Communication, specically one that is participatory, isessential in all acets o development work. Participatorycommunication can be dened as a balanced, two-way inormation sharing wherein inormation can fowhorizontally, vertically, and iteratively. The use o varioustypes o communication media enables stakeholders(i.e., government, the private sector, and civil society)to participate in the development process, and hence,allows them to infuence or contribute to the design,implementation, and monitoring o a development activity.Notwithstanding the level o participation, communicationcan contribute to increasing awareness, ostering behavioralchanges, acilitating mobilization, and establishingpartnerships in pursuit o common goals. However, the lack o it can also break down negotiations, limit alternativesto addressing problems, constrain benet distribution o development interventions, lead to marginalization o stakeholders and, ultimately, restrict the attainment o desired outcomes. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has recognizedthe important role o communication in acilitatingdevelopment work through its emphasis on participation.ADB’s rst guidelines on participation listed communicationtools as a rst mechanism or acilitating participation.Subsequently, ADB continued to ormalize the importanceo communication in its 2005 Public CommunicationsPolicy. Later in 2006, ADB’s guidance on participationdeepened the connection between communicationsand participation. For example, the 2006 guide suggestsdeveloping a communication plan with governments inprojects likely to generate a high level o public interest.ADB now denes participation in a ramework that includes(i) inormation generation and sharing, (ii) consultation,(iii) collaboration, and (iv) partnership. Depending on theextent o participation, these approaches are integrated intovarious processes during project design, implementation,monitoring, and evaluation, covering a continuum o participatory relationships between various stakeholders.
How does communication contribute to or hinderthe attainment of the desired level of participation towardrealizing project and program outcomes?
This synthesisprovides key lessons on the importance o communication inacilitating development work, as refected in the applications
Improving Project Success throughEfective Communication and Participation
o participatory approaches in project preparation, design,implementation, monitoring, and evaluation in ADB operations.Lessons were drawn rom evaluation studies and completionreports o several ADB-fnanced projects and programs.
Highlights of Lessons
Information generation and sharing is an essentialcomponent of participation.
It is dened as a processwherein inormation is generated by ADB and other projectproponents and shared with stakeholders. Inormationcan also be independently generated by stakeholders andshared with project proponents, or jointly produced by both.Various types o communication channels and media (e.g.,meetings and radio broadcasting) have proved to be eectivein enhancing, acilitating, and promoting participationthrough inormation generation and sharing. For example,communicating new approaches to improve agriculturalproductivity through public awareness campaigns can
acilitate, generate, and galvanize stakeholders’ support.Lessons rom Sri Lanka’s experience in the implementation o an agriculture project have shown that public understandingo project rationale, objectives, and
expected outcomescan acilitate the introduction and acceptance o newinterventions. For example, agricultural extension activitiescomprising awareness and promotional programs, trainings,and workshops, among other initiatives, have contributed to
A D B P h o t oL i b r a r y
Consultation (and other orms o participation) is a process through whichstakeholders infuence and share control over development initiatives, and thedecisions and resources that aect them. Shown above is an inormal consultationamong Bangladeshi women on ADB’s Health and Family Planning Services Project.