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Communication strategies in the age of decentralisation and privatisation of rural services: lessons from two African experiences

Research report

Research report

This paper describes the challenges of decentralisation and privatisation of rural services from the perspective of
communication strategy development. The wave of decentralisation and privatisation in rural services worldwide creates challenges for rural communities, service providers and local governments. Local organisations – both in government and civil society – are confronted with rules and procedures that are unprecedented. The new roles require significant changes in attitudes, skills, and especially a new level of accountability. While communication strategies are only a part of the transformation, they are strategic tools that merit attention. This is an account of two cases where the authors have been involved in developing communication strategies aimed specifically at helping stakeholders make this transition. The first is the case of the Communication and Information Strategy for the National Agricultural Advisory Services Programme (NAADS) of Uganda. The second is the formulation of a plan to communicate the National Water Policy (NWP) and Rural Water Transition Plan in Mozambique. The paper concludes with some design principles for other strategies and with a review of the importance of communication research and planning.

Ricardo Ramírez and Wendy Quarry