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Participatory Communication In The Visual Design Process Employed By The Eco Waste Coalition In Producing Their Communication Materials

2167 words - 9 pages

Development is about, and for the people. In the context of our society today, those who need development is almost always the marginalized or the underserved – those who are in the lower class of the society. On the other hand, those who promote and make development possible is oftentimes the government, private sectors, and NGOs – which basically consist people from society’s middle or upper class. Given this, a knowledge gap can be assumed to exist between the giver and the receiver of programs that aim for development. And one way to address this concern is through involving the stakeholders in the process.

Participation is an important step in assessing the values and needs of the different stakeholders. According to Bessette (2004), participation is the essential prerequisite for attaining development. In designing for a development initiative, or any research, the involvement of the target audience can be a great help to its success.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, participation is the state of being related to a larger whole. With the stakeholders sharing the needed information to a particular research organization, they are already being engaged in a bigger picture because they are playing a part that benefits a bigger number of people. Beierle 1999, & Thomas, 1995 (as cited by Irvin, R. & Stansbury, J., 2007) say that audience involvement can produce better decisions and it can benefit the rest of society.
Through the process of participation, people are given the chance to have a say on what they really need. And these people are the ones who are usually excluded from decision-making yet are affected by those decisions (Rushton, 2007).
Participation is also a collaborative process. It makes multiple individuals and organizations to work together despite their differences (McKinney, M. & Harmon, W., 2007). And once the collaboration of the two parties became effective, participation can then address the pressing needs and concerns of people. (Offenbacker, 2008)

Pretty (1995) identifies seven types of participation in his participation ladder. The types are as follows:
Self- mobilization
In this type, people initiate to act in a goal to change systems. There decisions are independent of external institutions, thus they decide for themselves.

Interactive participation
People participate in coordination with the organization. With this type of participation, action plans are being created. Such plans can lead either to the formation of new ideas, or to the strengthening of existing ones. Interactive participation makes use of various methodologies to address the different perspectives of the people, and to utilize systematic and structured learning processes.

Functional participation
In this type, participation only occurs after a particular organization has identified a set of objectives for a certain project. People participate through forming groups....

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