Sierra Leone to host pre-Summit Workshop on Engaging Press Attaches and Focal Persons in Communication at AU Member States Embassies in Addis Ababa to broaden outreach at National level about the Union in view of Agenda 2063


WHEN: 6 to 7 June 2016

WHERE: Freetown, Sierra Leone

THEME: Engaging the Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) of the African Union with Press Attaches of AU Member State Embassies in a bid to broaden outreach and expand knowledge about the Union in view of Agenda 2063rdquo;

WHO: Organized by the Directorate of Information and Communication (DIC) of the African Union Commission (AUC).

WHY: As part of the implementation of the African Union (AU) Communication, Advocacy and Marketing Strategy 2014-2017, the Directorate of Information and Communication of the AU has embarked on narrowing the gap between the Africa citizens and the Continental Organisation by taking information about the activities of the Union to the people at national level. The workshop will bring together communication focal person from AU Member States embassies based in Addis Ababa in one of the post Ebola affected countries to exchange on how to make maximum use of the existing communication tools/ channels to communicate the vision, missions, strategic planning and activities of the Union, while ensuring mass popularization of the activities of the African Union (AU) at national, regional and continental levels.

The workshop with Press Attaches will also enhance the existing cooperation between the embassies and the AU with the view to promote the image of 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, notably in view of Agenda 2063.

Specific Objectives:

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 for implementation with the view to promote the image of the AU.

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.

Presentation of the Revamp AU Website and Social Media of the AUC;

Presentation on Agenda 2063 and Ten Years Implementation Planrdquo;,the seven Aspiration of the Agenda and flagship projects as well as the Involvement of Press Attaches to the implementation and popularization of Agenda 2063;

middot; Post Ebola and Investment Opportunities for Sierra Leone and the AUC achievements and actions undertaken to fight EBOLA in the Continent.

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 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 attacheacute;s of embassies and the DIC will help complement the efforts of the DIC in ensuring a continent-wide communication strategy.

The workshop 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; Resource persons and officials from the AU Commission; the media and African editors; high Government officials from Sierra Leone; invited guests; 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 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 collaborationwith its Member States, the Regional Economic Communitiesand 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 Attacheacute;s 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 to 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 as well as other partner organisations 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.

The Pre-summit workshop with focal person in communication from AU Member States Embassies based in Addis Ababa is an annual event to be hosting in a rotating manner in the five regions of Africa to ensure that information from the AU headquarters in brought to the grassroots population. Sierra Leone is hosting for the West region this year. The event in Sierra Leone is symbolic because it will provide the platform for participants to share views on the post Ebola crises in the continent and showcase the joint efforts of the African Union Member States in the fight against the killer disease.


Source: African Union Commission (AUC).

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