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"Action for Social Change: Balances and Tensions in Organizing NGO-Driven Communication for Development"
What practices constitute the work of NGO professionals enacting Communication for Development (ComDev) strategies, and what are the limits and potentials of organizing ComDev within an in international organizational setup? This paper presents the design and emerging findings from a recently concluded ethnographic fieldwork conducted over a five-year period within a network of NGO offices in Denmark as well as in six East African countries. Grounded in empirical research, with as particular focus on Malawi as well as Rwanda and Uganda, this paper analyses how frontline and administrative NGO professionals play their part in developing key Communication for Development (ComDev) elements of the joint NGO program, including on-ground activities such as Community Dialogue Sessions and the formation of community associations, as well as mediated communication such as community radio and a soap opera on national television. The impetus of the empirical analysis lies in discussing the role of ComDev in the ongoing negotiation and production of the ASC program strategy and content – on how key concepts translate between policy, strategy, administration, and implementation practices – with a perspective, finally, to what degree of control, if any, the program users (or so-called beneficiaries) might have over the process.