The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and Proof Communication Africa provided media and communication skills training to activists from civil society organisations in South Africa working on gender-based violence and violence prevention programmes. The training was intended to help these organisations to communicate more effectively in support of their objectives, particularly relating to crime and violence prevention, with an emphasis on gender-based violence and domestic abuse.
The training was initially scheduled for before the release of SA Police Services crime statistics, and to enable civil society to coordinate their response to the statistics. When SAPS moved the statistics release forward to 2 September, it was decided to proceed with the training and use the new skills for future opportunities.
With six of the eight scheduled sessions completed, a total of 37 people received training in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Two further sessions are scheduled. Researchers, editors, advocates, counsellors and activists from the following organisations participated in the training: Africa Check, Sonke Gender Justice, Ekupholeni and Shukumisa coalition including Lawyers for Human Rights, Women on Farms, Rape Crisis, SWEAT, Mosaic, GRIP, Teddy Bear Clinic, POWA, Thohoyandou Victims’ Empowerment Project and Voice Movement Therapy Eastern Cape. Gun Free South Africa and Legal Resources Centre will receive training in October.
The training aimed to provide a broad overview of the theory and practice of effective communication, taking account of participants’ different levels of experience. The particular needs of participants were established before the training sessions. The following was covered through a combination of theory with practical learning:
- Communication strategy and planning
- Developing appropriate messages for different audiences
- Communicating for maximum impact
- Presentation skills development
- Media skills development
All participants completed an evaluation form. The feedback was very positive and there is agreement that the training will help people and their organisations to better meet their objectives.