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Communication is the most crucial aspect of both personal and professional life in the modern world. It often is make or break for certain issues which affect our daily lives. Be it personal relationships with friends and family or professional relationships with colleagues and official partners, proper communication is the bridge that determines whether we are taking the route to success or failure.
As it is the age of specialization, even Communication itself has taken many forms. One such form is Development Communication. It is basically the form of Communication which is utilized to instigate social development. It is the most crucial aspect of effectively disseminating the intended message and reaching the target audience. Target audiences can differ as they can be one particular community or an entire country. Each target audience is unique in the sense that they respond to different messages and the medium the message is conveyed through differently. For example, the intended communications material might be intended for a community located in a remote village, thus the materials will have to be designed according to the means available in the targeted location in order to reach maximum efficiency. The target audience may not have access to social media due to a lack of internet connection, so the envisioned Communications campaign must adopt a more conventional medium which maximizes outreach, like community radio.
Bangladesh being a developing country, has a plethora of Non-Profit Organizations, both local and international, operating in order to bring about social development and parity. This means a glut of opportunities to explore the field of Development Communication. There are massive campaigns being implemented every year in order to bring about social development in the country which is widely considered to be under-developed. There are striking development issues in the country which the entire population has to tackle on a daily basis. Child-marriage, malnutrition, lack of proper education, lackluster health system, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and glaringly insufficient women rights are the outstanding issues amongst hundreds more which plague the country’s communities. Many of these issues are considered to be taboo in our traditional rural societies, thus they need to be dealt with the utmost sensitivity and care. Communications material have to follow suit as well, with the materials needing to be culturally sensitive, yet highly effective in order to be potent but also not offend anyone’s sentiments. Development Communication in Bangladesh does not experience the same sense of liberty that it might enjoy in more developed countries which are more open to dialogues regarding sensitive topics. Thus, the field has to explore new ideas and mediums while walking on a thin line as it strives to maximize its reach and output while also ensuring that no sentiments are offended.
Over the years, Bangladesh has experienced a massive influx of technological advancement which has witnessed the rise of now daily life amenities such as smart phones and social media. These two technological advancements in particular have been game changers for Development Communication’s advancement and the way it is perceived now. Smartphones at a cheap rate coupled with the ever expanding network coverage of telecommunication companies have ensured that the majority of the country’s population, from upper-class to lower-income class have access to social media and the abundance of information available along with it. Social media, in recent times, has become the go-to platform for people of all ages and backgrounds to get their daily dose of information. This change in technology has meant, like every other field, Development Communication has had to adapt to the new challenges and demands. Historically, the most conventional ways of Development Communication aimed to instigate social development, specifically in rural areas have been street theatres, community radio shows and door-to-door campaigns. The technological advancements though, have meant a reliance on social media and other modern technologies to fulfill the aims of Development Communication.
Development Communication despite having to tread lightly due to the over sensitive nature of Rural Bangladesh, has also become a major platform for the underprivileged. Along with the technological advancements, Development Communication has created its own effective module such as Facebook and YouTube contents which ensure wide outreach. Thus the underprivileged communities are being able to share their concerns and issues much more widely than it was possible before through more conventional methods.
The ever changing scenario in the field of Development Communication means the demands of the job sector is ever-changing as well. The contemporary Development Communication professional is required to be tech-savvy amongst other outstanding requirements. The emphasis on aspects such as technical writing, strategy planning, campaign implementation, photography and social media savviness means aspiring professionals need to be constantly up to date with the technological advancements and new methods being utilized in the field of Communication around the world. There are certain aspects through which an aspiring Communications professional can get an edge in the job sector. Qualities such as graphic designing are preferred to differ between the outstanding candidates from the merely good candidates. The new technological advancements and demands means certain messages are best suited to go in the form of social media messages which require eye catching graphics to go along with it, thus graphic designing credentials are a huge surplus for any aspiring candidates. Apart from this social media management, which includes daily overlooking and posting on social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to constantly inform target audiences, beneficiaries and donors about the organization’s activities is of utmost essentiality. Apart from these, critical thinking to ensure effective implementation of campaigns is imperative in order to be successful as a Development Communication Professional. Implementing the Communications materials of a certain campaign in today’s day and age requires expansive planning and critical strategic thinking as there are plenty of Communication mediums and opportunities available but the one with the utmost potency has to be identified and utilized efficiently.
Development Communication has both, changed itself and changed the fates of communities all around the world. There are many under developed countries in Africa, South America and Asia who undergo vigorous campaigns, planned through annual calendars in order to achieve desired social changes which will bring about a positive change in the community. These potential changes provide the world with the promise of a better future. The entire world now is popularly referred to as the “Global Village” and Communication probably plays the role of the main protagonist in this. Technological advancement has meant mediums such as social media play prominent roles in spreading messages and news regarding almost everything. Development Communication has also taken advantage of this relatively new found trend as even local organizations can disseminate news regarding their development activities throughout the world and raise awareness about the underprivileged and endangered communities. This also helps attract potential donors, which is essential for funding any campaign or project.
As time moves forward and ruthlessly changes, so does technology and along with it the demands of Development Communication. It has adapted quite emphatically till now and has massively increased its own potency and output. Communication in the field of Development, like any other field in the modern world, is the most potent weapon available in the arsenal. If utilized smartly and efficiently, it helps to achieve goals like no other.