The GMES and Africa Earth observation (EO) Communication Workshop, was held at the Africa Union Commission headquarters from 9 to 12 March 2020 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The workshop was attended by GMES and Africa consortia, representatives of the GMES and Africa Program Management Unit (PMU) and various representatives from AU and consultants from Space-Tec. The workshop was officially opened by Dr Tidiane Ouattara, GMES and Africa Program Coordinator. Dr Ouattara emphasized the importance of communication on EO as well as GMES and Africa’s activities across the continent. The workshop was facilitated by representatives of Space-Tec who are the consultants of Copernicus.

GMES and Africa EO Communication Workshop Group picture

The workshop was intended to bring together communication functionaries of GMES and Africa’s regional consortia, to help strengthen their communication output and impact. It took the form of a capacity building and best practice sharing that equipped participants with tools and techniques to more effectively communicate on earth observation as well as GMES and Africa’s activities within their regions. The SASSCAL-led WeMAST (Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Service for Transboundary Basins in Southern Africa) was represented at the workshop by Ms Sylvia Thompson and Ms Kalkidan H. Tesema.

During the communication workshop, the moderator made some presentations on the following topics:

  • Differences between communication and dissemination
  • The Copernicus communication challenges
  • Defining communication Key Performance Indicator (KPI) and reporting
  • Principle of branding and communication toolkit development
  • Tailoring your social media strategy and media relations

Following presentations on the above mentioned topics there were moderated discussions amongst participants on a number of pertinent points:

  • Why communicate GMES and Africa?
  • Their experience communicating GMES & Africa such as successes and challenges.
  • How to develop a communication strategy and action plan?
  • The need for internal communication channels and tools
  • Principle of branding and communication toolkit development application to the GMES & Africa context
  • Their experience in communicating activities related to GMES using digital communication tools

Impressions from the workshop

During the workshop discussions the facilitator highlighted the importance of using social media particularly, Twitter, to communicate the GMES & Africa support programmes activities. In line with this, the workshop also equipped the participants with tools and tricks from Copernicus best practices and challenges.

It is envisioned that the knowledge acquired from the GMES and Africa Communication Workshop will be instrumental for a successful implementation of SASSCAL’s communication strategy as well as engaging stakeholders through various media related platforms to promote SASSCAL’s activities, products and services.

 Experiences gained from the communication workshop are as follows:

  • How to implement and communicate effectively using social media platforms.
  • Opportunity to meet and network with other consortia from different regions of Africa to cross-fertilise and share best practises.
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