Development Cooperation Handbook/The video resources linked to this handbook/The Documentary Story/The project objectives
The project objectives
Vincenzo dad been continuously reminding me that we need to find a different communication style that the one adopted so far. Which had proved to be unsuccessful.
In order to raise consensus (and raise funds) for actions against poverty communicators have tried to raise pity for the action beneficiaries; so a lot of insistence in images showing starvation, marginalization, segregation etc. On the one side the NGOs have been begging alms for their programmes by insisting on the urgent desperate and hopeless situation of some populations; on the other mainstream media wanting to be shown by a vastly ignorant audience playing with the supposed need of the viewers to get self confidence by feeling that she/he is better off then those economically backward and culturally uncivilized “others”. It worked for the NGOs that raised money. It worked for the media that obtained consensus by the average public. But it created havoc in the communication and cooperation climate between peoples because it reinforced largely false stereotypes. On the one side it kept the richer countries public ignorant of the complexity of the issues at stake in international relations. On the side of developing nations it reinforced the perception that the Western mind is closed in itself, not capable of looking further than its own nose, and that it keeps preserving in its guts a violent feeling of aggressiveness and thrust for domination of others.
Also for the sake of fund raising finally the approach started backfiring. People got accustomed with the usual “poor them” rethoric and become more and more insensitive to it. After all, they will always be there so many poors. How do we know if the money really reaches them? And if that is making any difference ?
We had to find a different approach. We need to show how good project did make a difference in creating more understanding and in improving relationship with strong lasting impacts. We needed to show the complexity of the reasons that generate poverty and exclusion, which include the unfair trade practices forced by stronger countries upon the weaker ones. We needed to reveal how much we in the North of the World stand to gain with an improved world cooperation climate. And how rich are the cultures of the South of the World, which is actually where the vast majority of the people of the planet live, where world great civilizations started, where cultural, political and ethnical diversities integrate much better than in the North of the world. And where there is so much we can learn from.
Well. Vincenzo was right in assigning the mission. He spelled out the problems clearly. But …. The whole headache of finding the solutions was left to me (after all, wasn’t you who wrote the project! So now do it!).
I did not yet know how to do it. But I had clear ideas of we need to do. We have to challenge the common view that development communication is the "use of communication to promote social development". This vision insists in the rhetorical modality of trying to "convince" the others or, worst, in trying to "change" the others. But in true communication there are no "others", there is only "we", we who need to learn how to cooperate, we who need to learn how to learn from one another. Through communication we may "change", but it would be a reciprocal growth. Development communication is then successful when it enables participation, when it "builds agreement" on how to reciprocally support and empower the action partners.
Propaganda, seduction and other rhetorical modes will tent to be counterproductive in development cooperation, because they will express the desire of manipulating the counterparts. Open, sincere and reciprocally enabling communication will instead built trust, as it will reveal the intention of enabling reciprocal knowledge and common synergy.
How to do it? Well, after all, Stefano, wasn’t you who wrote the project! So now do it!. (God! and if I take the budget and run away on an Himalayan village to spend the next 10 years in meditation .... Nice idea .... I will do that! But only after I try to speak on the behalf of the excluded ones).