Crucial factors in the implementation of participatory development communication in development projects in Papua New Guinea

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Hermann, Birgit
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Master of International Communication
Unitec Institute of Technology
Beamer, Linda
Papoutsaki, Evangelia
Masters Dissertation
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
participatory development communication
ethnographic studies
development projects
Papua New Guinea
Hermann, B. (2007). Crucial factors in the implementation of participatory development communication in development projects in Papua New Guinea. Unpublished thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Master of International Communication, Unitec New Zealand, New Zealand.
This ethnographic study examines the key factors in the implementation of participatory development communication (PDC), an under-researched field, in four development projects of an international development organisation in Papua New Guinea. Divergent opinions exist about which type of communication is effective for sustainable development. Papua New Guinea faces serious developmental issues, and development projects have been initiated by several international development organisations. The ethnographic study comprises three data collection methods: participant observation, interviews, and documents. The researcher observed the communication processes of four development projects in Papua New Guinea during May and June 2007. Twenty-four staff members and beneficiaries are informants for the research. Documents of the organisation are used for triangulation. The findings disclose that only one of the four projects integrates PDC to the extent of involving the beneficiaries in the design of the project. In the other three projects, the beneficiaries participate only in the implementation of the activities—a kind of participatory diffusion. Ten highly interrelated factors around three themes influence the implementation process in the specific Papua New Guinean context. The critical themes for an environment supportive of PDC are (a) that staff have positive attitudes and behaviours toward implementing PDC, (b) that the perceived needs of the beneficiaries are met, and (c) that a level of trust between the development organisation and the beneficiaries is established. In this study, additionally the specific organisational culture, the communication context between the organisation and the beneficiaries, and the time-restricted, donor-driven project design hinder the implementation of an ideal PDC approach.
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