A group of students in India’s only Catholic university recently initiated a programme to help village communities connect with one another using communications as a tool for social development. The Department of Mass Communication of Don Bosco University in north-east Assam state, organized the community connect program as a Communication for Development (C4D) project at Amguri village in Sonapur outside state capital Dispur. As an introduction to C4D tools, the department conducted a participatory photography workshop for a combination of village elders and youth which included both men and women.
Department head Dr Machun Kamei says, “The community connect has been designed with an intention to develop a road map for communication approaches concerning the factors hindering the development of the local communities within the Sonapur area where the university is located and to encourage entrepreneurial ventures using communication as a tool for social development.” Some 40 neighbourhood villages have been ear marked for social intervention by students of various departments such as Social Work, Education, Psychological Counselling, Human Rights and Mass Communication.
“The idea was to help villagers focus on problems they face and highlight them in the photographs they take as part of their hands-on practical exercise,”said mentor and Assistant Professor Kaushik Bhuyan. “It was amazing to see, the villagers successfully highlighted and portrayed through their photographs the problems of unemployment, improper road conditions, lack of skill based and entrepreneurial training and irregular connectivity to electricity,”says final year Mass Communication student and inter university winner of photography Amar Laishram Swital.
Event Coordinator Assistant Prof Rose Mary Ishorari noted, “These photographs will be showcased in appropriate platforms to enable stakeholders concerned and the community themselves to take relevant corrective measures and initiate means to help developing their own communities.” Ishorari assures, “While the concerned project will be taken up in phases to achieve the said objective, this was just the beginning.” The event was part of “Imageind 2017-The Sonapur Edition” sponsored by Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR-NERC) which included a roundtable conference on “communication for development: critical approaches”with academicians and practitioners from the field, a photography workshop for students and faculty from institutes around Sonapur and Guwahati in association with Canon India. (Source: Mattersindia)