promote people’s participation in development activities. Particularly, citizens rely on knowledge and information in order to successfully respond to the opportunities and challenges of social, economic, cultural, political and technological changes. However, for knowledge and information to be useful in the development process, they must be effectively communicated to people. This brings to the fore the compelling relevance of development communication in development discourse. Though development communication is indispensable in sustainable development drive, many people still struggle to appreciate its underlying philosophical underpinnings, conceptual intentions, core principles and methodologies, hence their failure to make the concept practically relevant in development practice. Besides, the poor appreciation of the underpinnings of development communication contributes to the exclusion and isolation of many people especially the rural people from the process of development. What is more, the ever-increasing demand on the part of the citizenry for participatory development coupled with the significant advancement in technologies and globalization means that concerted efforts ought to be put in place by all development stakeholders including governments, research institutions, researchers, and civil society organisations to bridge the gap between the theory and practice of development communication. To achieve this, however, requires an increased discussion on what really constitutes development communication and also generation of a sustained interest and commitment by all stakeholders to the cause of development communication, bearing in mind its unique principles and methodologies. Any confusion in theorizing and conceptualization of development communication potentially contributes to the seemingly unending complexity associated with efforts towards achieving sustainable development. It is in this regard that this paper contributes to the efforts to help bring clarity to the concept of development communication through a review of some existing literature.

Keywords: Development communication, change, communication, participation, stakeholders

Author’s Biodata: Daniel Odoom, PhD is a Research Coordinator, Takoradi Campus, Ghana Technology University College. Email: dodoom@gtuc.edu.gh