Dialogue for Engagement and Behaviour Change

Mansingh, Indira | March 6, 2018 | Leave a Comment

Images courtesy of Development Alternatives

This article was originally published by Alternative Perspectives. The original article can be found here.

When India pledged its commitment to reducing its GHG [green house gas] emissions in the Paris Agreement, it was apparent that the focus would be on clean energy expansion in the country. With the cost of renewable energy at an all-time low, clean energy security is now the political and foreign trade focus in India.

Solar, wind, clean coal, nuclear and hydropower policies will contribute to reducing emissions and may help achieve the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, as may green transport, waste to wealth and solid waste management systems. However, mitigation strategies will not entirely answer India’s ambition for climate justice within the country, without the critical application of adaptation initiatives.

Climate change is a ‘threat multiplier’, intensifying pressures on the livelihoods of 700 million people in rural India that depend on climate-sensitive sectors. They need options and techniques linking climate science with local conditions to adapt in crucial sectors, such as sustainable use of land and water resources, forestry and biodiversity. Thus, the focus of seven of the 12 Climate Change Missions on Adaptation and a National Adaptation Fund of 55.6 million USD becomes significant.

The rural community is alert to the disruption climate change brings to their crops, water resources and eco systems. However, they need capacities to develop consultative adaptive options; and to advance adaptation strategies and techniques as lifelines, there is a need for innovative communication approaches.

Access to modern communication modes is limited in rural areas, and there is no universal methodology for climate change communication, which can lead to behaviour change.  This is why verbal communication and engagement remain the most powerful means for participatory communication.

One such communication innovation has been the coming together of communities, scientists and policy makers, at the district level, for the co-production of content through a process of dialogue for engagement. It is inspiring to imagine the power of science blended with local experience to create contextualised content for local adaptation solutions.

Shubh Kal (for a better future) campaign on climate risks and adaptation solutions broadcast by role models on community radios in Bundelkhand is one such initiative. Its approach is not to use fear, but the nurturing of engagement with methods and tools that are gender-sensitive, participatory and simple. Community interactivity and participatory dialogue, street theatre and puppet shows, competitions, IEC material and training are used as engagement tools. The result is a number of women, youth and farmers in over 200 villages getting enabled to catalyse climate change awareness and understanding. This Shubh Kal campaign has expanded in over 800 villages. The aim is to strengthen livelihoods of rural communities in this climate vulnerable region.

The accessibility, flexibility and potential for inter-cultural communication have made the Shubh Kal campaign a model to emulate. Maybe it is just a process, but it is a process for change.  With a communication approach that uses dialogue for engaging rural communities, there is every probability that there will be behaviour change. Therein, lies the path for ‘dialogue to engagement’.

This article was originally published by Alternative Perspectives. The original article can be found here.

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Indira Mansingh is the Chief Advisor for Development Alternatives. Indira can be reached at imansingh@devalt.org

The MAHB Blog is a venture of the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere. Questions should be directed to joan@mahbonline.org

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  • stevenearlsalmony

    The leading self-righteous elders in the world on our watch are charting a course to the future that will wreak havoc on what is surely sacred and normalize what is plainly profane…..come what may. Those few with power like the status quo; whereas, the many too many without power want necessary change and a “course correction” while a ‘window of opportunity’ remains open. Note to self: the window is closing steadily in our time. When unbridled human overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities are running rampant and effectively overspreading earth, perhaps this moment in space-time is an occasion to do something that is different and somehow right, for a change.

  • stevenearlsalmony

    No one knows what is possible once we begin somehow to do things differently from the way we are doing things at this moment. Now we know that silence has overcome science; that greed has vanquished fairness and equity; that ignorance and stupidity have almost obliterated common sense and reason; that hubris has virtually annihilated humanness. Like it or not, ready or not, we are presented with enormous challenges. At the moment the leading elders in my not-so-great generation are failing children everywhere. We elders have gained reputations for being money-grubbing greed mongers and morally bankrupt competitors in zero-sum corporate games. We are failing to respond ably to ecological global threats, ones visible on the horizon, that are due to our short-sightedness, intellectual dishonesty and profligate habits which lead to the extirpation of global biodiversity, the dissipation of natural resources and the degradation of the environment. Let us hope that our most able responses, starting now here, to the human-induced and -driven existential challenges looming ominously before humanity do not come too late to make a difference that makes a difference. There is much to do. Human limits, earth’s limitations and time constraints are the factors prompting this call to action.



    Thank you to All,

    Steve Salmony
    The AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population
    established 2001
    Chapel Hill, NC

  • Max Kummerow

    I agree that including population–or rather fertility norms, the idea of using modern family planning methods (contraceptives, abortion, sterilization) to stop population growth, must be one of the agenda items for any successful changes. And family planning should be explicitly talked about and promoted. Top down coercive approaches may eventually be adopted, but unless there is broad support for family planning I doubt they will be. Low fertility countries are prospering, high fertility countries are disintegrating into violence.

  • Making SURE THAT EVERY SINGLE INDIVIDUAL AND FAMILY in the entire world has access to education and health including choices about the number of children they want and can support would go FAR in alleviating every single environmental and human problem in the world today. Take a stand at http://www.34millionfriends.org of the UN Population Fund going since 2002!

    • Jason G. Brent

      You have very good intentions. The only action that will save humanity from extinction is coercive population control. Voluntary population control, including education, raising the position of women and all the standard BS that is included in voluntary control, will not prevent the collapse of civilization, the deaths of billions and even the extinction of the human species. jbrent6179@aol.com