The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat Communication & Public Relations Unit is the lead promoter of SADC corporate communications, including public and media relations, public affairs, protocol and special events management. Therefore, it is the custodian of communications, branding and promotional strategies within SADC. It is responsible for the promotion of SADC, and so the Communication & Public Relations Unit strives to establish and maintain lines of communication, mutual understanding, acceptance and co-operation between SADC and its internal, and external, publics and stakeholders.
The Communication & Public Relations Unit reports directly to the Executive Secretary.
The Communication & Public Relations Unit develops, plans and executes strategies aimed at generating, packaging and disseminating information with the view to creating an understanding of, and gather support for SADC Aims, Objectives, policies, strategies and activities.
It also liaises and facilitates the work of the SADC National Media Coordinators (SNMCs) who are responsible for SADC public information in their respective Member State.
The overall objective of the Communication & Public Relations Unit is to ensure strategic guidance in the implementation of the SADC Communications and Promotional Strategy, which is the blue-print for the management of SADC public relationships with its stakeholders.
In order to address SADC stakeholder issues, the programmes and strategies of the Communication & Public Relations Unit are designed and implemented in-line with the following SADC policy documents:
- The SADC Declaration and Treaty;
- The Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP);
- Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ (SIPO);
- The Protocol on Culture, Information and Sports;
- The SADC Declaration on the Role of Information and Communications in Regional Development and Integration; and
- The SADC Information and Communication Policy.
The SADC Communication & Public Relations Unit is responsible for the following functions:
- Customer Care & Public Relations (internal and external);
- Public Affairs and media relations;
- Corporate Social Activities;
- Protocol services and management of special events including the annual ordinary meetings of the Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government;
- Corporate image brand projection & protection;
- Marketing of SADC Programmes & Activities (internally and externally);
- Information & communications policies, strategies & frameworks development;
- Publicity and publications (print and electronic, internally and externally);
- Library and documentation;
- Management counselling on communications, protocol and special events management; and
- Information dissemination to support the work of the various offices, Directorates and Units of the SADC Secretariat, as well as Member States.
The SADC Communication & Public Relations Unit priority activities are specified by the SADC Communications and Promotional Strategy, which is a broad strategy document, addressing intra and inter-SADC communications affairs in the following areas:
- Strengthening Media and Public Relations programmes of SADC in order to improve its image, and to reach and impact on its citizens;
- Improving the communications culture within SADC in order to maximise the strategic role of communications in executing SADC programmes;
- Planning and establishing communication mechanisms to mobilise support for SADC programmes;
- Strengthening inter and intra-SADC communication systems in order to improve information flow within the organisation;
- Engaging in professional frontline public relations and supporting general customer satisfaction;
- Developing publicity material (print & electronic), including up-to-date website content;
- Executing successful and faultless protocol and special events management;
- Establishing a SADC crisis communication strategy; and
- Acquiring and availing relevant information material for the Library; the library database is accessible to the SADC Member States through the SADC website.