The study investigated audience perception of the influence of African communication channel in dissemination of development messages to rural residents: a study of Ihiala community. Adopting a survey research design, a sample size of 399 derived from population of 188,060, a structured questionnaire used as instrument for data collection and simple percentage for data analysis, the finding of the study showed that rural dweller in Ihiala community make use of traditional media in the dissemination information to the audience. The study also showed that this channel of communication is effective in conveying information to the masses and as such are utilized in disseminating developmental information to the community dwellers. It is based on this, that the study recommended that traditional media should be adopted for conveying information to rural dweller in their local language and should be used for should be developed and viewed as adequate channel of communication by the government and all for passing basic information to rural dwellers.
The role of traditional media communication have been very significant in rural development since the turn of this century, and with the advent of new media, the forms and ways of communication have become more specialized. Every human society has developed its traditional modes and channels of communication which characterize its existence, organization and development. These communication modes and channels form the basis upon which the communities, especially the rural community, progress (Orewere,1991).Communication, that is, transmission of information from a point called origin or source to another called destination or receiver (audience), is the life wire of every society. No wonder people continue to marvel at the continued relevance of the African indigenous media; otherwise, known as African traditional folk media, in the contemporary world despite the manifestation of Marshall McLuhan’s theory of Global Village in the contemporary world.
To the rural people, the mass media proved only to be glamorous, impersonal and unbelievable in comparison with the familiar performance of traditional artist whom the villagers could see and hear and even touch emotionally. Obviously, the traditional media is the right choice of media to carry messages to the rural community for the purpose, and process of change and development (Stichele, 2000). It is also viewed that dialogue is the essence of any work in communication for development. As a matter of fact, traditional media have a remarkable impact on rural areas because of their acceptable idioms, functional significance and entertainment component. It can overcome language difficulty, speech, words and other barriers of communication like interest, understanding, interpretation, attitude and perception. Folk media are the most important vehicle of social change. It is used for educational purposes and as a tool to reform society. It helps to convey educational messages through entertainment, costume, music, dance etc.
1.1 Background of the study
The first significant recognition of the traditional media in the communication and development strategies of the developing countries came in the year 1972 when the international parenthood federation and UNESCO organized a series of meetings in London relating to integrated use of traditional folk media in family planning communication programmes. The interest generated by this meeting and the continued efforts to highlight the folk media as effective form of conveying developmental messages resulted in a number of seminars and workshops around the world (Mohanty & Parhi, 2011). UNESCO, (1999), also organized a seminar to provide a forum for the discussion and formulation of strategies for promoting and enhancing the development of traditional media in African countries. The importance of the seminar resided in the priority given by UNESCO, in its communication strategy and programmes in Africa, to encourage and support the development of folk media which helps to expand access to news and information and provide more opportunities for communities to express themselves.
Nigeria is characterized by a complex social system with different classes and ethnic groups with 80% of her population residing in the rural areas; hence, the need for sustainable rural development (Akpoveta, 2006). Traditional community communication in Nigeria has a unique network which may not be easily understood. It is difficult to understand this network through externally imposed philosophies and concepts. To appreciate this network, one has to live in the village, observe, study and understand it. This communication network can be effectively used for rural development (Orewere, 1991). The reason for the popularity and effectiveness of this mode of communication for development-oriented messages is that it is transactional and highly participatory, allowing participants to work with new information through a familiar and comfortable format (Ansu-Kyeremeh, 1998).
1.2 Statement Of Research Problem
In Nigeria and indeed other third world countries, greater percentage of the people still live in rural areas. It is perhaps for this reason that it is now being advocated that in such countries, particular attention must be paid to the rural areas in any development strategy if there is to be any noticeable general national development. Traditional folk media which should provide an effective tool for dealing with development problems in rural areas has not been properly articulated in the mainstream development process. Hence attempts at communicating modern scientific and technological information to the rural people on rural development often result in the failure of such projects.
Rural development is a broad term and certain aspects like health, education, employment generation, infrastructure, environment protection, sanitation, energy conservation and entertainment can be the determinants of rural development. Judging from the failure of many rural development efforts to produce the desired effects, it is clear that there are defects in the communication processes embodied in those efforts especially when modern media, instead of traditional folk media is introduced into the rural development process. The characteristics of the sources, messages, channels, recipients and feedback involved in the process of communicating with rural communities need to be examined to see how they can be made more appropriate. A careful examination of rural areas will show that rural people are exposed to quite a lot of information, but the problem, however, is whether the information reaching them is reliable and organized in such a way as to achieve defined objectives.
It is against this back drop that this study sort to examine audience perception of the influence of African communication channel
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to ascertain audience perception of the influence of African communication channel. Specific purposes are
- To ascertain the role of African communication Channel in rural development of Ihiala community.
- To find out the types of traditional communication channels available for rural development message in Ihiala community.
- To know to what extent African communication channels are
- To discover how messages are packaged and presented for effective message dissemination performance.
- To ascertain the reasons for the use of African communication channel for disseminating development messages in rural areas.
- Research Questions
In order to effectively carryout this study, the following questions were posed to guide the study as follows.
- What is the role of African communication channel in rural development in Ihiala community?
- What are types of traditional communication channel available for rural development message in Ihiala communities?
- what is the extent of the effectiveness of communication channels?
- How messages packaged and presented for effective message dissemination performance?
- What is the reasons for the use of such African communication channel for disseminating development messages in rural areas.
- Significance of the Study
The study is of benefit to the rural dwellers in Ihiala communities, the government and to follower researcher. For the rural dwellers, the study will preserve the originality of each folk media form for rural dwellers; it will generate a number of guiding for the rural dweller in seeing the various reasons of preserving this traditional form of message dissemination in Ihiala. In the case of the government, it provide guiding principles development agencies on how to use traditional folk media for motivational purpose and for promoting rural development programmes. Development planners will begin to appreciate the use of folk media as a mode of communication to explain development programme. Follower researchers benefits from the findings of the as study as it tend to serve as a source of information and reference material for further study.
- Scope of the Study
The scope of the study covers audience perception of the influence of African communication channels. In respect to geographical area covered by the study, Ihiala community in Anambra state was used.
- Limitation of the Study
The study is only limitation rural dwellers in Ihiala community of Anambra state. The study was also limited to adults from the age of 18years and above.
1.8 Definition Term
For the purpose of clarity in terms used, the following terms used in the study are clearly defined as used in the study.
Rural: A less developed area of a state or communities.
Dwellers: Resident in a rural setting
Development: The process of establishing new social amenities in communities.
Dissemination: The spreading of information to the masses.
Folk: Traditional settings or a traditional way of life of people in a community
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