Reaching the grassroots: publishing methodologies for development organizations.


There are 3 major distinctions between the traditional form of academic publishing and publishing for the grassroots as a development-organization activity, particularly in developing countries. Whereas academic publishing seeks to cover the target audience in its entirety, grassroots publishing can only cover a sampling. Academic publishing fulfills a need, while grassroots publishing demonstrates a need and a way to fulfill it. Finally, whereas academic publishing is largely a support activity aimed at facilitating the dissemination of information as a relatively minor part of a technical program, grassroots publishing is a more substantive activity aimed at producing a catalytic effect. Publication for the grassroots further calls for a different methodological approach. Given the constraint of numbers, publications aimed at the grassroots can only be examples or prototypes. The function of a prototype is to serve both as a basis for translation, adaptation, and replication and as a model end result. The approach to the use and promotion of prototypes differs according to the specific country situation. In countries with a heterogenous culture or several different languages, 2 items should be produced: a prototype of the complete text, which should be pretested and evaluated, and a prototype adaptation kit stripped of cultural and social biases. Promotion of the translation and replication of a publication can be achieved by involving officials at the various levels of government, interesting international and voluntary funding agencies, and stimulating indigenous printing capacities at the community level. The most important factors are the appropriateness of the publication in solving specific priority problems and the interest and involvement of national and state authorities at all stages of the project.

Cite this paper

@article{Zielinski1987ReachingTG, title={Reaching the grassroots: publishing methodologies for development organizations.}, author={Chris Zielinski}, journal={Development dialogue}, year={1987}, volume={1}, pages={196-206} }