Takeaways from the PITCH 2020 Communication for Advocacy trainings

Takeaways from the PITCH 2020 Communication for Advocacy trainings

In February and March 2020, PITCH conducted Communication for Advocacy trainings for its partners in five countries. These trainings aimed to strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations in PITCH countries in using communication effectively and strategically in their advocacy work and specifically in their campaigning work. Effective and strategic communication is understood as the art of achieving an advocacy objective through changing attitudes and mobilising public participation. 

PITCH partners Nigeria Sex Workers Association (Nigeria), Hope and Trust (Ukraine), and the Key Population Consortium (Kenya) share their insights from this training:

 

Participants of Communications for Advocacy training in Nigeria after a role-play exercise on storytelling

Communications for Advocacy training in Nigeria

1. What was the best part of the communications for advocacy training for you? 

Hope and Trust, Ukraine: It was very important to learn about crisis communication. We now have a plan of action that includes key messages, speakers, people who will respond to negative comments, a list of other organisations that support our ideas. 

 

Using storytelling to drive home your points is very interesting because it adds a face to your issues, because at times people think that certain things don’t happen until you put a face to it.

 

NSWA, NigeriaThat was the best part of the training for us. There are so many tactics like using humour, coming out of hiding, connecting to a larger issue, mapping a change journey, creating connections with the target group that prove to be extremely helpful in creating an engaging story. 

KP Consortium, Kenya: For us, the conversation around how values and emotions help people to come together and change someone’s perceptions or attitudes was important. Values should be used while campaigning. One should look for shared values, like love, commitment, generosity in order to change or convince someone. Showing emotions while campaigning enables one to connect more with the public because people tend to empathise with the campaigner. 

 

2. What were some new techniques or thought processes you learnt during the training that you weren’t familiar with? 

Hope and Trust, Ukraine: Our organisation works with people who use drugs, with a focus on women who use drugs. Society is negative about these people because the imagery used for them is dehumanising. At the communication training, we talked about how to make our messages acceptable to the audience. They have to be packaged into shared values. 

NSWA, Nigeria: We also learnt that in championing a course for or against an issue, there must be a target group. Before advocacy begins, the target group must be mapped out, which includes reaching out to and engaging influencers among the target group to ensure a successful advocacy initiative. Some of the communication tactics for mobilisation are working with the target group to identify their problems and making them find solutions to their identified problems. 

We also learnt that engaging with target audiences is very crucial because people share content from those that they know, like, and trust. The likelihood of your content being shared has more to do with your readers’ relationship to each other than their relationship to you. 

KP Consortium, Kenya: It was good to learn about the importance of conducting a media mapping to know who is on your side and who is on the other side. Each organisation should use their online platform to make sure that their messages reach a wider range of people. 

 

Content is 75% for readers and 25% about us

 

3. How will you utilise what you learnt during the training in your current or future work? 

Hope and Trust, UkraineWe will try to make our content useful and interesting for users by using this formula recommended during the training. We also aim to not repeat the myths in our communication, because that leads to their perpetuation. We plan on using storytelling to make our messages more emotional and memorable, and are currently finalising the crisis communications plan in the light of the recommendations we received. 

NSWA, Nigeria: We hope to use the skills we gained from this training to make a documentary on the violence that sex workers face, and use it as advocacy tool for further our goals.

(After this training, NSWA Nigeria made an amateur documentary feature titled "Voiceless" about the violence and challenges that sex workers face in Nigeria. You can watch the documentary here. Trigger warning: contains distressing images of victims of abuse).

KP Consortium, Kenya: The qualities of a good story-teller/messenger are such, that they are able to generate attention, trigger emotions, capture imagination and impersonate the values of the audience, which we aim to incorporate into our work. Through this training, we will apply our learning on how to use communication effectively into our campaigning while doing advocacy work, and in making our online campaigns effective to the target audience. 

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