Influence Of Opinion Leaders In The Development

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Chapter One

1.1 Background of the study
In the post-second World War years, development co-operation was based on transfer of technologies to developing countries. According to the model of social labour division in western cultures, technical knowledge transferred by extension services and utilized by farms (Roth, 2001). The introduction of western technology to non-western farmers was intended to increase production capacity and improve the market position of agriculture.

According to Israel and Wilson (2006), developing an understanding of extension sources and channels used by clients to obtain information is a pre-requisite for efficient educational programming because messages that go unheard or unseen cannot lead to change.
Though early extension effort based on direct communication with clients, changes in society and technology have resulted in programmes using diverse array of communication channels to reach clients, both directly and through surrogates.

Many clients, especially other people continue to rely on more traditional channels for agricultural information while using newer technologies as a complement (Howell and Hebron, 2004, Vergot et al, 2005, Boz and Ozca, 2010).
In a very concise way, development communication is application of the process. In other words, development communication is the use of the principle and practice to exchange ideas in order to fulfill development objectives. It calls for a point where we should stop thinking for the people in a patron –client form but should start thinking with them to meet

with their needs and wants to succeed (Nwosu, 1990). Development communication as a concept dates to the 1950s.

However, the attempt did not stop there; several research efforts have been put in place in order to authenticate the application of the concept of development communication. It is, therefore, considered a wise option in the pursuit of national development, as against the centralized media system where only the interests of the urban minority are taken care of (Okenwa, 1997).

In this dispensation, opinion leadership as it concerns the rural setting in the realization of the concept of development communication become not only important, but also very necessary. This is because, the rural dwellers thrive in an environment of interpersonal form of communication, opinion leaders assume priority and importance. In this respect, village and community opinion leaders serve as the linkage between their people and those that package development communication information and messages.

Communication in this regards, includes those situation in which a source transmits a message to a receiver with conscious intent to affect the latter’s behaviour. It is a vital part of personal life and also important in different fields such as business, education, agriculture, rural development and other situations where people encounter each other. Unlike message sending, communication requires response of others. There must be sharing of meaning for effective communication to take place (Baron, 2002).

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