Scholars and practitioners shared their reflections on Rural Communication Services (RCS) in the special panel for the winners of the IAMCR-FAO RCS Research Awards held during the IAMCR 2023 Conference in Lyon, France on July 12, 2023
They talked about promoting the global initiative supported by FAO, the importance of applied research in the field of RCS, and the Collaborative Change Communication (CCComdev) initiative.
Dr. Mario Acunzo, Communication for Development Team Leader at FAO, highlighted the importance of institutionalizing rural communication services based on dialogue and negotiation with family farmers and their organizations. He also recognized the importance of research in generating evidence for policy making.
“The collection of evidence on the role of communication in different contexts is important to inform policy making. This is why it’s very important to support and apply the research especially in developing countries,” Dr. Acunzo said.
Dr. Sarah Cardney, co-chair of the IAMCR Rural Communication Working Group, also discussed the importance of the people’s relationship with communication technologies. She explained that communities should be able to build their own capacities using these technologies so that they could better improve their lives.
Instead of making communication services more technologically-driven, she emphasized that communicators and other stakeholders should focus more on creating a process where people are able to own and adapt technology so that it then becomes something that helps communities achieve positive change.
Lastly, Dr. Maria Stella Tirol, main facilitator of the CCComdev Initiative and dean of the UPLB-College of Development Communication, commended the three winners of the awards for showing what RCS is in terms of theory and application. According to her, the papers were able to highlight the importance of a needs-based solution that tackles both development and communication issues. She also talked about CCComdev which is a community of academic institutions, development agencies, and communication networks created to bridge inequalities in accessing and managing communication processes. CCComdev promotes the use of communication research for development, particularly the generation of evidence, to serve as a foundation for rural communication policies.
Article contributed by Mia Isabelle Rivera, ComDev Asia intern