Today was the third and final day of the Sustained Humanitarian Presence Initiative workshop, sponsored by Irish AID and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. This workshop in Limerick, Ireland for NGO leaders was the first part of a larger project to develop a course to help NGO's operate more effectively in a crisis area. The second part is testing and deploying this project in South Sudan.
My instructional segment today centered around how NGO’s might most effectively utilize media in a crisis area. I began with a discussion of how professional media assessment and engagement skills cut across the many things an NGO does, like gaining acceptance in the community, negotiating with locals, and assessing the situation in the region where the NGO operates. As anticipated (see yesterday’s blog), the participants largely scrapped a primitive list of media skills that I had developed before the workshop, and created their own improved step by step approach to media relations. It was interesting and educational to see how they applied the theory I presented.As the project progresses, it will be interesting to see how this list of media relations skills is incorporated into the training module that the sponsors plan to test-drive in South Sudan in 2014.