August 28, 2007

Communication challenge is to convert information to 'knowledge to action'

‘Knowledge and information are central to democracy and are essential for people to successfully respond to the opportunities and challenges of social, economic and technological changes. But to be useful, knowledge and information must be effectively communicated to people.’ Probably a statement which brings lays importance to the context of development communication. But the issue of discussion here is that we have to not only ensure that the information is disseminated, people are engaged in dialogue, and the information gets converted into knowledge, which is a complex process, not easy but more importantly it is to transform the same towards social action. Converting the information to knowledge and that to action is a major challenge of today’s communication efforts. This is a complex process and needs that enabling environment which complements the change to happen.

There is lot of talk on need to increase awareness or promote behaviours, but then what? Even if one has access to information and is motivated to adapt that positive behavior, but does the environment permits that change or much needed services provide that back up.

‘Involving people and Evolving Behaviour, a book on the issue interestingly points this out clearly and states that ‘All the people wanting to make changes in their lives face the resistance of their family, peers and community. Health services are often inadequate for their needs or insensitive to their situation. The education system often fails them. They may also face religious, cultural, economic, or social pressures or a lack of structural and legislative support-that constrain their freedom to choose healthy and safe options.’ The book further adds that the programmes can gain far greater impact by building on existing cultural, social and other factors which support safe and healthy choices, for example, in discouraging the use of tobacco or alcohol. When we talk of communication we therefore need to think in much broader terms, beyond the individual whose behaviour we are concerned about. Be it immunization, girl’s education, promoting positive practices of hand washing, breastfeeding, or talking about HIV/AIDS. We have to do much more than develop individuals, knowledge, motivation and skills to be effective. The need is to focus on creating a supportive and enabling environment for these individuals. All communication talks and efforts need to build on those aspects of the environment which are supportive to positive behaviour and minimize or change those which are negative or resistant.’

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that is absouletly true but when will the I & B minsitry learn this