SADC Public Relations Unit held its first ever retreat from April 15 to 19, 2013 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Initially, the objectives of the retreat were to:
• Reflect and review the performance of the PRU 2012/13 Annual Work Plan;
• Revisit PRU communications mechanisms;
• Unpack the SADC Communications & Promotional Strategy in order to develop its 5-year implementation framework – 2013 to 2017 on those items needing no Council Decision;
• Develop the 2013/2014 PRU Annual Business Plan;
• Develop roadmaps/plans for mainstreaming communication into the work plans of all functional departments of the SADC Secretariat; and
• Conduct a team building exercise to strengthen team spirit.
It was agreed that given the short time (three days) of the retreat, the priority would be given to unpacking the SADC Communications & Promotional Strategy to identify aspects thereof that can be implemented in the short term, mid-term and long term but the development of five-year implementation framework should be at a meeting to be held in the near future. The retreat also agreed on the urgency to develop a SADC Communications Policy, an Issues Management & Crisis Communications Strategies.The Strategy was unpacked and an annual work plan containing only the implementation of activities that don't have financial implications was identified to be implemented in short term.
Welcoming the participants, SADC Head of Public Relations Unit, Ms Leefa Penehupifo Martin expressed gratitude to GIZ who financed the retreat within the context of long-standing cooperation in communications with the SADC PRU. She also thanked the South African Government Communications and Information System (GCIS) and the Department of International Cooperation which is the SADC National Contact Point in that country for allowing officers to attend and enrich the retreat.
GIZ Facilitator, Mr Robson Chakwana presented and led the discussion on Key Concepts of Strategic Planning Development and the Development of five year Operational Plans 2013/2017, objectives, Outcomes, KPIs, Outputs, Key Assumptions and Risks for the planning period.
The co-facilitator, Director: National Liaison, Mr Legadima Leso, who was graciously availed by the GCIS at no cost to the Secretariat made a presentation on identifying SCPS parts that are implementable before the completion of the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) Mid-term review and without additional financial, human resources & equipment. He also led the development of the SADC implementation plan, which, along with the workshop will be discussed in the near future at the Secretariat as a way of mainstreaming communications into all SADC operations. Each PRU staff member presented on states of their respective mandates as outlined in their job description as well a sthe challenges experienced in the implementation and a proposed way forward.
The team also benefited from the presence of the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of GCIS, Ms Nebo Legoabe and Ms Ms Mmemme Mogotsi Deputy Director for International Liaison at GCIS. This included a guided tour of GCIS headquarters, with presentations on its operations through a corporate video presentation, demonstration of video streaming, radio broadcasting, publishing, marketing and advertising as well as media monitoring. The latter has state of the art equipment and software and a sufficient staff compliment enabling it to monitor the media 24/7 on shifts and present reports to the presidency or relevant department on anything in the media about government first thing every morning or as breaking news.