Communication for Development and social change in Namibia


ICTs represent a potential tool for development – a way to overcome the limitations of time and distance. They are based on the understanding that the most effective means of raising standards of living is, in this context, with local tools and materials in novel and environmentally friendly ways. In this way, productivity can be increased, health improved, and education promoted.

Social change

The key purpose of communication for development and social change is using communication to facilitate efforts by people to achieve sustainable improvements in individual and collective well-being. Communication for development can facilitate social change in Namibia in two ways. First, by enabling and facilitating dialogues with communities so that they support sustainable policies and get involved in decision-making process. Second, the use of communication strategies, methods and resources will help achieve goals and capacity to address future development problems.

Participation involves people to work on the solutions to the problems, or to advocate or support the facilitation of solutions or removing opposition. Because development is about changing people, it is necessary to engage people in dialogues so that they are able to make contributions on those issues affecting them. Empowerment by giving people a voice  helps people to overcome the fears of expressing themselves.

Communication for development

This is development that uses communication strategies to change the behaviours, attitudes, and knowledge of the people.  The communication strategies used to counteract problems are known as interventions. There are three factors that affect communication for development. First, it depends on who the communicator or agent of change is. Second, the content of the message. And third, the medium  through which the message is communicated to the community.

Facilitation

Communities need to be mobilised and involved in making decisions and finding solutions to the problems affecting them most. In this way, communication for development creates a platform which encourages people to voice up their concerns. The engagement in dialogue leads people to take actions or steps to solving their problems.

In order to facilitate the process of social change in Namibia, communication for development must be designed with the aim to change people – changing their lives for better. Communication for development must encourage people to practice what they hear during discussions and it should also encourage the sharing of information or ideas, so that development messages spreads out to other communities. Opinion leaders should regulate ideas in meetings, but people should create their own ideas and formulate strategies in which those ideas are implemented to benefit the entire society or community.

Communication for development should establish a relationship with a local community and understand the local setting. It should involve the community in the identification of a problem, potential solutions, and in a decision to carry out an initiative.