Invitation to representatives of the media
WHEN: 1st and 2nd October 2012
WHERE: African Union headquarters, new Conference Center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, (Small Conference Room 1)
WHO: Organized by the Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) of the African Union Commission (AUC)
WHY: The workshop is in line with the DIC Communication Strategy for the African Union (AU) which aims at using all different types of existing tools to communicate the vision, missions, strategic planning and activities of the Union, while ensuring mass popularization of the AU activities, in a bid to narrow the bridge between the African population and the Continental Organisation.
The DIC in collaboration with the Press Attaches will create communication activities aimed at elaborating national campaign strategies to improve the visibility of the AU in the respective member countries through national media.
Objectives: The main objective of this workshop is to consolidate a good working relationship with the focal persons responsible for communication issues in the embassies of AU Member States in Addis Ababa, so as to increase awareness about the African Union and create impact on the lives of the African citizens, so that they can own the integration process by contributing in the development of the continent at all levels.
The workshop on engaging Press Attaches and focal persons in Communication in embassies aims to:
• Strengthen dialogue between the AU and the focal persons responsible for communication issues in the Embassies of AU Member States and between the AU and its citizens through effective information dissemination via the respective embassies;
• Provide reliable, credible and source information to the national media derived from the AU headquarters;
• Develop and enhance the knowledge of communications specialists in the different AU Member States Embassies on the AU activities so that they can better communicate and enlighten the population at national level through the different national media communication tools;
• Devise in collaboration with the DIC accessible advocacy and publicity materials – print and audio-visual products for media, web sites, and other public outreach- that highlights the actions taken at the level of the AU to better the lives of the African population; and advocate for development actions by different stakeholders;
• Establish an effective dissemination channels to bring AU related information to the diverse target and different audiences;
• Establish a network and data base of national journalists throughout the continent in line with the Media Development flagship project of the AUC through the DIC.
• Facilitate access to archive information and to audio-visual archive material aimed at producing historical documentaries at national levels.
• Elaborate joint visibility and advocacy activities during major commemorative events of the Union and ensure their implementation at national levels.
Expected outcomes: The recommendations of the workshop shall be included as part of the action plan of the African Union Communication Strategy 2013 -2016, for implementation.
Organization of the Workshop:
The following issues will be discussed during the workshop:
• Information on key issues and current happenings within the continent needs to be digested, simplified and published in the national media so that people can know about the efforts AU is making to promote development on the continent in various sectors.
• The workshop will enable the AU to get feedback and also create a platform where proposals can be tabled on how best to channel information on the activities of the AU Commission to Member States in order to create awareness and quick action on issues that require urgent implementation by the respective governments and by the AU.
• Effective collaboration between the AU Information and Communication Directorate and Press Attaches will enable ordinary people in member states to have an understanding on how the AUC operates and the benefits of belonging to this continental body.
• Press attaches have much to learn and so the DIC can organize for briefing sessions on major current events and get the resource person of the department handling that particular issue to brief them.
• Press attaches of embassies are potential communication actors that can be good agent of relaying information from the headquarters through their respective Ministry of Communications and eventually directly to the local population through the different national media.
• The partnership between Press attachés of embassies and the DIC will help complement the efforts of the DIC in ensuring a continent-wide communication strategy.
• The cooperation between the two parties will encourage exchange of ideas and best practices to promote the image of the African Union through its activities.
• The project also aims to consolidate and enhance internal as well as external communication.
Participants: Participants will include: focal persons on communication issues in the Embassies of AU Member States; communication and information officers from UN agencies, European Union, focal persons in communication from AU departments, the staff of the Directorate of Information and Communication, and information officers of AU Partner organisations based in Addis Ababa, among others.
In its efforts to maximize visibility of the activities of the African Union through outreach, the Directorate of Communication and Information (DIC) has resolved to engage more with press attaches of Embassies in view to increase outreach at national levels aimed at popularizing the activities of the African Union (AU). Focal persons in charge of communication in the respective Embassies of AU Member States in Addis Ababa are considered by the DIC as potential relays of information derived from the AU Headquarters destined to the national media.
As an efficient and value-adding institution, driving the African integration and development process in close collaboration with its Member States, the Regional Economic Communities and the African citizens, the African Union has the obligation to inform on its activities so that the citizen can claim ownership of their institution.
The public has to be updated on the operationalisation of the African Union and its organs, the socio-economic and political development of the continent and the efforts invested at the level of the Union to place Africa as an active player in the international scene; fighting as one and united people speaking with one voice and taking a common position to address world challenges.
A reflection was carried out to that effect by the DIC and some Press Attachés of Embassies who underscored the need to work in close collaboration in order to maximize information dissemination about the African Union continent-wide through the national and regional popularization of events organized in the different African countries by the AU Commission.
The DIC expresses satisfaction with this project which will be important in the effort of the AU to narrow the relationship between the DIC and the Member States in a bid strengthen the working relationship of both sides for the benefit of African populations.
There is need for the DIC to design a program within the framework of the partnership with the focal persons on communication matters of Embassies to link up Press Attaches accredited to the AU with those accredited to the UN and the EU so that they can interact and share experiences on best practices of creating awareness on the operations, achievements and challenges experienced within the respective institutions. This will bring the AU as mediator of these bodies to sale and promote the development agenda of the Union. The more these specialized communication actors are enlightened and informed about the activities of the Union, the better for the promotion of the image and activities of the AU.
Source: African Union Commission (AUC) – Press Release – 25 September 2012