An Appraisal Of Traditional Media Of Communication In Rural Mobilization

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

An Appraisal Of Traditional Media Of Communication In Rural Mobilization


Quite recently, questions have been asked by communication scholars and media experts on the appraisal / the importance of traditional tool or artifacts of communication, such as the “town criers use of the gong, drums, gun tots, smoke signals songs, dances and masquerades etc. In rural mobilization, such as the case of Nenwe town. Moreover, it has equally been asked also, if the traditional media of communication will enhance rural based communication and of mobilization than the modern mass media. It is on the bases of this question that this research study proposes to highlight the salient objective philosophy of the traditional media as well as identifying the basic traditional communication tool or artifacts / its appraisal as implemented by Nenwe town in achieving effective mobilization of its citizenry. On the other hand, this research study will also discover the usefulness and limitation of traditional media of communication if any, in mobilization process of the rural citizenry such as Nenwe town. Finally, this research study will propose the marriage of traditional media of communication and the modern mass media for the purpose of conveying effective rural mobilization communication.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

Language or communication is life, and life is language or communication, so goes a certain communication axiom, it is on this premise that it is a truism to say that the history of traditional modes of communication is as old as human existence on the planet earth. From the earliest period of the primitive man, traditional modes of communication have been used to communicate information by the use of Smoke signals Game Hunting sound signal. To present day practice of or a media mode of communication, using the town – crier Gunshots Drum beating gongs traditional modes of communication can be defined as the product of the interplay between a traditional community customs and conflict, harmony and strike cultural convergence and divergences, culture specific tangibles and intangibles interpersonal relations, symbols and codes and oral traditions which includes mythology, oral literatures (poetry, storytelling, proverbs) Masquerades Witchcraft Rites Rituals Music Dance Drama Costumes. And similar obstructions and artifacts which encompass a peoples factual, symbolic and cosmological existence from birth to death and even beyond death, Traditional modes of communication gave way to modern mass media as a result of man’s improvement in innovations of science and technology. However, the mass media today has sub sector (electronic and print media) but the level and rate of development of this sub – sector has led to the need for the revival of the traditional modes of communication. For examples, the mass media in Nigeria today infected with so many problems that have definitely infected its utility as a medium for development of communication these problem includes:

The mass media in Nigeria today is still much urban phenomenon instead of the known fact that 80% of Nigerian live in the rural area.The adverse economic environments which prevent in Nigeria at present are not conducive at all to mass media growth and operation, in the print media sub – sector, for example, the cost of newsprint and other production facilities have, among other thing forced some small – scale publishers of magazine, news papers and books to go off market, while most of the still existing ones have been forced to increase their cover prices for above the reach of many Nigeria. In the electronic media sub – sector, in addition to the fact that government monopoly of radio / television station, ownership and control have continued to militate against the growth or rapid development of this media industry, this sub sector still has problem of cost and low professionalism to cope with. It is against this backdrop of problems facing the mass media in Nigeria, that it has become imperative for the revitalization of the traditional modes of communication, which is more penetrative to the rural dwellers and more effective on operational mobilization strategy, as not as stimulation of mass participation of the rural people on concrete development projects. Invariably, this need for traditional modes of communication reveal in line with the finding of rural socio – economic studies which discloses that “it is only at the village level that members of a rural community are best able to sit together for mutual consultation in search of viable solutions to community problems”, as this study intends to find out form the Nenwe people of Aminri local government area, Enugu state, Nigeria. It is an obvious fact that over 80% of Nigerian population reside in the rural area, and because of certain factors such as Illiteracy Poverty Lack of infrastructural development. The rural dwellers are ex – communicated or are made to be inaccessible to government policies and programmes, and are thus denied participation towards the articulation and implementation of these policies and programmes within the rural areas, this is as a result of negligence on the role and effectiveness of traditional modes of communication in mobilizing the rural people for development objectives. It is based on these fundamental issues that this study will focus at spotlighting the effectiveness of traditional modes of communication in rural mobilization.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

The mass media, like everything Western, have dominated the political, socio-cultural and development space of Nigeria. But they have not been effective in communicating and mobilizing the grassroots who are mostly rural, poor and illiterate for development. Consequently, there is a pervasive sense and feeling of alienation and marginalization by the grassroots which portends grave danger to Nigeria. This is because the logic of national security is even development of both urban and rural areas, more so as the rural areas are the food basket and resource base of the nation and “poverty anywhere is a danger to prosperity everywhere, and prosperity anywhere must be shared everywhere”. Thus, the traditional media which are rooted in the people’s culture are considered very effective or more effective in grassroots mobilization for participatory development, especially with the global paradigm shift to bottom-up approach to development and globalization (which is contextualizing global events to local situations).

1.3 Objective of the Study

The objectives of the study are;

  1. To find out if traditional communication can be used as an effective tool for rural mobilization and development
  2. To determine if traditional media can be strategically used to reach the rural populace
  3. To ascertain the possible hindrances to effective utilization of traditional media
  4. To determine the policies/projects that can be implemented to boost the use of traditional-media in rural communities

1.4 Research Hypotheses

For the successful completion of the study, the following research hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

  1. H0: traditional communication cannot be used as an effective tool for rural mobilization and development.
    H1: traditional communication can be used as an effective tool for rural mobilization and development.
  2. H02: there are no possible hindrances to effective utilization of traditional media
    H2: there are possible hindrances to effective utilization of traditional media

1.5 Significance of the Study

The significance of the study cannot be overemphasized. It is so significant in the following ways: This will enable the agencies concerned with rural mobilization and development to known how powerful traditional communication can be as effective public relations tools that can be used for winning and sustaining the trust, confidence, support and co-operation for any grass root policy, plan or project. This study will bring to the importance of traditional form of communication as veritable tool that can be used to successfully execute their project and programmes at the grass root level. This knowledge will equally help them (development partners / agencies) to appreciate the importance people attach to their culture and language, especially, the dialect peculiar to a particular area. This will further help them to select the right channel, right people and make adequate budget that will enable whatever programme /project targeted at the rural populace to record immeasurable / unquantifiable success. The study will enable the rural dwellers to compare and contrast between modern and traditional communication which is better and more effective in brining development to their areas. Whichever form of communication that has more advantage will inform the rural dwellers; preference and usage. However, the power and imperativeness of traditional communication would still be established for appreciation by the rural dweller this study will serve as reference materials for further studies by the researchers and scholar. In case, there are areas or issues that are perceived not to be treated in detail or comprehensively, the study will help to elicit curiosity, capable of inciting research interest in this area.

1.6 Scope and Limitation of the Study

The scope of the study covers an appraisal of the traditional media of communication in rural mobilization. The researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study;

a) Availability of Research Material:

The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study

b) Time:

The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) Organizational Privacy:

Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities

1.7 Definition of Terms


An act of assessing something or someone

Traditional Media:

Any form of mass communication available before the advent of digital media. This includes television, radio, newspapers, books, and magazines.


Communication is the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another through the use of mutually understood signs and semiotic rules


The action of a country or its government preparing and organizing troops for active service.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  • Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  • Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  • Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  • Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  • Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was to ascertain an appraisal of the traditional media of communication in rural mobilization

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of traditional media of communication in rural mobilization

5.2 Summary

This study was on an appraisal of the traditional media of communication in rural mobilization. Four objectives were raised which included: To find out if traditional communication can be used as an effective tool for rural mobilization and development, to determine if traditional media can be strategically used to reach the rural populace, to ascertain the possible hindrances to effective utilization of traditional media, to determine the policies/projects that can be implemented to boost the use of traditional-media in rural communities. In line with these objectives, two research hypotheses were formulated and two null hypotheses were posited. The total population for the study is 200 residents of Nenwe town of Enugu state. The researcher used questionnaires as the instrument for the data collection. Descriptive Survey research design was adopted for this study. A total of 133 respondents made up village heads, elderly men, elderly women and youthswere used for the study. The data collected were presented in tables and analyzed using simple percentages and frequencies

5.3 Conclusion

Any message designed for the rural populace that does not share the same frame of reference with the majority of the masses that constitute the target audience before, and for whom the messages are meant, will surely not meet the objective of the project/program as such gesture will amount to exercise in futility. This is because most government and development agencies carry out their projects or programmes at the rural areas with the belief that they understand the villagers very well to be poor and therefore, have no choice, that whatever they (villagers) are given is acceptable by them. Lack of education or improper sensitization programmes hinder the full and better appreciation of most government and development agencies’ plans/programmes/projects by the rural dwellers thereby making them ignorant, apathetic, hostile and prejudiced towards any development project that is destined for them. Continuous preference and dominance of modern communication over traditional communication will adversely affect our traditional and cultural system, as this will gradually and surely erode our traditional values, norms and cultural heritage. Thus, for effective grassroots mobilization and development, traditional communication or traditional media is very critical.

5.4 Recommendation

  1. Messages and programmes/projects targeted at the rural populace should be well designed in line with the wishes and aspirations of the rural populace through adequate and thorough research on their needs.
  2. There should be adequate and proper education and sensitization programmes aimed at bringing to the ruralites’ awareness the gains of development projects, and this should be done through the best and most relevant traditional media
  3. There should be proper funding of traditional media of communication, as this will help to preserve our values, norms and heritage.
  4. There should be involvement of traditionally inclined persons (e.g members of a particular rural area a project is to be executed; chieftaincy Title Holders, rural-based youths and market women, rural- based clergy men/women, rural based government/development officers) so as to ensure and enhance easy relationship which can only be guaranteed through goodwill, better understanding and co-operation.

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