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The need for contextual Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials

Poster on Prevention of Child Marriage
Awareness campaign on Prevention of child marriage in Ajmer, Rajasthan

The field of Development Communication has not witnessed unilinear development from one theory to another instead it has borrowed theories and practices from various fields (Development and social change) and applied them to the field of DC.

According to modernists culture and information deficits lie underneath development problems and hence require more than economic assistance ( Like the Marshal Plan) to solve. Hence “ideas” were focused upon as one of the central tenets in transforming third world countries into developed societies and this was to be achieved through Development Communication. Here Mass media was presented both as a channel and an indicator of modernization.

On the other hand, the Participatory Thinkers criticized the modernist theories like the diffusion theory of Everett Rogers as top-down and hence ignoring the local context and participation and being based on the premise that the Western models of development could be replicated in the third-world countries to bring social change.

 Redefining Development Communication

For participatory thinkers, development communication requires sensitivity to the local culture and context. Participatory thinkers tried to redefine DC as

“Systematic utilization of communication channels and techniques to increase people’s participation in development and to inform, train and motivate grassroot populations. It needs to be human centered and not media centered"

These definitions abandoned the persuasive, top-down approach that the modernist thinkers adopted in bringing behavior change. People should not be forced to change their behavior howsoever beneficial it may be from the point of view of government and agencies. Instead, they should be made equal partners in their development.  

Community members here are not passive listeners but they are at the forefront of making decisions, which otherwise the so-called professionals do. Communities need to feel a sense of ownership in their development process “Community-based media is not about transmission but about participation”  

Bookletpedia strongly believes in co-developing IEC communication materials with active participation from the communities. The material on prevention of child marriage is an outcome of that process and Through the community based workers of Rajasthan Mahila Kalyan Mandal, Ajmer, it has educated 10 lakh people (including adults and children) about the ill-effects of child marriage in Ajmer, Nagaur, Bikaner, Churu and Jhunjhunu districts of Rajasthan.



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