Communication for Development and Social Change Through Creativity
As we celebrate the 80th year of the successful Marshall plan, it is unfortunate that practitioners and scholars have struggled, since: to achieve the same level of success in development and social change efforts. This indicates a need to seriously assess the field and even introduce new and unique approaches to boost the efficacy of such efforts. But there is a general neglect of creativity in the field of communication for development and social change. Creativity is a powerful force with tremendous potential to enhance efficacy of development and social change efforts. A gardening analogy is apt to elaborate on the value and role of creativity in communication for development and social change. Imagine you have a piece of fertile soil where you are trying to grow a garden. You have good seeds, you sow them at the right depth, you water them, and you ensure that they receive appropriate balance between shade and sunlight. Despite everything, only half the seeds germinate leaving the idea of a flourishing garden biting the dust. This is the state of communication for development and social change. However, the one thing missing here was tilling. Tilling allows movement (upward and downward) and breathing, enabling and empowering a seed to transform into an independent plant. The element of tilling in gardening is what creativity is to communication for development and social change. Before the initiation of communication for development effort, planners and executioners should ensure the tilling of the soil, which translates to increasing creativity index of the target community or individuals because a creative individual or a creative community is relatively more open to the existence and acceptance of alternate or new ideas and behaviors. Creativity can substantially aid development and social change efforts because of its organic fit with the values of dialogue, participation, empowerment, social justice, and equality.
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