Understanding Development Communication: A Review of Selected Literature

Daniel Odoom

Issue: Vol.1  No.5 May 2020  Article 5 pp. 37-48
DOI : https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2020055   |   Published online 25th May 2020.
© 2020 The Author(s). This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

90 Downloads

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

Adedokun, M. O., Adeyemo, C. W. and Olorunsola, E. O. The Impact of Communication on Community Development. Institute of Education University of Ado-Ekiti Ado-Ekiti: Nigeria, 2010.


Alhassan, A. “Development Communication Policy and Economic Fundamentalism.” Ph.D., Dissertation, University of Tampere, 2004.


Anyanwu, C. N. Introduction to Community Development. (Ibadan: abesther Educational Publishers, 1999)


Bessette, G. Working Group on Facilitating Dialogue, Learning and Participation in Natural Resource Management.In 9th United Nations Communication for Development Roundtable. FAO, 2004.


BouSalah, F. “Gender considerations and approaches in Communication for Development in the Near East region.” Paper prepared for the Technical Consultation on Communication for Development in the Near East, held in Cairo, Egypt, 12–14 June 2006.


Centre for Development and Population Activities. Social mobilization for reproductive health: A trainer’s manual. Washington, D.C., 2000.


Edwards, M. (1999). Future Positive: International Co-operation in the 21st Century. London: Earthscan.


FAO. Expert Consultation on Communication for Development. Rome: FAO, 1984.


FAO. Application of ICTs for Enhancement of Extension Linkages, Coordination and Services. Proceedings of a subregional workshop, Hammamet, Tunisia, 22–24 November 2004. FAO


FAO. The Rome Consensus. In World Congress on Communication for Development: Lessons, Challenges, and the Way Forward. Communication Initiative, FAO, World Bank, 2006.


FAO. Tracking initiatives in communication for development in the Near East. Rome: FAO, 2010.


Imoh, G. O. Application of Development Communication in Africa’s Rural Development-Need for a Paradigm Shift. Global Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, 1, no. 4 (2013): 15-33


Keyton, J. Communication and Organisational Culture: A Key to Understanding Work Experiences (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2011


Luke, T. W. Social Theory and Modernity: Critique, Dissent and Revolution. Newbury Park: Sage, 1990.


McKee, N. Social Mobilization and Social Marketing in Developing Communities: Lessons for Communicators. Penang, Malaysia: Southbound, 1992.


Mefalopulos, P. “Theory and practice of participatory communication: The case of the FAO project “Communication for Development in Southern Africa.” Ph.D., The University of Texas at Austin, 2003.


_____________. Media and global change; rethinking Communication for Development. Nordicom and CLACSO, 2005.


_____________. Development Communication Source Book: Broadening the Boundaries of Communication. The World Bank, Washington, D. C., 2008.


Nemes, G. Integrated rural development: The concept and its operation. Discussion Papers. Budapest: Institute of Economics Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 2005.


Odoom, D. Conceptualising decentralisation: Reflecting on some existing literature. Applied Research Journal, 1, no. 4(2016): 21-38.


___________. “The Impact of Cocoa Life Project Interventions of World Vision Ghana on Beneficiaries in the Wassa East District, Western Region.” Ph.D., University of Cape Coast, 2019.


Odoom, D., Kyeremeh, C. and Opoku, E. Human resource capacity needs at the District Assemblies: A study at Assin South District in Ghana. Journal of Sustainable Development, 7, no. 5(2014): 177-188. https://doi.org/10.5539/jsd.v7n5p177


Opoku, E., Kyeremeh, C. and Odoom, D. Local Revenue Mobilisation Mechanisms: Evidence from the Abura-Asebu-Kwamankese District in Ghana. Journal of Developing Country Studies, 4, no. 26 (2014): 255-266.


Owusu, E. “The role of communication in sustaining development projects. The Case of Ejura Sekyedumase Municipality, Ghana.” MSc, KNUST, 2014.


Quarry, W. Decision makers do want communication – what they may not want is participation. Paper prepared for the 1st World Congress on Communication for Development. The Communication Initiative, 2006.


Ramirez, R. and Quarry, W. Communication for Development, a Medium for Innovation in Natural Resource Management. FAO and IDRC, 2004.


Ribeiro, M. T. F. Notas de aula do curso de doutorado em administração [Notas de aula]. Escola de Administração, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brasil, 2005.


Rogers, E. (ed.). Communication and Development: Critical Perspectives. Beverly Hills, California: Sage Publications, 1976.


Roling, N. G. Communication support for sustainable natural resource management. In Special Issue: Knowledge is power? The use and abuse of information in development.IDS Bulletin, 25, no. 2(1994).


Sen, A. K. “Development as Capability Expansion”. In J. DeFilippis & S. Saegert, The Community Development Reader (2nd Edition), 320-323. London: Routledge, 2012.


Servaes, J. Communication for Development: One World, Multiple Cultures. Cresskill: Hampton Press, 1999.


__________. ‘Advocacy Strategies for Development Communication’, in J. Servaes (ed.). Walking on the Other Side of the Information Highway. Communication, Culture and Development in the 21st Century. Penang: Southbound, 2000.


__________. Communication for Development and Social Change. UNESCO, Sage Publications, India, 2008.


The World Bank. Information and Communication for Development 2006. World Bank: Washington, D. C., 2006.


Todaro, M. P. and Smith, S. C. Economic Development (9th ed.). Harlow: Pearson Addison Wesley, 2006.


Umebali, E. E. and Akubuilo, C. J. C. (2006). Principles of rural development. Readings in Cooperative Economics and Management. Lagos: Computer Edge Publishers.


UNICEF (1999). Towards better programming. A handbook on behaviour development communication in Water and Environmental Sanitation Programmes. Unpublished document, UNICEF WES Technical Guidelines Series No. 4, Programme Division Guideline Series, New York.


UNICEF. Communication for Development and Social Change. London: Sage Publications, 2008.


Warnock, K. Schoemaker, E. and Wilson, M. The case of communication in Sustainable Development. Panos London, White Lion Street London N1 9PD United Kingdom, 2007.


Zakaria, J. “An evaluation of NGO-led development interventions and their sustainable management in the Savelugu-Nantong District.” MSc., KNUST, 2011

Daniel Odoom Ph.D is a Research Coordinator, Takoradi Campus, Ghana Technology University College Email: dodoom@gtuc.edu.gh

Odoom, Daniel. “Understanding Development Communication: A Review of Selected Literature.” E-Journal of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 1, no.1 (2020): 37-48. https://doi.org/10.38159/ehass.2020055

© 2020 The Author(s). Published and Maintained by Noyam Publishers. This is an open access article under the CCBY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).