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Alumni Reception and Livingston Lecture

2015 AHSS Alumni Reception and Livingston Lecture

One Size Doesn't Fit All: The Importance of Participatory Communication for International Health Development
Presented by Renée Botta, associate professor of media, film and journalism studies


Monday, May 11, 2015
Reception 5:30 p.m. • Lecture 7 p.m.

University of Denver
Davis Auditorium
Sturm Hall, Room 248
2000 E. Asbury Avenue
Denver, CO 80208


Playground equipment that disappears overnight. A new public toilet that no one uses. A vandalized water tank. What do these things have in common?

They are examples of well-meaning projects in the developing world that failed because project leaders from developed nations didn't include local knowledge, ideas and innovations in the planning and decision-making process. At this lecture, learn how participatory communication necessitates local involvement in identifying problems, brainstorming ideas, choosing solutions and implementing health programs.

bottaBotta emphasizes that aid groups must also recognize the cultural lenses they bring to project development and how Western ways of interpreting the world may create biases toward less locally relevant solutions. Given that everyone wants more sustainable programs, Botta will make the case for a broader use of the process by providing real world examples for how participatory communication has worked. Building solutions from the ground up rather than showing up with a solution in hand produces – and sustains – outcomes. After all, a toilet no one uses really is worse than no toilet at all.

Botta teaches international health communication, international and intercultural campaigns, strategic messaging and research methods. She has spent more than a decade working in Eastern and Sub Saharan Africa to improve health outcomes through participatory communication. Her particular areas of research are health communication and prevention campaigns, as well as adolescent formation and responses to media messages. Botta teaches a service learning course focused on participatory communication in Kibera, Kenya, and she was a Fulbright Scholar in Zambia in 2003. She was also a judge for the Olympic International Media Awards in 1999. She received her PhD, MS and BS from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Reserve your seat here, or call 303-871-2425