Communicators from 16 African NSOs better equipped to tell Scout stories
The 3rd Africa Scout Communications Forum was held from 7th to 10th March 2018 at the ZESA National Training Centre (https://zesantc.co.zw) located on Ganges Road in Belvedere, Harare - Zimbabwe. Convened under the theme "Communicating Our Impact, Strengthening Our Profile" the forum was organized by the World Scout Bureau Africa Support Centre and hosted by the Scout Association of Zimbabwe in the framework of the 2018 Africa Scout Day Celebrations.
The forum was attended by a total of 19 participants drawn from 16 National Scout Organizations, with 17 of them male and only 2 female. The profile of participants was a mix of CEOs, Communications Commissioners, International Commissioners, National Executive Commissioners, Communications Students, Scout leaders and Rover Scouts. The rich skill-sets among the participants included; web design, photography, videography, graphic design, journalism (content development, writing and editing), social media management, application software development, artistic drawing (cartoonist, sketches), motion graphics/animation, ICT and language support (translation & interpretation).
A team of four facilitators drawn from the Global, Africa and Arab Support Centres delivered the session of the forum and supported with simultaneous interpretation as well. This was a exemplification of the ONE World Scout Bureau collaboration among staff from different support centres, joining hands to deliver service to NSOs. The participants also contributed to the sessions through panel discussions, experience sharing, group discussions and presentations.
The objectives of the workshop are to:
" Disseminate the Global and Regional strategies for Communications and Strategic Engagements to inspire alignment in NSOs
" Introduce WOSM's Service Model for providing Communication services support to NSOs, including key developments and innovations in the area of communications
" Help NSOs to identify their communication needs and share best practices to inspire learning and development of appropriate response strategies
" Build capacity of key NSO communication professionals and volunteers to deliver better and effective communication with practical skills in storytelling, photography, videography, branding, campaign management and representing Scouting
" Promote networking and sharing through the development of Global Communications Network and talent pool
The forum was a response to the need by NSOs to build their capacity to better tell Scout stories. It provided an opportunity for learning, sharing of best practices and networking among NSO communicators.
The participants also had an opportunity to join Scouts from 8 other countries at Ruwa Scout Park for a cultural evening around a campfire - characterized by singing, dancing and lots of new friendships. As a result of the forum, the number of countries taking part in the All Africa Scout Day celebrations held at City Sports Stadium on 10th March 2018 stood at an all-time high of 26, having brought participants from at least 18 countries to Zimbabwe.
The opening ceremony was graced by the Regional Director for Africa, Frederic Tutu Kama-Kama and a team of staff from the World Scout Bureau Africa Support Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. On the last day, the Chairman and members of the Africa Scout Committee paid the participants a visit and reiterated the importance of communications for the growth of Scouting. In between, Ms. Martina Lippuner, the WWF Africa Regional Communications Manager for Madagascar and Central Africa and her Zimbabwean counterpart also joined the forum on 2 days and had an opportunity to share with participants the collaboration between WOSM and WWF around Earth Hour.
A key outcome was the establishment the Africa Scout Communications Network - a permanent platform for collaboration, and support for and among NSO communicators aimed at strengthening capacity of NSO communications professionals and volunteers in telling Scout stories as well as contributing to the support, development and delivery of communication services in NSOs and the Regional level.
From the forum, participants are expected to among other things establish communication teams in their NSOs, develop and implement communication policies and strategies, adopt best practices in implementing day-to-day communication activities, as well as disseminate and contribute to regional and global communication initiatives.