Assessing Participatory Research For Effective Design Of Health Communication

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Assessing Participatory Research For Effective Design Of Health Communication


The aim of this research is to determine the levels of participation in all the stages of the production of the radio programFlava. Health interventions are beginning to incorporate the use of audience participation in their research process although for some, participation is just a talk rather than a walk.The major objectives of this thesis are to assess participatory research in health interventions for effective communication and behaviour change; determine the extent to which the audience is involved in the research process of the radio programme Flava and establish how the participatory approach to research in the production of Flava can be used in radio programming.

Flavatried to use participatory approaches in every aspect of production therefore thiswork attempts to look at how well the audience was involved and its corresponding effect in the overall output of the program. It also tried to find gaps in their research approaches and proffer solutions to the processes of health communication and research. The findings of this research imply that participation is key in any health intervention although it is hardly possible to involve all stakeholders in a community of a diverse nature. Young people who participate in any behaviour change intervention are more likely to change their behaviour rather than those who do not or who have no opportunity to participate.The recommendations revolve around empowerment of health communicators with expertise and skills to help them communicate better and more effectively.

Chapter One

General Introduction

1.0 Background to the Study

The concept of communication as an effective change tool for development has evolved over the last three decades. The conceptual framework for communication has since expanded considerably. The key elements of development communication for social change emphasise audience participation both as a social and an individual process (Baylis and Smith, 2001).

The end of World War II brought about drastic changes to economic systems around the world. The United States of America pushed for the creation of a group of governmental and non-governmental institutions tied innately to it in order to stop poverty, hunger and disease in the third world while fostering development and growth (Baylis and Smith, 2001). They further argued that the initial phase witnessed the dominant development paradigm based on the experiences of the industrial revolution in Europe and U.S.A and the emergence of a capital intensive technology era that are equated to economic growth. During this period, it was assumed that development could be achieved easily through transfer of western technology.

Development was thought to be triggered by the widescale diffusion and adoption of modern technologies. Such modernization was planned in the national capitals under the guidance and direction of experts brought in from developed countries. Often, the people in the villages who are the “objects” of these plans would first learn that “development” was on the way when strangers from the city turnedup, frequently unannounced, to survey land or look at project sites. In some instances, they simply brought services that they thought the people would need.

Mass communication played an important role in promoting “modernization” which then was perceived as development. Radio was one of the main media used. National leaders, bureaucrats, and experts broadcast passionately from the cities about the wonderful differences which the adoption of new and foreign ideas would bring to the lives of the people. They talked at length about methods of farming, cures for diseases, importance of sending children to school, advantages of having fewer children, desirability of having a stable government, and so on.

The radio was the first electronic device to allow for mass communication. It has enabled information to be transferred far and wide, not only nationally but internationally as well. The development of radio began in 1893 with Nikolai Tesla‟s demonstration of wireless radio communication in St. Louis, Missouri. The radio was a

„magic box‟ then. It allowed information to be moved to several places all at once. His work laid the foundation for those later scientists who worked to perfect the radio we now use. In similarvein, radio broadcasting was introduced to Nigeria by the British in 1932, when British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) signals were relayed to receivers through the re-diffusion system. In 1951, the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) was inaugurated but later dissolved and handed over twenty of its stations to state governments. This development birthed the use of mobile cinemavans which took new information closer to the people living at the suburbs.

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