This thesis focuses on â communication for development' concepts and initiatives, in an attempt to, first, investigate the limits of the UN's perceived shift from a top-down to a bottom-up development approach, and secondly, to evaluate the degree and extent of the effectiveness of its communication efforts to achieve development results. The main hypothesis is that communication, as a tool used to achieve development objectives, remains vastly underutilized within the UN system, partly owing to the lack of adopting a genuine people-centred, bottom-up approach in favour of top-down global strategies. The thesis first embarks on a review of the evolution of development approaches, with a focus on the role of the UN, followed by an analysis of different schools of â communication for development', exploring the influence of the historical shift in global development thinking and the UN's role in this field. The thesis then tackles a case study from the United Nations Development Programme in Egypt to investigate the degree to which such initiatives are community-driven versus corporate-dictated. Project evaluation analysis and a series of independent focus groups with target beneficiaries suggest that UNDP's communication focus at the corporate level remains largely driven by a top-down diffusion model for the purpose of increasing its delivery of development aid and prospect mobilized resources. Based on the research findings, the thesis concludes with a proposed alternative framework for implementation at the project level to balance off this corporate top-down influence with more effective and measurable communication initiatives that promote participatory activities stemming from the community and serving their genuine development objectives.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Degree Name

MA in Political Science

First Advisor

Farah, Nadia

Committee Member 1

Elnur, Ibrahim

Committee Member 2

Soliman, Samer

Document Type



The American University in Cairo grants authors of theses and dissertations a maximum embargo period of two years from the date of submission, upon request. After the embargo elapses, these documents are made available publicly. If you are the author of this thesis or dissertation, and would like to request an exceptional extension of the embargo period, please write to thesisadmin@aucegypt.edu