The Consortium was created for a simple reason: business as usual among communicators working in development is no longer good enough.
Worldwide people of all backgrounds have grasped the importance of hearing their own stories in their own voices - and making their own decisions about what affects their lives. They are bolstered by rapidly changing communication technology that has helped bring about wider acceptance of many-to-many communication. Challenged by widespread globalization of information sources, deregulation and privatization of media outlets, marginalized communities worldwide ask:
"when will we be able to control, own and manage the communication processes and tools critical to our community's social development?"
Even when excluded people have access to the technology and channels to make their stories heard, the primacy of their stories, debates and decisions - told in "the first voice" can still be minimized by the more powerful voices of traditional communication gatekeepers.
We've formed the Consortium so that individuals, institutions, academics and donors can, together, forge strategies that give greater power to those first-voices. United in the belief that communication processes - not just technology or scientific advances - are essential to development of traditionally marginalized communities, the Consortium advocates for community-based problem solving sparked by public and private dialogue that leads to collective action. This is followed by strategy design, implementation, community monitoring and assessment based on collective input from the affected people.
Our beliefs have coalesced both from experience and from intense consultations with organizations and experts throughout Africa, Asia and Latin American, as well as in the North. Such consultations have led to a growing realization that not only is the potential of communication for improving people's living standards greater than ever before, the strategies, methodologies and models of communication interventions as they are traditionally applied need to change radically to adapt to increasingly complex communication and social environments. The strategies and concepts which underpin communication for social change practice stem not only from a concern for economic and social justice, but also from serious analysis of what works and does not work in improving peoples lives in a twenty-first century context.