Scaling up Capacity for Africa Communicators

Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018

Group photo of attendees at the UN Women Africa regional communications workshop in Dakar, Senegal
Group photo of attendees at the UN Women Africa regional communications workshop in Dakar, Senegal. Photo UN Women Ababacar Khalifa

Noting the important role of communications and advocacy in achieving the UN Women mandate in Africa, the two regional offices of West and Central and East and Southern Africa held a story telling skills development workshop for 34 communications officers working on the continent.

The highly interactive workshop was facilitated by UN Women global and regional communications team leads who emphasized development and dissemination of messages on UN Women’s real transformative impact on the communities that it seeks to support. The workshop equipped the officers on how to better communicate with various stakeholders both within and outside the organization with a focus on the results and impact.

Speaking during the conference, the Deputy Regional Director for WACARO Ms.  Oulimata Sarr urged the communication participants to closely work with programme staff to tell impact stories. She also called for more communications for development through strategic collaboration with key stakeholders especially the government and civil society including interreligious organizations that work closely with communities.

Other areas of opportunities for communications include working closely with cultural and youth influencers like Jaha Mapenzi Dukureh who was recently appointed as the goodwill ambassador for UN Women in the region to advocate for the ending of child marriage and FGM.  Oulimata also noted that social media is the new platform that gives instant news and is critical to spreading the message of UN Women’s mandate, that of empowerment of women and girls.

Cecil from Sierra Leone receives his certificate alongside Carlotta and Osika. Photo: UN Women/ Keneddy Okoth
Cecil from Sierra Leone alongside UN Women HQ colleagues Carlotta and Oisika during the last day of the workshop. Photo: UN Women/ Keneddy Okoth

In her presentation, Oisika Chakrabarti, Officer in charge, UN Women Communications emphasized the need to find creative ways of storytelling through the traditional and emerging media channels. She urged the participants to work more on telling impact stories of UN Women’s work to the beneficiaries.

Other aspects of communication discussed in the workshop included storytelling elements including branding, social media, Website, news stories, photography, web editorials, video and multi-media production.

‘It is an enriching platform that allows the regional communications team to share best practices and develop strategic plans to help better communicate the UN Women agenda on empowerment of women and girls’, said Limbani Msiska, from Malawi.

In conclusion, it was emphasized that UN Women’s voice is empowering, positive and contemporary as its stories make the case for investing in women and girls. UN Women’s communications purpose is to raise awareness about issues affecting women and girls and demonstrate the impact of our work in addressing these to our audience who are global, diverse, donors and more often, the general public.