Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice in Communication for Development: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities was the title of a plenary session organised in collaboration with UNICEF.
Although progress has been made over the years, a recurrent observation in the communication for development (C4D) field has been the limited cross-fertilization between theory and practice. Many in the academic world of C4D would argue that the pace of theoretical analysis and growth often exceeds the ability of practitioners to reflect it in their applied work. By contrast, C4D practitioners are increasingly confronted with greater demands for articulating a clear theory of change (i.e., what interventions lead to what results), and robust evidence of how C4D contributes to programmatic outcomes.
This panel examined trends, challenges and opportunities to bridge the gap between theory and practice in communication for development, including perspectives from a mix of representatives from the academic world and from the world of practitioners (including UN agencies and NGOs). Panel presentations mapped out current trends in the C4D field, including a focus on social norms, social networks, ICTs; discuss case studies that illustrate how the practice of C4D has evolved and what differences it makes in and across development sectors (e.g. Health, HIV, Water and Sanitation); and shared lessons learned on collaborative efforts between academics and practitioners to broaden the richness of C4D as a field of study and practice. Panelists put forward key questions and recommendations for further discussion with the audience and beyond.
Click on the links below to see videos of the presentations:
- Rafael Obregon, Chief of the Communication for Development Unit, UNICEF
- Mario Mosquera, Communication for Development (C4D) Specialist, UNICEF, India
- Jo Tacchi, Director of Research and Innovation in the Design & Social Context Office, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia
- Amparo Cadavid, Professor of Communication for Social Change and senior research fellow at the Faculty of Communications of the Pontificia Javeriana University in Bogotá, Colombia
- Venu Arora, Specialist in participatory media and co-founder of Ideosync Media Combine, India