The Faculty of Integrated Development Studies of S.D. Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (UBIDS) has introduced a new certificate programme in Social and Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC).
The new programme – the first of its kind in the country – is due to commence in July this year with the express aim of developing communication skills and strategies to analyse and frame developmental issues more pragmatically, and set the agenda for social discourse that will bring positive change to local communities.
Speaking at the launch, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (PVC) of the University, Professor Emmanuel Derbile, said a modern university can only be relevant as an agent of development if its programmes respond to the developmental needs of society.
“As a university, we identify with your vision and mission of advancing the development of our young people, because this is the only way we can guarantee a better future and sustainability for the world. Many of the developmental challenges we face are social and can only be addressed in a sustainable way through effective communication,” he stated.
Professor Derbile said that despite the programme’s immediate focus being the development of local communities, its impact will be seen on the continent and beyond.
Offering further insight, the Head of the Department of African and General Studies (DAGS) at the University, Dr. Damasus Tuurosong, explained that since beginning of the 2020-2021 academic year, the department has been mainstreaming social and behaviour communication concepts and models into its postgraduate Development Communication programmes to equip students with the necessary knowledge and hands-on practical skills.
On her part, Communication for Development Officer at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Ghana, Charity Nikoi, said there is an evident gap in communication between policymakers and the communities these policies are to serve. She therefore applauded the university for taking the initiative in bridging this gap.
“We know from the gaps we found and from the programme which has been launched, that we will be able to build the capacity of students in a way so when they leave they will be ready for the job market. The university will have the opportunity to also partner with people or industries that need these soft skills; such as in advertising, agriculture, health and education among others,” she said.
She also reiterated the commitment of UNICEF in supporting the university, especially as it seeks to promote the welfare of women and children.
The university, named after politician and traditional ruler, Simon Diedong Dombo, was established by the government of Ghana in 2019 and given a mandate by Act 1001 of 2019. Carved from the University for Development Studies (UDS), and having its Charter, it has a mandate as a public university to offer programmes that will lead to the award of undergraduate and graduate honors under its own name in the areas of its competencies – Law, Education, Life-Long Learning, Social Studies, Business and Integrated Development.