“What is the one message you could let out to media about your organization? What will be worth talking about? “
After days of waiting, the eagerly awaited day, the 25th came and I being among the 15 people invited for the training assembled at the Fairview Hotel in Nairobi for the first day of the training. Filled with jubilation as well as expectation, we had ice breakers just to make sure that we were not thinking of how we were rained on the other day but set to share and learn from each other and more importantly from the facilitators. The decision to change our ways of operation lies in our hands and therefore it is important to know how we can cooperate with media to achieve huge strides in our endeavour to woe policy makers as well as citizens into formulating and implementing policies and consuming this content respectively.
During presentations from the facilitators; Mia foreman and Florence both from Population it was evident that there really is a gap between journalist and organizations and this was attributed to the fact that most of the time, NGOs pay little or no attention to journalists with whom they can spread the message of their work to a bigger population as Florence says “It is possible for us to continue writing about our opinions on what we work on and send them to editors and make sure that we are consistent in the writing to spread the word about our work” Develop a relationship with policy makers and from the workshop, it was made known to us that a better way to start especially if you want to get audience with members of parliament, you need to write up what you wish that be addressed then take them to this parliamentarians’ pigeon holes. Get contacts of important people and when you have new information in line with your work share with them, this enhances the ability of your organization to be depended upon when certain information is required.
The 2 day training was very beneficial for it not only provided a learning chance but also provided an opportunity to practice what we had learnt.
Some of the practical work we did was;
- Writing and presenting of a press release/getting the word out there (for map Kibera)
- Addressing a news conference
- A 60seconds sound bite (what massage do you want to pass out in 60s?)
- How to effectively communicate within the organization and to media
“Try to designate one staff person to be responsible for media relations. That way the press will have a point-person within your organization that they can always turn to.” A massage from one of the handouts. Before we left for home, additional material to enable us be effective in communicating and getting every little detail of our work known by the community and the world at large with help of the media.