Reaching out to academia is important because academia contributes to the development of human resource needed by organizations to implement C4D.
In my context Universities do not even have a C4D module in their degree programme. Be that may every year Universities channel out Journalists/ Public Relations/Marketing graduates who then get C4D jobs in either UN or international NGOs etc.. .These graduates will be lacking theoretical knowledge on application of C4D strategies. As such there is a gap that exists between the academia and field.
Because of the skills gap, the tendency then for many communications people when they join organisations is to focus on communication for Influencing donors and international decision-making bodies through communication and visibility activities such as events, media relations, press release, factsheets, billboards and posters etc… The challenge is that in most cases the targeted beneficiaries end up with knowledge about the existence of a certain project /programme in their area, but this does not translate to change in practices.
Well-trained human resource is key to making a case for C4D budget lines at proposal development, and this will help to upscale c4d in the field. They can contextualize issues and help answer questions such as “what can the beneficiary do with what they have physically, financially, academically and socially at their disposal". Thus it is in the best interest of C4D advocates to bridge the gap between field and academia. Interactions with academia can take many forms including C4D training modules development, Conferences, research partnerships or mentorships just to mention a few.
Independent C4D Consultant