Effective Communication in Sustainable Development

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The importance of effective communication in sustainable development is underrated. As guest blogger Daodu Segun Bankole points out, it can make or break a community project.

As an active member of my community, I have learnt firsthand that for community mobilisation and development to take place, community leaders must learn the art of effective communication. More often than not, good causes are abandoned, community development projects fail and leadership suffers due to a wide communication gap between the initiators of community projects and the implementation systems.

But community leaders who have mastered the art of effective communication and community mobilisation have proven to be better project managers than their counterparts.

A community leader is expected to master the two approaches to effective communication: ability to communicate effectively with people with similar role and people beyond his territory. A community leader should be able to conceptualise, simplify and communicate his or her vision to the team and stakeholders for acceptance and support.

In Africa, the level of economic growth and infrastructural development is slow. Ultimately, this is not due to a lack of manpower or technical know-how to design and drive economic policies that can deliver the highest impacts on the living conditions of the citizens. Rather, it is due to a lack of continuity in more people-friendly programmes.

It would be erroneous to limit the art of communication to speaking and writing skills. Whether you are a leader in a family, group or community, consistency and honesty of purpose speak volumes.

In most cases, someone who is vying for a position of leadership in a community will tailor his or her manifestos to address the peculiar needs of such community. However, upon assumption of office, leaders often make U-turns from electoral promises to serve other interests.

In most cases, this breach of trust breeds disunity and suspicion between the leader and the followers, and in such circumstances, effective communication will not be possible.

The ability to galvanise resources and people for a commitment towards a cause or project is boosted by a leader’s potential to align solutions to societal challenges with the admissible level of understanding and perception of relevance of such effort. Speaking the language of community project beneficiaries will not only create a sense of belonging but increase the chances that such projects are sustainable. It will also give the assurance that future problems could be mitigated by beneficiaries who not only have a deep understanding of the terrain but are also well equipped to face the challenges.

Submitted by Daodu Segun Bankole, a Communications Consultant with the Development, Empowerment and Leadership Network. Segun is also a Public Relation Officer with LAUTECH Teaching Hospital in Nigeria.

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