Although COVID-19 has raised significant health, economic, social and human rights challenges, the global pandemic can also be viewed as an opportunity for innovation and higher impact. Several civil society organisations (CSOs) are increasingly using technology to achieve their objectives. For example, in Guinea, the social entrepreneurship NGO Dare to Innovate (Osez Innover in French) supported Ibrahima I Diallo, a young Guinean innovator who set up Ksante, an application allowing users to know their health status to better protect themselves from COVID-19.
However, the majority of West African CSOs do not effectively leverage technological and communication tools because of insufficient financial and organisational capacities to use Internet-based resources and platforms. Yet, Internet use and the adoption of technology are crucial to aid CSOs in their response and adaptation to COVID-19.
In this context, the West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI) has been undergoing online training on communication skills and strategies for CSOs in 18 countries in West and Central Africa registered on the West Africa Civil Society E-Directory. This bilingual online platform provides space for organisations from all ECOWAS member states as well as Cameroon, Chad and Mauritania, to establish networks and partnerships, share knowledge sharing and collect data on civil society’s work.
On 26 June 2020, the Institute provided 20 CSOs in Guinea with skills and knowledge to effectively manage all internal and external communications within a non-profit organisational setting amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. CSOs were equipped with the required skills to build and run robust communication systems, to manage a website and to effectively maximise their presence on the online directory platform.
Amadou Oury Bah, the founder of the NGO Afrik'art Concept which aims at contributing to the emancipation of Guinean and African culture and the development of the cinema industry, was one of the participants who benefited from the training.
“Civil society organisations need to acquire communication skills to achieve their goals”
Like 90% of the participants, Bah really appreciated the training, which had a significant positive effect on his communication skills and his organisation. Indeed, before the training, Bah had developed some knowledge and skills on communications, but he had not benefited from a professional training before and he did not know anything about a communications strategy. He is now committed to applying his new skills to his organisation’s work to increase their impact.
“I already contacted the team and we discussed a new communication strategy. In the future, we’re going to organise ourselves better to better reach the target audience and better convey the message we want to share during our activities”, he explained after the training.
Bah is also part of the overwhelming majority of participants (90%) who enjoyed the participatory and interactive approach of the training.
“I really appreciated the debate between the participants and the trainer. There were a lot of positive interventions and reactions that helped a lot to elucidate certain explanations”, he explained.
“It is a very important training because civil society organisations need to acquire communication skills to be able to communicate about their objectives, to better reach their target audience and to achieve their goals. If you don't have a communication plan, if you don't have communication skills, you're going to tell yourself that you want to communicate, but you're not going to get the expected result”, he added.
Bah concluded by recommending WACSI’s training to West African CSOs.
“I would definitely recommend this training. We need to share knowledge and have other training for organisations that have not been able to benefit from this training. As soon as I would have information about future training, I will directly target people who are not aware of the training to share the opportunity with them”, he said.
Do you want to benefit from such training? If yes, please register on our E-Directory platform here. If you have difficulty in registering, please watch this explanatory video or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or +233501440545.
Authored by: Ysé Auque-Pallez