- Communication expert, David Moto says Arid and Semi-Arid counties have other sides of their stories besides drought and hunder such as resilience, innovation and development which are rarely told.
- He called for coordinated communication so that all government departments and agencies work collaboratively to provide clear and effective interaction with citizens.
Communication from the government to the citizenry and vice versa is very important as it keeps both teams informed and on tabs with their relevant areas of interest, a senior communication strategist has said.
David Moto, a Public Communication Officer from Taita Taveta County said it is through efficient and effective communication that the devolved units and residents could contribute to areas that relate to them and be well-informed of developments and plans.
He said different areas such as education, water and hygiene, agriculture, finance, and tourism among others depend on good, objective and impactful communication to thrive.
Talking ahead of a meeting among communication officers from nine ASAL counties, Moto said deeper and intensified communication has been increasing with the county governments putting in structures to disseminate information.
The forthcoming meeting whose theme is “Strengthening County Governments’ Resilience Capacities through Knowledge Management and Strategic Communication Practices” brings together communication and knowledge management experts and their Information Technology counterparts.
“The dynamics of different counties require specified approaches and messaging to primarily reach out to their residents mostly for knowledge and influence, and national and international audiences for action,” he said.
He observed that the counties in Kenya’s Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) remain most hit by many disasters such as disease outbreaks and climate change and its effects such as drought and flash floods among others.
“However, these counties have other sides of their stories such as resilience, innovation and development which are rarely told,” he added.
Moto observed that there are stories of resilience among the people who often live under hardship conditions yet have had a way of coping, hoping and a strong positive attitude.
He said his interactions with some of the communication officers from ASAL counties painted a picture of a region whose stories should be told objectively to show both sides of the coin and captivate the need for investors, visitors, well-wishers, partners among other stakeholders to pay key interest in these regions.
He said that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Resilience Learning Activity (RLA) program, has been building capacity among communication officers from select counties for the past three years.
“Out of the support from USAID-RLA, Turkana County Government has a fully-fledged Communications strategy that guides the county’s communication process, while Isiolo County has its Disaster Risk Communication strategy through the RLA support,” he said.
Moto said others like Taita Taveta County were finalising their communication strategy which was set to be forwarded to the cabinet and hopefully launched soon.
“Other counties within the same program include Kitui, Makueni, Marsabit, Garissa, Samburu and Wajir,” he said.
He maintained that a communication strategy was very important as it brings a structured way of communication and enhances efficient knowledge management and information sharing within the county and beyond.
“Having been in the county communications unit since 2019, I have a wealth of experience and knowledge through the collaboration with both RLA as well as hands-on work,” said Moto.
He said it was vital to have effective management of county government communications by interacting and providing the public with socio-economic and developmental information to enable them to make sound judgments about their lives/livelihoods.
He said the government must listen to citizens, answer their queries and give feedback about progress to encourage positive change within communities.
“It is also key to ensure that communication in all spheres of government is well-integrated, coherent, coordinated and consistent,” he said.
He insisted that the communication and messages should be reliable, ethical and open to encourage public participation, be transformative, professional, credible, effectively managed, impactful and meet the needs of all citizens.
Moto further called for coordinated communication so that all government departments and agencies work collaboratively to provide clear and effective interaction with citizens.
“There is also needed to create an effective feedback mechanism between government and its people,” he noted.
He said among key areas in which the USAID RLA program has been training communication officers to include crisis communication, the use of data and analytics in making informed decisions of communication channels and traditional and digital media engagement.