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The Communication for Development (C4D) Approach in Developing Countries

The C4D involves understanding the context in which people live...

The Communication for Development (C4D) model aims to deal with the imperative problem of  lack of participation of the poor in their own development. The C4D involves comprehending  the  culture and beliefs that shape the life of people, their values and immediate surroundings. The C4D approach also involves engaging communities and its members as they identify problems, propose solutions and participate in undertaking development projects that may improve their life and the community as a whole [1].

In most developing countries, this lack of participation is mainly due to a combination of factors, one of which is the inadequate flow of information on problems that affect the poor. Lack of information, caused by inadequate Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) infrastructures specially in remote areas of developing countries, which may lead to lack of capacity and chance to express the people and the community’s views on public policy discussions.

Some scholars, however, have expressed the need for trained facilitators for the C4D method, claiming that trained facilitators are key in spreading the success of participatory methods. These facilitators may be village or community leaders who have developed the necessary knowledge to catalyze community members to address a specific issue and to develop collective measures. Trained facilitators in the participatory planning processes can likewise be able to smooth out the progress of the planning of community development projects [2].

Other scholars [3,4,5] underscored another challenge that is being faced by the C4D approach in developing countries: the influence of politics in the identification and, most specially, in the prioritization of projects. Thus, even if a particular community has been able to use the participatory approach in planning a community development project, its implementation may depend mainly on the priorities and biases of the local and national politicians.

Another important concern that needs to be addressed by the C4D approach is the need for more effective decentralization reforms that may allow substantial functions and powers to local government units (LGUs) in order to facilitate and widen the LGUs access to national level resources that may, in turn, allow them to fund and coherently sustain development projects that are undertaken using the participatory processes.


[1] UNICEF .org. (n.a.). Communication for Development. Retrieved from
[2, 3] Imperial Jr. D., (n.a.). Introducing Participatory Planning Practices with Local Governments: A Philippine Case Study. In FAO Corporate Document Repository. Decentralized Rural Development & the Role of Self-Help Organization. Retrieved from
[4] Ravanera Jr. D., (n.a.).
Introducing Participatory Planning Practices with Local Governments: A Philippine Case Study. In FAO Corporate Document Repository. Decentralized Rural Development & the Role of Self-Help Organization. Retrieved from
[5] Alicias, M. D., (2011). Decentralization and Local Participatory Development Experiences from Cambodia and the Philippines. Paper for the ‘South to South Forum on Sustainability’. Lingnan University, Hongkong. Retrieved from


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