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Communicating for Development

November 9, 2009

snugglebussed it over to Dublin for the annual meeting of development communicators (or the imaginatively entitled DevCom, as in Defcom 4). For obvious reasons I won’t tell you which country im representing (and to be honest you wouldn’t even come close to being able to guess.)

These are the people charged with ‘selling’ the idea and goals of development to developed country populations in whose names the cheques are ultimately written. It poses slightly difficult questions about what is and is not a legitimate use of aid funds, not least where is the balance to be found in ‘investing’ current aid budgets in what is basically an attempt at fostering support for growing that budget over time? But on the other hand when less money is spent in a year on development education than is spent on marketing a well known house of perfumes, then should it just simply be seen as a public good? But then how is it marketed, to whom, and to what ends?

These are exactly the kinds of questions I don’t think we’ll be discussing, though that said Dambissa Moyo is the opening speaker tomorrow morning, so to be fair if that isn’ facing your critics, I don’t know what is.

I come into this conference with the following view: development communicators buy into, and propagate, what I call ‘the communications fallacy’, namely the view that better communications work produces more support for development assistance, and more support for development assistance facilitates higher aid budgets. The first half of that assumption is extremely complex (because what actually is development assistance, and how do you really educate people about it in quick and accessibly ways?), the second half is evidentially suspect (there simply is no support for it in the data). It will certainly be interesting to see how it goes.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. rowan permalink
    December 3, 2009 3:36 pm

    So can we have an update? what did you think?

    • snugglebus permalink*
      December 4, 2009 11:02 pm

      sorry! an update to follow tomorrow I promise!

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