This user guide on participatory communication aims to answer the following questions: What do we mean when we say participatory communications? What are the practical implications of working with participatory communication strategies in development and social change processes? What practical experiences document that participatory communication adds value to a development project of programme?
Many communication practitioners and development workers face obstacles and challenges in their practical work. A participatory communication strategy offers a very specific perspective on how to articulate social processes, decision-making processes and any change process for that matter. Participatory approaches are nothing new. At a time when institutions, both governmental and nongovernmental, increasingly seek participatory approaches in their development initiative, this guide provides perspective, tools and experiences on how to implement participatory communications strategies.
This book is about people and the processes needed to facilitate sharing of knowledge in order to achieve sustainable developmental change. It underlines that development communication is based on dialogue, which is necessary to promote people’s participation. It follows a two-way model and increasingly makes use of many-to-may forms of communication to facilitate the understanding of people’s perceptions, priorities and knowledge with its use of a number of tools, techniques, media and methods. It aims to give voice to those most affected by the development issue(s) at stake, allowing them to participate directly in defining and implementing solutions. Based on the assumption that authentic participation directly addresses power and its distribution in society, which often decreases the advantage of certain elite groups, the authors argue that structural and sustainable change necessitates the redistribution of power.