Bringing electricity to rural India
Abstract: In today’s Development environment, characterised by a scarcity of resources for projects and interventions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) must fiercely compete for funds. This has led NGOs to adhere to the donor’s narrative, language and Neoliberal values – with storytelling assuming a prominent position – potentially creating stereotyping issues in their communication outputs – while also facing the contrasting forces of market, state and communities. This thesis focuses on the case-study of the Bijli project, an energy access initiative for rural villages in India, created by The Climate Group – an important actor in the field and the charity where the author of this thesis still works. After a quick analysis of how the energy issue has shaped development in India, this work uses the academic tools of Discourse Analysis and Representation to examine the issues of stereotypes and marginalisation in the video produced by The Climate Group at the end of the Bijli program. Then, the ‘lessons learned’ have been applied to the video script for a new, potential video for a similar project that The Climate Group is now developing. Finally, such empirical application has shown how the issues arisen in the analysis relate to the modern debate in the Communication for Development field and how these new partnerships both challenge and reinforce the existing power relationships in the current Neoliberal climate. A more participatory, inclusive model could help the Global North audience better understand the reality in which it wants to intervene, but at the same time state and market are two powerful, useful actors to bring a more equitable development.
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