Traditional Modes Of Communication In Community Relations (A Case Study Of Orji Autonomous Community In Owerri North L.G.A Of Imo State)

Project and Seminar Material for Mass Communication

Traditional Modes Of Communication In Community Relations (A Case Study Of Orji Autonomous Community In Owerri North L.G.A Of Imo State)


Abstract


This research centers on the traditional modes of communication in community relations. How best the traditional media can be used to relate with both the ruralities and organizations operating there. Data was gathered through the use of primary sources like the questionnaire and secondary sources like textbooks, dictionaries, internet etc. The research is a survey research and the six villages used for generalization was selected through simple random sampling. 180 questionnaires were distributed out of which 177 were accurately completed and returned.

The research was intended to achieve five objectives in other to achieve this, five corresponding research questions were constructed and the following findings were made at the end of the research: That traditional media of communication is very important in information dissemination, community integration, mobilization and development in Orji Autonomous Community; that the tradomodern communication system could be adopted in Or Orji Autonomous Community as regards information dissemination; to reduce fidelity and authenticity loss caused by poor message content, noisy environment and poor delivery that the town crier must possess a loud and clear voice and should always come closer to the target audience etc. the following recommendations were made; companies operating in rural communities should always provide the felt needs of the people to avert crisis, rural communities should always be studied to know their strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) and know how to tackle them.


Table Of Contents


Preliminary Page(s)

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgement
  • Abstract
  • Table of contents

Chapter One:

Introduction

  • 1.1 Background to the study
  • 1.2 Statements of problems
  • 1.3 Objectives of study
  • 1.4 Significance of the study
  • 1.5 Research questions
  • 1.6 Scope of the study
  • 1.7 Limitation of the study
  • 1.8 Definition of terms

Chapter Two:

Review Of Literature

  • 2.1 Review of literature
  • 2.2 An expose of African culture: A background to understanding its communication behaviour and process
  • 2.3 Theoretical Framework
  • 2.4 The concepts of traditional communication/Oral media in community relations
  • 2.5 Social environment/forums for traditional Communication in Orji Autonomous Community
  • 2.6 Community Relation for community Development/causes of crisis in Community relations
  • 2.7 An overview of traditional classification of African modes of communication

Chapter Three:

Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research Design
  • 3.2 Area of study
  • 3.3 Population of the study
  • 3.4 Sources of data
  • 3.5 Sample and Sampling technique
  • 3.6 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.7 Validity of the study
  • 3.8 Method of data collection
  • 3.9 Method of data analysis

Chapter Four:

Data Analysis And Presentation

  • 4.1 Data Presentation
  • 4.2 Discussion of findings

Chapter Five:

Summary, Conclusion And Recommendations

  • 5.1 Summary
  • 5.2 Conclusion
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • References
  • Appendix
  • Questionnaire

Chapter One:


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

In the wake of evangelization and the subsequent colonization of many parts of the African continent, before the whites made advancement to Africa, Africa South of the Sahara had evolved in its ways of life. They lived their lives, died their deaths; cultivated, ate, built, sang, danced, healed their sick, created and had their traditional modes of communication for communicating with its dwellers (Konkwo 1997, P.1).

Oral media is a concept that describes traditional media or indigenous media of communication in Africa. It is a multi-channel communication system which is employed I most rural areas (villages, clans, towns and wards) as well as in rural-urban setting. It is a visual, instrumental but essentially an oral process which depends on the effective use of auditory system.

This process is also referred to as traditional communication. The nature of the traditional media gives them an advantageous edge over the mass media. It is interpersonal, interactions or face to face by nature. It is as well complex. This is because it is only one system which operates at various levels of society.

Okunna (2001, P.35) suggests that traditional media can be used to mobilize the people at the grass not level of community development and national consciousness. No serious mass-oriented development programme, especially in rural communities can succeed without the active involvement of the inhabitants within the traditional system.

Traditional media of communication can also be used for the purposes of agenda-setting. In this case, the communicator who speaks to the people in the village or market square, in the church or mosque, in small or large family groups, age grade or town union meetings, has a greater chance of convincing them to participate in poverty reduction efforts of government than where such communicator is operating from a distance as is often the case in mass media.

The use of songs, dances and drama to teach people new farming techniques, encourages them to be self-reliant, acquire good education in their interest and that of the society. This constitutes of active strategies of using traditional media to mobilize people for development projects and for setting agenda. The audience sees the communicator and asks questions where necessary.

Feedback is immediate and necessary clarifications are made for effective communication. McBride observes that example abound where songs, drama, dance groups and the like are used to promote campaigns against social evils such as alcoholism, burdensome do writes, discrimination against woman archaic taboos or for advances in farming, health, nutrition and farming welfare, agricultural reforms, national integration and similar national goals.

The Oral media instruments employed in any rural communication situation depend largely on the type of information that the gatekeepers want the public to know and this in turn depends on the final authority of the traditional overlord. Journalists set agenda in the traditional media by serving as gatekeepers who media between the politicians, the audience and the media.

For years gatekeepers have been some of the most powerful people in the stories promote trends, so the journalistic wheat from the chaff and some would argue, restrict the flow of information. Therefore, traditional media is used for promotion, publication and public relations etc. products, services; events, persons, idea etc. are promoted and publicized. In each situation, the traditional news man encourages people to accept person(s), ideas etc.

In traditional African society, the social environment in which communication takes place includes: the Ezi-na-ulo (Family), the kindred (Umunna), the village (Obodo), the clan or town.

First, the family provides the initial environment where primary socialization of the child into the more complex world of the adult takes place. The family extends to Umunna where the male child who has been initialed interacts and deliberates on issues of communal interest of kindred are the depositors of knowledge and experience, the walking library. The village extends to the ethnic group (clan) who are not necessarily related, but functions as it were under common cultural and linguistic ties. A child becomes fully human whom he is received by elders mostly through ritual presentation.

Traditional Modes Of Communication In Community Relations (A Case Study Of Orji Autonomous Community In Owerri North L.G.A Of Imo State)

Source: Uchendu, Ahajioku Lecturer, 1995 cited in Konkwo, Perspectives in African Traditional Communication System 1997.

A community relation on the other hand is that branch of public relations that has emerged from what used to be referred to as corporate social responsibility. It is concerned solely with how to create an enabling environment in the host community so that the company can carry out its activities without any hindrance, but rather with the assistance and support of host inhabitants.

In the perspective of the researcher, community relations is a social engineering activity persistently planned, employed and executed to establish a powerful cordial relationship and understanding among communities and companies which normally attracts positive image and goodwill.

Community relations in rural communities sharpen the awareness of people of their own history, evoke deeds of illusion of ancestors and magnifies past events. Effective communication is paramount to enhance perfect understanding between the host community and the company. Lack of understanding has often bred resentment of the company by the host community especially in the Niger-Delta region of Nigeria. Relly (1981, P.97) underscores the importance of communication thus, “if communication were perfect, there would be few problems in the world. We would all understand one another”.

The problem becomes now to effectively utilize these traditional media to bring about unity, progress, and development etc. of the rural people in various communities with reference to Orji. This and many others promoted the researcher to undergo the task of finding and preferring solutions to these problems in other words attracting government development, social mobilization etc. among the rural people who constitute almost 80% of the population of the nation.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

With the advent of the new technologies, the traditional media of communication is very expedient in rural communities used for effective communication has been neglected and sidelined. This has hindered the integration of the rural people in the activities and programmes of the government in most communities.

The neglect of the power of these media by companies to communicate to the rural people has breaded and is still breeding crisis in communities especially in the oil producing area of the Niger Delta. Finally, lack of audience analysis, poor delivery, poor environment, and poor content of the message of traditional media in community relations has made/is still making the messages suffer fidelity and authenticity loss and such aspects of the message lost to the younger generation. These nexus of problems prompted this study.


1.3 Objectives Of The Study

The following are the objectives of this study:

  1. To ascertain the best and most effective traditional mode of communication for attracting development in Orji Autonomous community.
  2. To demonstrate how traditional media can be used for the purpose of agenda-setting.
  3. To find how best the messages from traditional media which has suffered fidelity and authenticity loss as a result of poor content, poor delivery, poor environment can be reduced.
  4. To make comparism between the traditional modes of communication and the modern media to determine the one most appropriate in Orji.
  5. To ascertain how information on the function and operations of all identifiable media and channels used in traditional communities with a view to passing them to the younger generation can be made more available.

1.4 Significance Of The Study

This study is significant in the following ways:

  1. It will encourage companies operating in different communities in the world to act responsibility to avoid crisis and as well make the host communities to appreciate their effort and support them for the development of such communities.
  2. It will surface as a reference material for all mass communication students.
  3. It will help by assisting researchers investigating.

1.5 Research Questions

  1. How best and most effective can traditional mode of communication for attracting development in Orji Autonomous community be?
  2. How can traditional media be used for the purpose of agenda-setting?
  3. How best can the messages from traditional media which has suffered fidelity and authenticity loss as a result of poor content, poor delivery, poor environment be reduced?
  4. How can it be compared between the traditional modes of communication and the modern media to determine the one most appropriate in Orji?
  5. How can information on the function and operations of all identifiable media and channels used in traditional communities with a view to passing them to the younger generation be made more available?

1.6 Scope Of The Study

The scope of this study is Orji Autonomous community in Owerri North Local government area of Imo State.


1.7 Limitations Of The Study

The following factors posed problems to this study.

  1. Non-availability of relevant materials during the course of this exercise.
  2. The short time and cost of traveling to source for materials used for the study.
  3. The nonchalant attitude of respondent to questions due to lack of knowledge on the importance of research in the contemporary world.

The research therefore, is limited to the study of five villages as against the nine villages that make up the community.


1.8 Definition Of Terms

Conceptual
Community:

It is people living together in a place, district or country considered as a whole.

Dissemination:

The giving out or spreading of information to the/among the rural dwellers using any media of communication.

Integration:

The coming together of rural dwellers who have been separated as a result of one problem or the other.

Development:

The gradual growth of communities and its people to enable to it to be more advanced and stronger.

Mobilization:

To work together in order to achieve a particular aim and to organize a group of people to achieve their aim.

Operational
Traditional Modes Of Communication / Oralmedia:

These are traditional media which emanates from interplay of customs, which is used for conveying messages to the ruralities e.g. drums, signs, bush burning etc.

Community Relations:

It is a public relations function that allows an organization to establish a planned, mutual and sustained relationship between itself and the community they operate in to attract good name.


Chapter Five


Summary, Conclusion And Recommendations

5.1 Summary

The researcher set out to find out how the traditional media of communication can facilitate and enhance community relations in Orji Autonomous Community.

Five objectives were set with five corresponding research questions, which is very pertinent for the study. 158 respondents out of the 177 respondents that correctly completed the questionnaire affirmed that the traditional media of communication is very important in information dissemination, community integration mobilization and development in Orji.

It was seen that effective community is essential in community relations. These traditional media of communication should always be used to set agenda for the people. This will enlighten them more about issues, activities, events and programmes of government.

Finally, the researcher proffered solutions or options that can help solve the problems caused by (fidelity and authenticity loss resulting from poor message delivery, noisy environment and also the ways through which information on the operations and functions of traditional media can be made more available so that it will be passed to the younger generation) in the researchers recommendation.


5.2 Conclusion

This research exercise has shown a number of things. Though modern communication system may be effective in urban setting, it is not as such in rural communities. The questionnaire analyzed in this exercise has proposed the combination of modern and traditional media of communication to facilitate and enhance effective dissemination of information in order to attract development and for community integration in rural communities.
Lastly, organizations operating in communities must/should carryout a SWOT analysis to know these communities better. Effective communication, discussion and dialogue is also very pertinent.


5.3 Recommendations

The following are the recommendations for this research work:

A. To Reduce Fidelity And Authenticity Loss

(Caused by poor delivery, noisy environment etc.) Adhere strictly to the following:

  1. The town crier must have a loud and clear voice. He/she must not have any speech impediment.
  2. The messages must be repeated and appraised always. Such questions like “I hope you have gotten the message” should be asked.
  3. The time the messages are disseminated should be early, either very early in the morning or at might. This is simply to meet the target audience at home. Also the town crier must be very close to the target audience in order to pass the messages to them.
B. To Provide Information On The Function And How To Operate These Traditional Media

(In order to preserve it to the younger generation) The following must be adhered strictly to:

  1. Teaching them in school
  2. Producing local plays and films on radio and television about them. These plays should showcase these media and their different functions and uses in action.
  3. Writing books, novels etc. on them.
  4. Through youth organization.
Others Include:
  1. Companies that operate in rural communities should always provide the felt needs of the people to avert crisis. This is because no organization can exist for long in an atmosphere characterized by chaos.
  2. Also, the trado modern system of communication should be adopted in information dissemination in rural communities.
  3. The rural communities should always be studied to know their strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis) and know how best to tackle these problems.

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