Senior communication officials from the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Federal Member States (FMS) have completed a four-day capacity building training on strategic communication, designed to harmonize and strengthen public communication systems.
Supported by the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS), the training was opened by Somalia’s Deputy Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Abdirahman Yusuf Omar Al-Adala; Kenya’s Director General for Multilateral and International Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign and Diaspora Affairs, Ambassador George Orina, and the Chief of Strategic Communications, Kenya Defence Forces, Brigadier Zipporah Kioko.
In his address, the Deputy Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, Abdirahman Yusuf Omar Al-Adala, said Somalia was going through a crucial transformation on the security, economic and political fronts and understanding how best to communicate these ongoing developments was of national importance and significant to regional and global implications.
“We hope to work more closely with ATMIS on campaigns against extremists. In Somalia, both the government and ATMIS share a responsibility to creating peace, security, and stability and so we need to come together to unify our efforts to win the war against terrorism,” he added.
The Chief of Strategic Communication for the Kenya Defence Forces, Brigadier Zipporah Kioko, said: “I understand that this training forms part of ATMIS support to strengthen state institutions and public officials’ capacity within the broader transition process of transferring security responsibilities from ATMIS to the Somali Security Forces.
It is therefore a very significant period to harness the power of strategic communication in projecting and conveying a united bond across the Federal Government of Somalia to offer support, to provide assurance and confidence building on the state of stability, law, and order,” she added.
The Senior Communications Officer for ATMIS, Ms. Gifty Bingley, said the mission has been supporting on strategic communication and capacity building both in the FGS and FMS as well as other state institutions as part of skills transfer ahead of the anticipated exit of ATMIS from Somalia.
“ATMIS Public Information Team are currently running a lot of capacity building programmes in strategic communication across the sectors and we are keen to do more. This training with senior level officials from both the FGS and FMS Ministries of Information, Culture and Tourism is also a fantastic opportunity for us to also review what we have done so far and see the gaps and areas where we need to improve”, said the ATMIS Senior Communications Officer.
The Jubaland State Director General in the Ministry of Information and Public Awareness, Ms. Miski Yussuf Ali, who took part in the training, said creating a communication plan that amplifies the work and efforts of both the FGS and FMS was one key take-away from the training.
“We have learnt a lot from the workshop especially on effective communication skills and how to develop an impactful communications strategy. We also had important lessons on the role of the media in promoting peacebuilding and other positive developments in Somalia. The skills, experience and exchanges from this training will be helpful in managing and doing our work,” said Ms. Yussuf.
In dealing with any number of challenges, including terrorism, drought and climatic shocks, Mr. Abdirahman Mohamed Aden, Senior Advisor at the Federal Ministry of Information, Culture, and Tourism said that ministers and director generals of information needed to be equipped with enhanced strategic and crisis communication skills.
“The Communications Office of the national government seeks to streamline all communication procedures so that government officials are able to speak with a unified message on government policies and activities. This is why this training was important to us, and we will keep working with ATMIS to strengthen the skills of our information officers so that our messaging promotes trust in the great work that the government is doing across the country,” said Mr. Mohamed.