From 20 to 22/8/2019, CDI in colloboration with Oxfam in Viet Nam held a training workshop “Visual communication in policy advocacy”. This is a capacity building for project officers and communication officers of Mnet, BTAP, and thematic coalition of NGOs in clean water, forest land, mining…
A rough assessment on overall communication of the coalitions showed that there are still loopholes in communication work to be filled in such as (1) Lack of an effective coordination between communication officers and projects officers in building a “material pool” for communication work (2) the power of coalition is not realized in communication (3) Visualization has not been applied enough in communication products in order to increase interactions with target audience and attract mass audience.
Based on the assessment, the workshop aims to emphasize on needed knowledge to adjust participants’ minds in communication by how to deal with those mentioned issues, especially in three main points (1) A focus on building a common strategy in communication in a coalition, (2) Introduce a method of human study as a prerequisite to work with the community and collect materials for “material pool” and how to coordinate in filling in the pool, (3) Produce some popular communication products for website and Facebook.
In the initial part, participants did an rough assessment on coalitions’ communication channels (website, Facebook), products and their quality. Desk study shows that with recent efforts, impact of communication is not as expected due to a number of reasons. Firstly, member organization each has its own vision, mission and goals and their communication work focus mostly on organizational picture. In coalition frame, it has not come up with a common strategy to communicate on. Communication work is divided among member organization and sometimes covered by project officers who is not grounded in communication. And lack of material for communication is another cause.
In terms of channels, website is evaluated as doing better than Facebook in Coalitions’ communication because website offers its targeted audiences an overview of coalition activities unless interreaction with its audiences is a focus. Facebook communication, on the contrast, is not revealing coalitions’ overall picture but activity-based. Sometimes, contents on Facebook channel are confusing with a coverage on “negative” issues. Facebook channels are not responsive to its audiences and considered not friendly to their audiences due to a lack of creativity in communication products and call to action… In addition, interraction among member organizations on social media is weak: They do not often like, share or interract with each other on social media and communication is considered job of communication officer.
At the workshop, participants are involved in interactive games in order to understand more about human study, human decoding – one way of making out community psychology and how to work effectively with the community. Through the games, project staffs got to know some more methods of collecting information from the community to enrich their “material pool” for communication; how to come up with easy-to-understand and friendly messages. Participants will also be coached on how to distinguish between research recommendations and communication messages. Tips on how to transform policy recommendations into more accessible and softer communication messages are also mentioned. “Visualization communication” is considered an advantage for social media as it comes directly to the eyes of audience and keeps them to stay. Communication products of CSOs therefore are urged to apply hi tech to add “visualization” to the channel and increase interaction with the audience. In addition, by this way, communication products is more entertaining than before. To keep audience stick to social media, the 8-second rule is recommended to be further studied and applied in communication products as well.
Beside theoretical knowledge, in empirical part, participants are divided into three groups to develop products such as design products, long form and working with Facebook page. In details, participants are provided with practical tips in working with each type of communication products such as poster, inforgraphics, story telling and content writing for social media. By the end of the workshop, participants have created some basic communication pieces and got to know some know-hows and online sources in communication.
Before this workshop, Good Governance has held a training workshop in Communication on Social media for advocacy for such participants.