Engaging, Informative Content
Data visualization and storytelling, for evidence-based dialogue and interactions
Innovative communication mediums for information sharing and to fuel cross learning
Enhanced Stakeholder Dialogues
Participatory approach, moving beyond simply stating one-directional information.
Defining communication for development
“Communication 4 Development (C4D) is a social process based on dialogue using a broad range of tools and methods. It entails seeking change at different levels, including listening, building trust, sharing knowledge and skills, building policies, debating and learning for sustained and meaningful change.” (World Congress on Communication for Development, 2006).
Information access for all is a core criterion for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Institutional communication is a useful tool to publicize what we do and report on our actions, while communication for development is a process that takes place in the context of programs at a grassroots level. It is a form of communication, which enables people to have a say, participate and develop a sense of ownership in social projects. This type of communication strategy strengthens organisational capabilities for sustainable management, and eventually social change.
Importance of a communication strategy
Communication for development is not a specialist discipline for communication experts, but a cross-cutting activity for all development professionals. Providing access to information is a core function of development cooperation, alongside boosting participation. It is important for organisations to explain what they are doing and why, to develop their own individual social story, that is unique and honest. Com4Dev strategies facilitate access to information, stimulates participation, empowers people and influences organisational and public policies. These ripple effects further strengthen the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Communication for development allows program to be inclusive and makes beneficiaries the principal actors in the path to the improvement of their living standards, not only temporarily but sustainably and in the long-term.
Users and audience of a communication strategy
All institutions and organisations involved with development assistance, should develop communication strategies, which bring together stakeholders and partners, unifying the plan of action for the desired change. In the context of sustainable development, it’s important to move beyond one- directional information and to identify consensus around issues and exchange information among stakeholders. Developing a communication strategy entails designing a detailed plan that includes interesting and innovative ways to visualize data and share stories, and fuel cross learning. The scope of development communication encompasses advocacy measures of NGO programs, partnership and accountability reporting of Corporate social responsibility departments, social and behaviour change aspirations of public sector institutions, etc. Regular, informative, engaging, impactful communication is integral to these organisations in terms of showcasing success, demonstrating program values, disseminating knowledge, soliciting feedback and engaging stakeholders.
Elements of Communication for Development
‘Knowledge is power’ and ‘Good data is strength’. Good Com4Dev strategies facilitate the collection and dissemination of development indicators on the SDGs in India, for awareness, engagement, participation and accountability.
Communication planned according to the context and integrated into the project cycle, results in developed systems of collecting, storing, consolidating and analysing work of organisations with reporting templates that can cater to varied information requirements. This includes monthly reports, quarterly reports, case studies, event documentation, etc.
We are a highly visual society. Images and photography have become an integral part of our culture and understanding. Design and data visualisation focussed annual report snapshot videos, process documentation animated videos, 360 degree videos and photography, cause related marketing videos, and virtual reality and time lapse videos, make content digestible and engaging for stakeholders.
There is a need to transform text-heavy quarterly and annual reports into visually engaging content, to improve the likelihood of engagement and comprehension.
There is now tremendous scope to use various dissemination non-conventional methods of communication like illustrations, podcasts/multimedia broadcasts, photo exhibitions, posters/banners, fact sheets/information calendars, etc. Mediums and tools like these facilitate dialogue, launch debates and foster interactive and inclusive communication processes.
These also include educational online games and applications, motion graphics and animations, thematic weeks and interactive web games. Well designed communication showcases organisational purpose and impact to stakeholders.
The crux of Com4Dev is stakeholder participation and engagement. Communication mediums should inform citizens on development issues, with them being the main content contributors and drivers of community dialogue and communication. Communication forms used should give them information, build community ownership and provide a space to voice their views on their development and progress.