Regenerating Freirean Literacy: An Exploration of the Use of Reflect Circles in NGO‐Driven Communication for Development

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This paper explores an NGO’s use of circle work (Reflect Circles in particular) in rural Malawi to create participatory media content, and discusses the enabling and constraining aspects of using Reflect to sustain and legitimize wider processes of public sphere formation.
Over a 5‐year period, from 2010 to 2015, the author has conducted a multi‐sited ethnographic study of a development program called Action for Social Change (ASC). ASC is driven by a network of NGOs in Denmark and several East African countries, all members of the international Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA).
ADRA places Reflect Circles as a pivotal element within the ASC strategy. Reflect is a participatory form of development practice that invites community members to identify, discuss and prioritize issues that affect them, and seek feasible ways to address and solve them. Reflect promotes a distinct view of ‘literacy’ understood not only as the ability to read, write and do mathematics, but also in the Freirian sense as a prerequisite for ‘conscientization’ or becoming critically aware of one’s own situation.
In Malawi, furthermore, local community journalists use Reflect to source stories. The journalists work closely with community facilitators contracted by ADRA, who in turn take responsibility for broadcasting the stories on wider media platforms, including debate and edutainment programs on national radio and television, all produced at ADRA Malawi’s headquarters.
Based on qualitative analysis of interviews and video‐recorded Reflect Circles, and with a focus on the concrete practices enacted by participants and facilitators alike, this paper explores how ASC unfolds in actual practice. In relation to the strategic goal of strengthening participatory and democratic communication, the paper then raises critical questions concerning how Reflect Circles enable specific utterances and discourses, as well as to what degree, if any, the participants are in control of the mediation process
Publikationsdato21 jan. 2016
StatusUdgivet - 21 jan. 2016
BegivenhedFuture Perspectives in International Communications and Development: Where do we go from here? - Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, London, Storbritannien
Varighed: 20 jan. 201621 jan. 2016 (Link til konference)


KonferenceFuture Perspectives in International Communications and Development
LokationOliver Thompson Lecture Theatre

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