Since the Unique Identification Authority of India embarked on its unique identification project (UIDAI) in 2010, an estimated 200 million people have voluntarily enrolled. As discussed in a previous blog, the UIDAI aims to administer some 1.2 billion unique identification numbers by the end of this decade. The 12-digit online number, also referred to as Aadhaar (“foundation” in Hindi), is issued upon completion of demographic and biometric information by the enrollees. The number will give millions of Indian residents, previously excluded from the formal economy, the opportunity to access a range of benefits and services, such as banking, mobile, education, and healthcare. The UIDAI specifically aims to extend social and financial services to the poor, remove corrupt practices plaguing existing welfare databases, eliminate duplicate and fake identities, and hold government officials accountable.
So, what’s governance anyway? No, don’t ask me for a definition. I can, however, tell you how we frame it. People, Spaces, Deliberation has been around for about four years now, and we hope we have made our modest contribution to the discussion of governance, especially in a development context.
To give an idea about how we frame governance, I took a look at the tags we use most frequently for our posts. Each post in which the tag occurred was counted. And here it is: Governance, on this blog, is about, first and foremost, public opinion and accountability. It’s also about the media as institutions of accountability and media development, about transparency, about fighting corruption, about social media – and about communication.
Since Mongolia shifted to a multi-party political system and market economy in the early 1990s, it has become a young and vibrant democracy. Debates among politicians, policymakers, civil society organizations, political and social commentators, and other stakeholders are now an integral part of Mongolian society. These happen through local newspapers and on the TV channels, at citizens’ hall meetings, as well as during cultural events, particularly in rural areas as nomadic herders gather for such event and authorities take that opportunity to communicate with them.
However, these debates may not always be particularly effective in getting to a consensus. Indeed, the heritage of the socialist system can still often be felt: public authorities, particularly at the local level, see communication as a way to disseminate and diffuse information through a traditional media approach. There is much to do to transform communication from a one-way dissemination tool to an instrument for two-way engagement.
- East Asia and Pacific
- Public Debate
- Local Media
- consensus building
- Information Dissemination
- One-Way Communication
- Two-Way Communication
- Decentralization and Local Governance
- Coaltion Building
- Stakeholder Analysis
- Governance Reform
- Local Governance
- Public Consultations
- community participation
- Communication for Governance
- social accountability
- Decentralization Reform
- public actors
- civil society organizations
- Political Commentators
- Social Commentators
The best part about working in a country office is the wide array of stakeholders one gets to work with. Development is never a solitary, insular process; indeed, it combines the expertise and inputs of a variety of people from diverse backgrounds: the government, civil society, the private sector, multilateral and bilateral financing institutions – the list is long! So you can imagine my excitement when my colleague, Tahira Syed, called me a few days ago to ask me to participate in a series of consultations with government and civil society representatives from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan. Tahira is the TTL for a Multi-Donor Trust Fund-financed project which will focus on providing sustainable livelihood opportunities and improvement in local-level infrastructure for FATA residents.
As the project is moving forward in the design and preparation phase, it was an opportune time to hold consultations with the two most important stakeholders of the project: local government and community organizations and representatives. Both groups have very different mandates and roles to play in the development of their areas, but hearing their perspective is crucial and informs the overall outcome of the project.
The third of the ten key issues about development communication is a crucial one and it asserts that there is a significant difference between development communication and other types of communication. What is the difference and why is important? Let us start by defining communication’s most renowned function; i.e.
Communication is not just about communicating, at least not in the development context. My personal experiences, where I applied communication in a number of projects in different areas, such as agriculture, environment, rural development, etc., confirm what is cited also in relevant studies. Many of the failures in the development context can be attributed to two major factors: the lack of or insufficient involvement of stakeholders from the beginning of the initiative and the lack of or insufficient use of communication in the project activities.
When I was asked to be one the blogger for the Development Marketplace I accepted without being too sure what was expected from me. I was told I should write something about communication, since this is not only my professional field, but something I am passionate about, I decided to start with two blogs about two key challenges that I have been facing and dealing with in the last few years of my professional life.
Almost everywhere, political leaders don't work with the strange animal known as 'the Public'. They work with 'key stakeholders' when they have to. And they prefer to decide a policy then 'consult' key stakeholders.