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Workshop Report


1. Workshop Objectives

The objectives of the workshop were to:

2. Expected Outcomes

The following outcomes were expected from the workshop:

3. Participants

The 50 participants came from 13 ECOWAS countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo. There were also representatives from FAO Rome, UNDP Niger, UNICEF Niger, the World Bank Niger, ECOWAS Nigeria, and national bodies.

Participants were mainly journalists and/or communicators with specific governmental or professional responsibilities in research, planning, training or media regulation. They were, for example, members of an information regulatory body, communication authority or national communication institute.

4. Methodology

The workshop included plenary sessions to present papers and case studies and to share experiences. Working group sessions focused on the methodological stages of defining a multimedia communication strategy and a national communication for development policy.

The workshop presented:

The two working groups concentrated on:

- The methodological steps in the policy definition process;
- Policy implementation.

Finally, the workshop dedicated one day to a training session on the development of communication for development sector strategies and policy.

5. Final Communiqué

The Regional Workshop on the Elaboration and Implementation of Methodologies for Designing and Implementing Multimedia Communication Strategies and National Communication Policies started at 10:00 am on Monday, 1 April, 2002 at the Palais des Congrès, in Niamey, Republic of the Niger.

The workshop was jointly organized by FAO and ECOWAS, assisted by UNDP, AIF and UNICEF. It was attended by approximately 50 representatives from Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo.

The specific objectives of the workshop were:

The following results were expected:

The official opening ceremony of the workshop was chaired by His Excellency Matty Elhadj Moussa, Minister of Justice and Human Rights, who acted on behalf of Her Excellency Aïchatou Mindaoudou, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and African Integration. Other members of the Government of the Republic of the Niger and the representatives of diplomatic missions and international organizations were also in attendance.

Three short speeches were given during the opening ceremony.

After the official opening ceremony, Professor Alfred Opubor, a consultant for FAO, spoke of the challenges of designing and implementing national information and communication policies for sustainable development in Africa. Analysing the evolution of the concept of information, development and communication, Professor Opubor pointed out the close correlation that exists between communication and development. He invited participants to discuss the contribution of communication to country development, the links between language and integration and marginalization, and the appropriate technology for broadcasting information in our socio-economic and cultural contexts.

After lunch, Mr Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, a specialist in Communication for Development with FAO, gave a presentation on the methodological steps required to design a National Communication for Development Policy (NCDP). Mr Ilboudo identified eight steps and gave examples of lessons learned from FAO’s experience in Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, and Niger. He also emphasized the importance of an institutional framework and of a multimedia approach to implementing this type of communication strategy.

Ms Balsama Robetokotany from the African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development (ACMAD), then gave a presentation on the experience of ACMAD’s RANET project, which began in 1999. One important objective of this project is to make meteorological information and data more accessible to rural communities. She noted that radio and internet can help bridge the communication gap between societies with easy access to modern communication technology and those without.

The Tuesday, 2 April session opened with a brief review of Mr Ilboudo’s presentation on communication for development. This was followed by presentations on the current status of NCDPs in Mali by Mr Cheickna Diarra, in Guinea-Bissau by Mr Francisco Barreto de Carvalho, in Burkina Faso by Mr Serge Theophile Balima and in Niger by Mr Daouda Diallo. The ensuing discussions presented opportunities to share different national experiences and point out difficulties encountered during formulation and implementation.

At the end of the second day, participants drafted and approved the terms of reference of two working groups:

Each group appointed a facilitator and rapporteurs and was assigned the following tasks:

  1. Identify, from the four country presentations, the steps in the formulation and implementation of communication policies;
  2. Identify the constraints and issues encountered at each step;
  3. Make proposals and suggestions with regards to the constraints and problems above;
  4. Provide recommendations for each step.

The first working group was chaired by Ms Rabetokotany and the reporters were Mr Guehoun Niakpa Augustin and Mr Roch Parfait Ouedraogo.

Having decided on the most appropriate working method to use, the group discussed the different stages mentioned in the basic documents produced by FAO. Group members took an active part in the discussions and finally agreed upon the following proposals identifying solutions:

Suggestions from the First Working Group

STAGES

IDENTIFIED CONSTRAINTS

SUGGESTIONS/SOLUTIONS

1. Commitment and affirmation of the political will of the Government or the State to design and Implement the NCDP.

Political and institutional instability of leaders at the top of administrative and political bodies.

Adoption of the NCDP by Government, by the Parliament or any other appropriate body.

2. Establish a national steering committee in charge of strategic orientation to promote it at the national level.

Difficulty in identifying steering committee members and problem of representation.

Political designation of the members on the basis of competence and effective representation.

3. Identify the themes and communication sectors to be examined, according to the national context and the political, economic and socio-cultural options.

· Identification of the study theme which is less participatory in the Countries having designed a NCDP.
· Very general and less analytical studies.
· Insufficient implementation delays mentioned by the consultants.

· More association with development actors.
· Integrate a study on the situation of communication in the institutions, NGOs and associations involved in the development field.
· Extend the duration of the studies.

4. Design a document of reference for the national consultants including the major political, economic and cultural options of the country.

· Diversity of the documents and reports on the strategic orientation of the country.
· Lack of updated data on the national situation.

· Appoint a consultant to design a reference document containing the major aspects of economic and democratic governance, and social and cultural development.

5. Organize a training workshop for national consultants in order to design the concepts, components, principles, methods and applications of communication for development.

· Unequal knowledge of communication for development among consultants.

· Recruit consultants meeting the terms of reference.
· Extend the number of participants to the delegates from provinces and representatives of bodies working in the field to facilitate awareness and information.

6. Launch thematic and sectoral studies for at least two months with the use of an active participa- tory research method (APRM).

· APRM insufficiently understood by some consultants.

· Enhance capacity of the consultants in participatory approaches.
· Initiate monitored tasks in the training workshop.

7. Organize regional meetings to identify the needs in information and communication of rural grassroots development actors.

· Material, logistic and financial issues in organizing those meetings.
· Difficulties in selecting participants.
· Poor representation of women.
· Communication issues with some organizations or associations established in the inner country.
· Insufficient duration of workshop.

· Define the number of workshops according to the national context.
· Extend the duration of workshops to two days.
· Avoid formal workshops but make them informal and participatory.

8. Produce synthesis document on the studies carried out in the field and in the regional meetings to serve as reference for the national workshop. This document should foster exchanges between development partners in the field.

· Study implementation deadlines not observed by some consultants.
· Difficult intellectual exercise requiring abilities and judgement.
· Thematic reports, sectoral studies and regional workshops are poorly used by most participants who rely only on the final documents.

· Ask each consultant having carried out a thematic/sectorial study to produce a summary of work.
· Find ways to disseminate the results of good work.

9. Organize a national workshop on designing national communication for development policy. This workshop brings together representatives of regions, provinces, NGOs, civil society, religious Bodies, media and development partners. These representatives are involved in designing and Implementing the NCDP and should validate the results of the regional meetings.

· Internal, logistical and financial issues.
· Imbalance between representatives from public institutions and civil society organizations.
· Weak participation by women.
· Few members of rural communities.
· Under-use of national languages.

· Give due consideration to the needs and expectations of rural communities by increasing the number of farmers participating in the national workshop and by using national languages.
· Redefine representation modality by adopting quota for bodies, organizations, associations and regions.
· Determine adequate number of skilled representatives.

10. Provide the national workshop results to civil society organisations and development partners in the provinces and regions.

· Financial constraints in organizing such meetings.
· Limited feedback on the outcomes from the communities.

· Organize a working session in which the representatives who attended the national workshop provide feedback to their organizations.

11. Formulate a national communication for development programme with short-, medium-and long- term action plans, including budgets to be submitted to development partners.

· Lack of funds in the short term for implementing the programme.
· Long and complicated organizational process.
· Inadequate political will of some policy makers.

· Associate partners throughout the country at all stages in the process of designing the NCPD.
· Set up a technical inter-departmental panel to prepare the financial partners’ roundtable.

The second group was chaired by Mr Soumana Kambeidou, and Ms Mariama Kéïta and Mr Milton Waiswa were rapporteurs. The group listed the steps in the process of implementing the NCDP as follows:

  1. Reaffirm national political will so that the NCDP reflects the concerns of everybody.
  2. Establish a legal and institutional framework through the NCDP and secto-ral communication sections. This implies setting-up a technical secretariat for the technical and operational aspects of the NCDP.
  3. Identify human resources and mobilize financial resources for the functioning of the NCDP coordinating unit.
  4. Promote the NCDP at the level of development partners and disseminate it at grassroots level.
  5. Mobilize financial resources through meetings with development partners.
  6. Monitor and evaluate the NCDP to build on achievements and ensure sustainability.

Before examining issues and constraints, and making recommendations, the group highlighted criteria for the functioning of the secretariat, its mission and choice of its staff. The identification of problems was based on the issues raised above:

Conclusion from the Second Working Group

1. Reaffirm the Political Will

CONSTRAINTS/ISSUES

SOLUTIONS

Political instability

Commit all stakeholders in the country to support the NCDP.

Lack of interest

Include the NCDP in the development programme.

Lukewarm interest

The national assembly should adopt the NCDP.

Clash of authority

Establish and help set up active pressure groups.

2. Establish a Legal and Institutional Framework

CONSTRAINTS/ISSUES

SOLUTIONS

Lack of representation

Involve main actors in the programme.

Cumbersome administrative structure

Simple operational structure.

Lack of consensus

Minimum operational agreement.

Institutional Framework

The NCDP coordination unit should be independent and established according to the political, economic and social context of the country. Unit staff should be competent and have skills in communication for development. This unit should be streamlined and efficient.

3. Identify Human Resources and Mobilize Financial Resources to Operate the NCDP Coordination Unit

CONSTRAINTS/ISSUES

SOLUTIONS

Unskilled staff

Train journalists and other stakeholders in the field in communication for development.

Lack of funding

Train journalists and development stakeholders to design adequate strategies to mobilize financial resources from the government and public media.

4. Promote and Disseminate the NCDP

CONSTRAINTS/ISSUES

SOLUTIONS

Lack of human resources competent in promoting the NCDP

Identify Gap, inform and train field journalists and communicators in the marketing of the NCDP.

Documents written in official languages, which are not used by the majority of the population

Translate the NCDP into national languages.

Lack of financial resources to carry out activities

Design better strategies for fundraising.

5. Mobilize Financial Resources from Development Partners

CONSTRAINTS/ISSUES

SOLUTIONS

Difficulty in securing funds from national Government

Develop good strategies to mobilize funds and include a communication component in each programme, project and policy.

No control overother funding sources

Enhance civil society’s efforts to mobilize resources for NCDP.

Inadequate donor involvement in the process of designing the programme.

Involve all potential donors in the entire process of designing the NCDP in order to facilitate funding.

Lack of sectoral strategy for mobilizing financial resources

Link the NCDP programmes with other development programmes, such as on poverty alleviation, HIV/AIDS or the environment.

6. Monitor and Evaluate to Build on Achievements and Improve Sustainability of the NCDP

This is a cross-cutting procedure for which a continuous, participatory evaluation process, with verifiable indicators within a specified time-frame, should be developed.

Plenary Session 4 April

Thursday, 4 April was spent introducing participants to the methodology for designing multimedia communication strategies. Professor Hugues Koné presented the methodological guide, which included planning models and standard planning processes. This was followed by a strategy design process including investigation fields, methods and techniques of investigation, strategy formulation and framework, operational aspects, strategy validation, and an explanation of the planning frameworks, monitoring and evaluation.

Participants then reviewed several models for planning communication strategies. The different stages of formulating a multimedia communication strategy were presented as follows:

The formulation of a multimedia strategy was then explained and 12 key points were made:

  1. Start a communication process by fostering the participation of communities in planning development action before the draft rural development project is approved.
  2. Define development activities with communities and then identify stake-holders within different target groups. These groups should each play a different role and should receive different messages through different channels.
  3. Set objectives for each group. For example: a better understanding of the role of fertilizers by small farmers; greater participation of teachers in promoting vegetables and the use of fertilizers; more active promotion of fertilizers by the community leaders, etc.
  4. Analyse audiences through techniques such as KAP and group interviews.
  5. Establish a communication plan for each target group, including the different phases required for communication materials, who should produce them and when.
  6. Design the message and decide on an appropriate medium based on the study of the target audience.
  7. Produce and pilot communication materials. The communication materials should always be first produced in a “preliminary” form and tested on small representative groups from the target audiences. If tests reveal that the materials are not understood or appreciated, they should be modified accordingly.
  8. Train field staff in the use of the communication materials and in the techniques of interpersonal communication.
  9. Implement the communication plan by producing and using the materials.
  10. Monitor and evaluate. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation can serve to underline when communication activities do not achieve the desired results and when misunderstandings hinder progress.
  11. Information obtained through the monitoring process can be used as feedback for the implementation process. In other words, regularly review the type of message and materials to respond correctly to the needs identified in ongoing monitoring and evaluation, and until the communication work has been properly understood and appreciated.
  12. In depth evaluation of impacts and problems should be conducted at the end of each communication activity, so that the lessons learned can be incorporated into ongoing activities.

At the end of the workshop the participants drew up a list of countries which have not yet formulated a national communication for development policy and which would like to start this exercise:

- Ghana
- Côte d’Ivoire
- Nigeria
- Mano River states (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone)
- Benin
- The Gambia
- Senegal
- Togo


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