“Communication needs to be explicitly built into development plans and social change projects. …The emphasis now is on the process of communication and on the significance of this process at the local [rural] level.” (Servaes and Malikhao, 2016)
Grassroots grow strong in healthy social soil.
Focus: The enabling conditions study focuses on understanding relational communication patterns in this rural area and how healthy relational communication patterns are connected to creating enabling conditions for change.
Why it matters. Focus on and care for relational communication health helps reduce fear, uncertainty, and isolation while nurturing a sense of well-being and safety. In these enabling conditions, trust can grow and create space to imagine what’s possible. In a rural world that often disempowers and dehumanizes, relational communication care empowers marginalized people to feel fully human.
Relational communication, for this study, extends beyond primary family, friends, and partners. Many in rural areas are without those social safety net relationships; they are often isolated and without communication technology. Interactions with people embedded in systems–who work at the health clinic, the grocery store, post office, hardware store, at the coffee shop, etc.–often functionally stand in for primary relationships.