Participatory communication in decentralised planning: community participation in development planning in Zambia

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Mukelabai, Katungu
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This document is a report of a practical attachment on communication in district development planning. It outlines the context in which communities communicate and take action to improve their livelihoods, and describes the extent to which institutions strive to help communities participate in planning for their own development. The practical attachment uses a participatory methodology to learn about how development institutions facilitate participation in development planning in Zambia. The specific target group for the practical attachment consists of resource-poor peri-urban communities in Mufulira. The report uses the diffusion theory and the concept of participatory message making to explain communication in decentralised planning. The attachment establishes that the Municipal Council of Mufulira is committed to participatory planning, playing a leading role in sustaining intersectoral co-operation through a district development co-ordinating committee (DDCC). The attachment also establishes that the DDCC has been striving to foster participatory communication largely through field workers. The report, however, concludes that poor networking and low capacity to mobilise resources, on the part of the DDCC, tends to compromise its influence over district development. The report also establishes that the capacity of communities to communicate and take action on their lives tends to be compromised by poverty and unproductive relations with institutions, making them generally fatalistic and apathetic towards public affairs. The report further documents proposals made for the improvement of the planning capacity of the DDCC and how the proposals have been used, illustrating improvement in participatory communication. The report further recommends improved planning through, among other measures, capacity-building within the DDCC; systematic planning for participation; motivating DDCC members' commitment; maximising DDCC expertise; communicating public policies; managing information for district development; and, involving communities in income-generation and infrastructure development. The major limitations to the attachment have been the inadequacy in policies on decentralisation and the time available for the exercise
Communication in community development -- Zambia , Communication -- Zambia