Fourteen directors and senior officials of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of the Federal Republic of Somalia on Saturday, March 14, returned to Mogadishu following a week of intensive strategic communications and public management training in Nairobi, Kenya.
The training was organized by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to equip the senior management team from the ministry with skills that the country needs, especially in telling the story of Somalia’s political, social, economic and security improvements to a global audience.
“The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism is key in giving visibility to the successes and improvements happening in Somalia”, said Abdirahman Yusuf Al Adala, the Director General in the ministry. “We are grateful for the cooperation and support of AMISOM over the years and this training of our staff is important in giving them a global perspective to be able to fully tell our story to the world.”
Among other topics, the officers were taken through best practices in developing effective strategic communication plans against competing priorities; developing key messages for priority programs and campaigns; conducting research and audience insight on communications implementation tactics; developing and keeping a communications master grid; and undertaking qualitative and quantitative research to inform communication strategies.
“What we are endeavoring to do is to create awareness and knowledge to have these leaders become more strategic and be thought leaders towards the public affair conversation and towards policy development in Somalia. I am sure that moving forward they will make a big change because they are instrumental in taking the government agenda to the public in Somalia,” said public management expert Anne Gichuhi.
During her lecture, Gichuhi took the participants through the key aspects of public affairs management, public policy analysis, community relations, brand management and various simulations centered around building community relations.
As part of this training, the officers visited Radio Africa Group, which started operations 13 years ago and now publishes The Star newspaper, and owners of Kiss and Bamba TVs, and nine radio stations that include Kiss FM, Classic 105, Radio Jambo, 105.5 XFM and Gukena FM. The media company also runs a popular digital platform, called Mpasho.
Here the team was met by the executive team, including Managing Director William Pike, Group Head of Content Paul Ilalo, and Francis Mureithi the News Editor, who spoke to them about the importance of establishing ties in order to ease the exchange of expertise, information and management tips.
“Its in our interest to further this relationship and to grow it so that we are able to serve the interests of the people of Somalia and Kenya as best as we can. On our part, we are willing to cooperate and to work with Somalia to tell the good stories. There is a lot more that happens in Somalia that doesn’t get told. We have platforms that can tell those stories and we are hoping that at the end of this we will be able to establish necessary links to be able to tell these stories”, said Paul Ilado, the Group Head of Content at Africa Group, after taking the team through the newspaper, radio, digital, advertising, marketing and distribution departments of Radio Africa Group.
Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed expressed gratitude to AMISOM for organizing the training, which he said had given them new perspectives. “We had a good workshop, we exchanged ideas and when we go back to Somalia we will have the energy to execute our mandate as Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism staff”.