Writing for the Development Sector

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Programme Date: 23 – 24 June, 2016 | IIHS Bangalore City Campus

Course Description

The Problem
Writing in the development sector often lacks imagination, consistency and clarity. Too often the focus is on writing a report to meet a deadline rather than writing it well. Technical terms, convoluted sentences, plurality of voices and a lack of context make the content inaccessible to a larger audience.

The Factors

  • Often, the written work is prepared by a group. Different people write sections based on their area of specialisation. This leads to a lack of coherence and cohesion in the final document.
  • Style manuals do not exist.
  • Content from existing publications is used without relevance.
  • Lack of clarity about the target audience.
  • Is the material being written for donors, partners, general public, or government departments? Sector experts find it difficult to write across registers, which limits their being able to make a point to a larger community.

Even though the focus of the development sector is largely on local communities, the human angle is absent from most of development writing, or thrown together in a slap-dash manner as case studies.

The Solution

  • Identifying the audience.
  • Identifying the right author who will hold the piece together and lend it a consistency of voice.
  • Developing a style manual and adhering to it.
  • Working through a flowchart of processes systematically starting from research, material-gathering and note-taking, and moving on to writing and review for narrative flow and consistency.
  • Editing all written work professionally.
  • Formatting the end product well with some thought as to what can supplement the document effectively.
  • Honing skills to write across registers—mainstream reportage and comment, opinion pieces, social media etc.
  • Focusing on the human angle to make the writing engaging and effective.
Key Takeaways
  • More efficient and impactful writing of Reports and Policy briefs.
  • Effective translation of reports and policy briefs to more mainstream genres like Op-eds, Blog posts, newspaper/magazine articles.
  • Communicating findings of reports and projects effectively via social media and media campaigns.

In all development writing, foregrounding the human element to make it more engaging.

Learner Profile

Development professionals, NGO employees, freelance writers and editors who work with NGOs.

Course Schedule
Time Day 1 Day 2

09:30 – 10:30 Introduction | Course Expectations

Warm up exercises on better writing

Warm-up exercises
10:30 – 11:30 ‘The Problem at Hand’ – Examples of problems in Development Writing Strategies to strengthen institutional and individual Development Writing
11:45 – 13:00 Interactive session on Factors that affect Development Writing Writing across registers, with examples of strong and weak writing

Activities to improve specific genres – Reports, Policy Briefs, Human-Interest Stories, Online Campaigns/ Social Media, etc.

14:00 – 16:00 Editorial feedback exercises to identify individual strengths and weaknesses Group task – Putting together either a policy brief/ web campaign text/ human-angle case study on a development issue
16:15 – 17:30 Group discussion on learnings from the exercise | Way Forward Group discussion on exercises | Closing with key points from the Way Forward session

The lead faculty of the course are:

Course Fee

Course Fee – INR 7000/- per participant
Institutions with 3+ nominations – INR 6000/- participant

HURRY!!! Limited number of applications can avail an Early Bird discount.

Important Dates

Course date – 23 and 24 June, 2016

Last date for registrations – June 17, 2016

Contact us on +91 9611911169 or 080- 67606617 for further details