Based on the author's personal experience of more than 30 years as a development communicator and consultant, this important book provides an understanding of the practical issues that arise in the planning and implementation of communication programs to bring about behavior change in the Indian context.
In the first section of the book, Avik Ghosh provides a historical background to the evolving nature of the application of communication technology in development. From the early thrust on disseminating messages and information, communication programs have grown to focus on modifying behavior. Of late, he argues, they have further evolved through the representation of different interest groups concerned with, for example, human rights, conservation, and environmental issues. Case studies of innovative applications of communication technology, both in India and abroad, are described to assist a holistic understanding of the evolution of the role of development communication.
The heart of the book lies in Section II. Here, the author presents recent experiences in three important social sectors—literacy, population issues, and rural development (including poverty alleviation). He describes major initiatives to apply communication technologies in the design and implementation of communication strategies in these sectors. Since the author was closely involved in all the programs he describes, the case studies provide very practical information concerning key elements in appropriate development communication—setting objectives, program design, planning, application of hardware, a multi-pronged approach, the preparation of materials, accountability, the participation of local communities, and professional management.
In the concluding chapter, Avik Ghosh draws attention to various critical issues and concerns in the context of India's development. He argues that the importance of communication in facilitating social changes is not appreciated sufficiently by policy-makers, nor the need to involve local communities in such initiatives. He also draws attention to the deep-seated social norms resulting in economic and social discrimination and a resistance to change.