Addis Lemma leads the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) team that develops electronic and print materials to engage the public in anti-corruption efforts and sensitize issues related to FEACC’s work.
However, the Commission’s communication personnel tasked with this responsibility were not equipped with the necessary skills to do the job. They had been using an old school approach to prepare materials and this appeared to have had little impact in making the public more aware of the important work carried out by the Commission.
“Whenever our department outsources works, I usually find myself trying hard to explain and clarify for the consultants/experts about the intent of the assignment, but it is often poorly prepared and did not include the fundamental component of a strategic communication’’, said Addis Lemma, a team leader who is responsible for preparation and dissemination electronic media communication materials. These communication materials developed by external experts lacked the level of quality necessary to make the work of FEACC more relevant to the general public.
At the same time, he added that the communication materials that were prepared internally by the commission, such as brochures, flyers, posters and drama productions were less focused to address the specific problem which ended up confusing our audience.
FEACC recognized that this challenge was partly down to the fact that its staff lacked the knowledge and skills to design and utilize more modern communication and information dissemination approaches. FEAC thereafter requested UNDP’s Governance and Democratic Participation Programme (GDPP) to help it enhance its staff’s competencies and skills to be able to do their core functions.
With the financial and technical support from GDPP, FEACC organized two rounds (each round for 3 days and in July and December 2019) of interactive participatory strategic communication training workshops to bridge the knowledge gap and enhance the skills of the media education team staff as well as those staff directly or indirectly involved in communication material development.
A total of 18 FEACC staff took part in the workshop and enhanced their knowledge about the key components of good communication strategy: how to develop a creative brief for a specific problem in their sector; how to devise a character profile for their target audiences; identify core components of effective message development; draft message briefs based on existing strategies and the basics of pre-testing communication products.
“The training equipped me with the necessary tools to strategically design my communication work as well as guide the work of my team”, Addis said. “Furthermore, as a result of the training provided recently, we developed a good strategic brief for preparation of a documentary film by a consultant firm and our contractual agreement went smoothly and eventually with good quality of work. “
FEACC is currently assessing its media education and communication affairs directorate. The purpose of that exercise is to reorganize and restructure the directorate into different work profile/teams. Following the knowledge and perspectives shared during the training, the structure will include a social media team and pre-testing of communication materials will be mainstreamed as a standard operating procedure. This will help FEACC to be better able to communicate more effectively about their key role so that members of the public will gain a better understanding of the work of the FEACC.
FEACC is one of the 11 key Implementation Partners of UNDP Ethiopia five-year multi-donor Governance and democratic participation programme implemented with financial support from Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Norway.