Work group session: simulating a press conference. Picture (c) K. Tounkara (oie) 2016.
The first training session in English for national OIE focal points for communication in Africa convened in Mombasa (Kenya) from 27 to 29 September 2016 was followed by a regional seminar for French-speaking countries on the same matter. This event took place from 11 to 13 October 2016 in Bamako (Mali).
Work group session with Dr. Catherine Bertrand-Ferrandis (Head of the OIE Communication Unit).
A total of 22 participants from French-speaking African countries, mostly OIE National Focal Points for communication, responsible for communication within the department in charge of animal health in their country, attended the meeting. The countries represented at the training seminar were Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Morocco, Niger, Senegal, and Togo and the host country Mali. Representatives of Mauritania, Rwanda and Tunisia could not attend the seminar.
This training seminar, was organised by the OIE in collaboration with the Government of Mali, and the financial support of the European Union (EU) and Italy.
A team of communication experts coming from both public and private sectors, led by the OIE Headquarters representative, Dr. Catherine Bertrand-Ferrandis, facilitated this training. The WHO, in the context of the OIE-WHO communication departments collaboration, kindly provided public health emergency communication experts to support Dr. Catherine Bertrand-Ferrandis, Head of the OIE Communication Unit, in the facilitation of the seminar, namely Ms Akunda Pallangyo (Risk Communication Officer, WHO HQ) et M. Rodrigue Barry (WHO IST West Africa ). Ms. Valerie Vouligny, Head of a communication agency, Life Animal Health, representing the private sector was invited to complete the range of skills of facilitators.
The OIE Programme Officer, Dr Jocelyn Mérot (Communication Correspondent in the OIE Sub-Regional Representation for North Africa), actively participated in the training as facilitator during the working groups in the context of the development of the network of regional communication correspondents.
The opening ceremony was chaired by Dr Ouayara Koné, technical adviser representating the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries of Mali, in the presence of Dr Catherine Bertrand-Ferrandis, Dr Traoré Halimatou Koné, OIE Delegate of Mali and Dr. Karim Tounkara OIE Regional Representative for Africa.
Overall the training covered three main themes namely “Standards, communication approaches and risk communication”, “Organize your communication plan to raise awareness”, and “Crisis management and dealing with the press”.
The general objective of the seminar was to provide the national focal points in charge of veterinary communication with all the necessary information to enable them support their national OIE Delegates in the field of communication, in line with their Terms of Reference as well as Chapter 3.3 of the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code. The agenda of the seminar was therefore specifically developed to train these focal points on the management of national communication systems and of operational communication campaigns, in line with OIE standards.
In order to engage the participants and to strengthen the learning process, the seminar was conducted according to the guidance provided in the OIE Communication Handbook for Veterinary Services developed in 2015 by the OIE communication unit in collaboration with WHO. The sessions were interactive, both through the numerous exercises to be completed by the participants organised in several working groups, and by the use of the modern communication tools (pre-course training session on-line, exercises based on role game, internet-based research, photo bank, etc.).
The entire seminar was held in a very good atmosphere with a dynamic involvement and voluntary participation of all participants leading to the launch of a real network in communication in Africa.
All pictures © J. Mérot (OIE) 2016, except where mentioned otherwise
Group photograph. Picture © C. Nersy (oie) 2016.
All pictures © J. Mérot (oie) 2016, unless mentioned otherwise.