What is Communication for Development (C4D)?

Communication is integral for the development of people and their societies. 'Communication for development' (C4D) is based on participatory models that recognise local knowledge and local people as the key actors to facilitate their own change. It highlights the understanding of communication as giving a voice, facilitating participation, and fostering social change and transformation.

Communication for Development initiatives have helped to place C4D high on the development agenda, recognised by the United Nations and others as playing an integral role in furthering the Millennium Development Goals.

What does HCR mean by community-centred?

HCR has coined the term "Community-centred" to apply to media that is relevant to the community's context and enables participatory engagement as a community develops communicational messages for locally identified needs. The participatory and empowering approach is paramount for the recovery of a community's identity, development and fullness of life.

What is community-centred media?

Community-centred media is one outworking of communication for development. It includes all kinds of media, cell phones, radio, internet, sms, print etc.

Community-centred radio

We use the term community-centred radio (CCR) to embrace the specific and specialist application of radio programming to any objective that brings about positive community development and change. It supports social development and redefinition of issues in terms of health promotion goals through the radio tasks of informing and educating, advocacy, social learning and dialogue, and entertainment. Our definition also embraces the diversity of situations where the community genuinely participates in programming, despite the status of the radio station’s ownership, management and governance such as community members (or a community-based organisation) or a commercial radio station or a station owned by an organisation that has philanthropic or charitable purposes.

What CCR is NOT

  • One group told us they were "community radio" because they educated the community on health, legal issues and agriculture. Their program consisted of one or two people talking to listeners for the entire two-hour program. That's not CCR
  • Radio stations broadcast programs that feature or include audience input: greetings, requests, comment and opinion, response to competitions. Listeners provide the content via telephone, SMS, internet, snail-mail. That's not CCR
  • Radio stations claim they "involve the audience" or have "audience participation" because they gather interviews / VOXPOP from "real people" where they live and work. That's not CCR
  • It is not involving the audience through interviews or giving them opportunities to express their opinion through phone-in programs


  • The CCR station morphs into a structure that promotes a communication partnership between community, service providers and radio station
  • The radio station trains service providers and the community to design, produce and present programming content
  • Listeners become programming contributors, participating in their own right as radio station partners
  • The community itself contributes programming that helps the community to learn from the programs they produce to inform their community decision-making and consensus-building processes

We see these principles bringing about social change and making a difference in people's lives in community-centred media projects that we have been involved with in India, Nepal, Philippines, Australia, Mongolia and elsewhere.

Visit our projects page for examples of community-centred media in various forms.

Want more information?

Feel free to contact us