🧩 Typical problem with communications in development cooperation:
👉 “For that kind of money, we could buy a camera. Why would we hire a cameraman?”

I heard that years ago when camera and postproduction equipment was still much more expensive than today. My boss had waved off my idea to produce a vox-pop video at an upcoming conference. I would be the editor but I needed a cameraman to help me do the shooting while I interviewed and the cutting at the location.

Obviously, the quotes were higher than what a middle-range camera would have cost us. I thought to myself: “Must I now explain to my supervisor that he is right but if we bought a camera we still would not get this job done?”

I was a bit despondent to start this argument but in the end I decided to make my point and we hired the freelancer.

DIY mentality

In development cooperation, there is often this idea that everything to do with communications can be done by the team even though it doesn’t have enough and adequate comms expertise on board.

Sure, anyone might be able to shoot a great video with his or her iPhone. Can maybe even edit it on the phone. Anyone can publish a website using Wix and Canva for design. All these tools are great and not expensive. But you still need to learn how to use them and you still need to put in the time to produce something. And you still need to have a strategic concept about what you are going to do in the first place.

In other words, your project needs to allocate time for the tasks to be done, not just only equipment and software. All these free or inexpensive tools have created the impression that communications outreach can be facilitated cheaply nowadays.

That’s true in theory — the reality looks different

The decreased prices for equipment and access to audiences have caused a lot more competition for attention. If you want to reach people, you need to put in a lot of work and use good equipment and expertise.

Have a closer look at the influencers everybody is talking about. They might have started out on their own, but most of them have quite a large team behind them. It only looks as if one person is operating on a shoestring budget. The opposite is the case.

If you want good communication outreach for your development project, you need to spend money and time on it. That hasn’t changed. Actually, it is much more complex than it used to be when you just produced a great video and it worked just like that.