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Involving The Community
A Guide to Participatory Development Communication

Guy Bessette


This guide is intended for people working in research and development. It introduces participatory development communication concepts, discusses the use of effective two-way communication approaches, and presents a methodology to plan, develop and evaluate communication strategies to address the following questions:

How can researchers and practitioners improve communication with local communities and other stakeholders?

How can two-way communication enhance community participation in research and development initiatives and improve the capacity of communities to participate in the management of their natural resources?

How can researchers, community members and development practitioners improve their ability to effectively reach policy makers and promote change?

Contents of the book

Foreword by Nora Quebral


The researcher or development practitioner as a communication actor

  The researcher and the development practitioner as a communication actor
  Participatory development communication
  The researcher and the development practitioner as a facilitator
  Making participatory research and development more effective
  Where does it come from?
  Major trends in development communication
  The limits of participatory development communication
  Implementing a participatory view of development
  Community participation
  Using communication to facilitate participation
  Participatory research and participatory development communication
How to plan a participatory development communication strategy
  The methodological approach
  Step 1: Establishing a relationship with a local community and understanding the local setting
  Step 2: Involving the community in the identification of a problem,
its potential solutions, and the decision to carry out a concrete initiative
  Step 3: Identifying the different community groups and other stakeholders concerned with the identified problem (or goal) and initiative
  Step 4: Identifying communication needs, objectives and activities
  Step 5: Identifying appropriate communication tools
  Step 6: Preparing and pre-testing communication content and materials
  Step 7: Facilitating partnerships
  Step 8: Producing an implementation plan
  Step 9: Monitoring and evaluating the communication strategy and documenting the development or research process
  Step 10: Planning the sharing and utilization of results
  Concluding remarks
Using communication tools with a participatory approach
  Using communication tools with a participatory approach
  Interpersonal communication tools
  Group media tools
  Traditional media tools
  Mass media tools
  Information and communication technologies tools
  Identifying communication tools for different kinds of applications
  Triggering the process of participatory communication
  Supporting and moderating discussion groups
  Extending group discussion sessions
  Reaching other groups or participants beyond the immediate locale
  Supporting learning and the exchange of knowledge
  Helping participants communicate with each other or with a specific group
  Evaluating and keeping a record of activities



Major trends in development communication
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