African Monitor continues to work towards the realization of the priorities of the grassroots communities in Africa. Under the theme, “Unlocking the African Moment”, part of our work involves communication and media relations. In a 24/7 world like the one we live in, communication lies at the core of success for all enterprises; be they non-profit or business – and the African Monitor is no exception. To that end, the African Monitor, has continued to communicate for various reasons: to communicate with the grassroots communities in order to get their views on development; with the members of public through the media to garner support on grassroots development issues; with policy makers and implementers to conscientise them on the views of the poor and to find solutions together. African Monitor’s communications and media relations work is an off-shoot of advocacy. This means that we do not communicate or get media coverage just for the sake of it; but that media and communications work are aimed at enhancing our overall advocacy work.
The strategy to communicate is centred on the notion that in this day and age, one has to be heard and visible so that the issues that one works with are brought to the limelight. Otherwise the hard and real fact is that despite amazing work on the ground, if you are not on the media front face, you might as well be non-existent! And by media is meant a whole host of channels available to one’s disposal in this day and age – from the so- called traditional or old media to the new media, including social media to internal communication channels including newsletters, direct communications via email of list servers.
Our media relations work also focuses not just on getting media to cover our advocacy work and views of our constituents; but it goes deeper by working towards ensuring that media become stakeholders in development. To that end, besides press conferences, we hold regular Editors Forums and other engagement dialogues with media personnel in order to enlist buy-in and understanding of issues to do with grassroots communities. We have also taken advantage of existing media forums like the Highway Africa conference and the Africa Media Leaders’ Forum to meet with media personnel and acclimatize with media related issues as well as enhance the development sector’s relations with the media.