Communication expert, Paula Fray (frayintermedia) highlighted that institutions are increasingly engaging with the stakeholders including but not limited to policy makers, CSOs and their membership for example trade unions and informal economy associations with the aim of promoting social change and development. However, there is a challenge in communication that makes it difficult to cause a desired change. This calls for a comprehensive vision and understanding of the benefits of communication planning to enhance engagement with the audience.
Fray said this during a communication strategy training workshop targeting leadership of both Platform for Vendors of Uganda (PLAVU) and Amalgamated Transport and General Workers’ Union (ATGWU).The workshop was hosted by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Uganda in partnership with FES Media Africa between 26th and 30th August 2019.
The training workshop aimed at empowering the two institutions to effectively articulate, represent and advance their interests, causes and goals in the policy making process. The event also aimed at guiding the institutions in using modern communication methods to broaden opportunities for socio-political participation and social change and engaged participants on developing a communication strategy guided by clear organizational aims and objectives, target audience analysis, developing diversified messages to connect and engage with a target audiences, formulating tailored internal and external communications strategies, turning messages into press releases, choosing implementation strategies, identifying monitoring and evaluation approaches and developing communication tools. The training was participatory in nature as evidenced by series of group activities undertaken by the participants from both PLAVU and ATGWU.
Mr. Odaro Stephen Padde, the General Secretary of PLAVU in his remarks indicated that the training was such a great opportunity to their institution and that they are now able to clearly understand their organisation broadly and how to communicate effectively with stakeholders. PLAVU was able to assess its strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities that can be leveraged on to create an impactful communication plan. Odaro said that the training will contribute greatly to their future engagements on the regulations and guidelines (especially the up-coming Street Trade Ordinance) that govern the operations of street vending and hawking in Kampala city.
Similarly, Mr. John Mark Mwanika, the Programs Officer of ATGWU said during the workshop participants demonstrated a good understanding of the need for an effective practical communication plan for their union and its communication activities. John Mark added that the knowledge and skills acquired by the ATGWU participants will motivate them to ensure that the agreed on action plans are implemented starting with up-dating the union’s website.
PLAVU and ATGWU participants agreed to develop communication plans using the strategies shared by the communication expert during the training workshop. This will enhance their engagement with the audiences.