A fundamental of communication

Communication is something so simple and so difficult that we can never put it in simple words. It is the process by which information is transmitted between individuals and or organizations so that an understanding response results.

A fundamental of communication

Shafqat (Aziz) Mallick

Communication Specialist, Climate Change and Gender Justice Campaigner & Trainer

Tons of written (Reports, manuals, booklets IEC materials) are produced by several national & international organizations almost every month here in Pakistan. Such materials are translated in Urdu and sometime, in other local languages for broader outreach by providing necessary information/ knowledge to diverse stakeholders in easy to understand manner.

As part of ongoing research, reading most of these materials recently has been disappointing on many accounts. It’s also been startling revelation of professional negligence, incompetence and poor practices while handling this crucial task and hence, it results as:

  • A total lack of understanding of the idea highlighted/elaborated in original text
  • Wrong and often funny choice of words for specific terminologies used by international development communities
  • A complete lack of comprehension of global to local cultural context
  • Non-communicative, unimpressive and bumpy composition of sentences making the translation ineffective, meaningless and uninteresting to readers.

What makes it more absurd is that even posters displayed at the offices of various developmental agencies and their local partners are reflective of the same endless saga of bad translations.

Logical frameworks (Log frame) are religiously designed and executed while implementing most of the projects in development sector I ever observed. However, what about outcome, impact, actual outreach and of course, the desired policy actions and behavioral change that was intended?

In terms of outreach, many of us are now aware of the sorry state of aware that it simply means educating those that are already educated. Duplication of efforts is just a routine and widely accepted matter as it saves you from engaging new people. You are just afraid of challengers so better go with tested ‘old friends’ to create some photo opportunities. Blockers and potential allies are avoided for limited engaging skills.

The multi-stakeholder’s engagement including cultivating favorable voices in media and among parliamentarians also reflects a ‘defeated mindset’. You remain secretive and hideous unnecessarily and hence create unwarranted hostilities about your (Noble) work. 

What you need is a communication strategy based on actual needs of lobbying and influencing. A cut & paste formula do not see a rational contextualization and localization would be a disaster.