“A lot of lessons were learnt and the right answers were given to all questions. It was more of an open discussion. I just cannot wait for the next training. Thanks very much for this great opportunity.”
These are the words of Rebecca Kajelo, Media Relations Officer of TEERE, a non-governmental organisation in the Upper West Region of Ghana, after participating in a one-day training offered by the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) for civil society organisations (CSOs) in Ghana.
Kajelo was one of the 46 persons who applied for the training and she was among the 32 who were selected to be part of this training on Communication Skills and Strategies for CSOs.
Communication remains an indispensable tool in the development sector. Yet, frontline actors comprised of community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, youth and women’s groups, associations that work at the community level face serious challenges to communicate effectively. Many of them are not able to package and share clear and convincing messages, success stories in ways that would galvanise and attract the support they crave for to accomplish their mission.
This is justified by the fact that some of the staff, pioneers and drivers of these different groups do not have the adequate skills set to communicate effectively. They do not know how to develop organisational communication strategies, some are not able to write press releases, success stories or articles for online platforms, some do not make use of appropriate communication tools like websites, Facebook, among others.
On Friday 13 March 2020, some 32 staff from 29 CSOs in the northern regions of Ghana were privileged to take part in a Communication Skills and Strategies Training. This training took place at Gariba Lodge in Tamale and it benefitted staff whose organisations are registered on the regional one-stop platform for all CSOs in 18 countries across West and Central Africa – the West Africa Civil Society E-Directory.
The 46 staff of CSOs who applied to participate in this training expressed challenges including, but not limited to; inadequate capacity to develop communication strategies, manage websites and social media platforms, not being able to tailor compelling messages to stakeholders especially donors, among others.
All of them saw this training as an opportunity to address their communication skills gaps and be equipped to drive successful communication efforts in their respective organisations.
Kajelo of TEERE noted that she acquired the skills she required to develop a feasible communication strategy for TEERE and she will use them to finalise the organisation’s communication’s strategy.
Aminu Mahama of YEFL Ghana in Tamale, Northern Ghana, applied for this training “… to acquire the needed communication skills to effectively communicate the organisation’s achievement and reports to donors and audience in a precise and concise manner on its various e-platforms.”
Of the 46 applicants, 36 of them, that is, 78.26% are located in very deprived communities in the country. They lauded this initiative by WACSI to equip their organisations with basic communication skills to develop feasible communication strategies, manage their websites, write compelling success stories.
After the training, Sir Joseph Charles Osei, Executive Director of BIBIR Ghana in Tamale noted with satisfaction that; “the training has offered me the opportunity to speak the language that sponsors and donors understand best. It has also offered me the opportunity to host my article and website for people who may not have known what we are doing.”
Dimongso Kafari Benjamin, Executive Director of Aid for Socio-Economic and Rural Development (ASERD-GHANA) shared similar positive impressions after the training.
He noted that skills gained from the training will enable his organisation’s team to communicate effectively with regards to their activities for others to know what ASERD’s contribution to international development is, and the milestones they are realising towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Ghana.
“The training will also [provide] us [with] effective ways of writing convincing proposals to donors to raise funds to support out projects,” he added.
Benjamin has applied the skills gained from the training. He has written and shared over five success stories on the work of ASERD Ghana on the West Africa Civil Society E-Directory to showcase the work of his organisation to the world – a key feasible lesson he acquired from the training.