Participation by beneficiaries in Care Prospect Projects in Zambia : the role of participatory communication

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Date
2012-04-05
Authors
Jere, Raphael E
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For a development project to be successful and sustainable, it is essential that the beneficiaries participate in its planning, design, implementation and evaluation. For the beneficiaries to be empowered to participate, they need information which must be effectively conveyed to them. The report suggests that this could be achieved through the use of participatory development communication to share and spread information and knowledge among the stakeholders. To begin with, the author found that PROSPECT (to which the author was attached) maintains collaborative and consultative arrangements between itself and the beneficiaries of its projects through a variety of ways. Firstly, PROSPECT communicates with the beneficiaries and channels development interventions through area-based organisations. These are democratically elected, representative and non-political resident committees especially set up to expedite participation of local residents in any development programme in each of the informal settlements of the urban areas in Zambia. Secondly, PROSPECT uses participatory research to get baseline information for project planning, design and evaluation. However, there are some hints that communication, particularly, between the residents and the area-based organisations needs to be improved. To achieve some improvements in this area, the author suggests a number of things. Firstly, PROSPECT should change and re-orient the emphasis in the training of the leaders in the area-based organisations in the art of communicating with the residents to mobilise them for participation. Secondly, PROSPECT should encourage ABO leaders to keep written records and to communicate with the residents through some suggested appropriate channels of communication. Finally, PROSPECT should support development activities, like refuse collection and sanitation, community policing etc., that originate at zone level to help shift the focus from the RDC (as the case is now) to the zones and residents. This will give the leaders in the area-based organisations opportunities to intact and communicate with their people more often. It will also broaden the scope for ordinary residents to participate and gain genuine control over the development process in their compounds.
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Partipatory Communication
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