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Report | Regional Workshop: Communication Fusion for CSOs

November 9-10, 2016 | Tirana, Albania


The final, major communication event organised in 2016 was the Regional Workshop Communication Fusion for CSOs with the focus to enhance the participants’ understanding about media relations, community relations, storytelling and digital media.

The aim of the conference was to bring together CSO representatives in order to share good practices but to also expose them to short workshops on the above mentioned topics, which were a summation of the past regional events. The participants, over 45 in total, were CSO representatives who are dealing with communication issues in their CSO or are in a position to make changes in the communication approach of their CSO.

The Workshop itself represented a mix of plenary sessions and workshops. The plenary sessions were organised in such a way so as to enhance the exchange of experiences and knowledge between the CSOs, by giving space to the speaker and CSO representatives to present their topic. After each plenary session, the speakers held workshops in their topic area. Because of the set-up, the participants were able to participate in all the workshops.

Presentations and Speakers

The topic that opened Communication Fusion and CSOs was  “Media and CSO Relations”, presented by Dzenana Aladjuz, Director of Infohouse, Bosnia and Herzegovina. In her presentation Ms. Aladjuz focused on the delicate relationship that can develop between the media and CSOs, and how to get and keep the attention of the media. She also talked about the issues and reasons why miscommunication happens between the CSOs and media. The reasons for miscommunication were identified as: a lack of knowledge and understanding about each other and usual prejudices; the weak capacities of the media and CSOs; and internal functioning: CSOs do now have knowledge or capacities to deal with the media in a proper way/the media do not always approach CSOs in the most professional manner.  Download the presentation

The Almanac on “Community Relations Building and CSOs” was presented by Radoš Mušović, Programme Coordinator for Capacity Building, Center for the Development of Non-Governmental Organisations (CRNVO), Montenegro. The emphasis of his presentation was on the ways CSOs, through communication, can develop their community relations. The core principles of community relations building are: transparency, participation and communication. Mr. Mušović pointed out common mistakes CSOs make in community relations building: not identifying the communities correctly or at all; not adjusting communication channels, methods and tools to the audiences; and communication becoming a promotion of the organisation. Download the presentation

Leila Bičakčić, Executive Director, Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIN), Bosnia and Herzegovina presented a specific insight into the media and CSOs relations, use of communication channels and formulation of messages from her unique journalism perspective. She focused on the ways how to overcome the silent treatment by the media and how to make the issues newsworthy through: clear messages, learning what the news is; having a direct approach; developing relationship with journalists, telling human stories and producing their own content. Ms. Bičakčić’s advice to the participants was to: use social media more aggressively; to define their message(s); send a full story to the media; minimize the use of the press release; not set targets on media mentions; and finally always use an opportunity. Download the presentation

Antoaneta Ivanova, Co-founder/President, Mladiinfo International, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia presented the topic of “Communication Channels and New Media”. During the presentation, participants were exposed to a plethora of new media with the objective to present new, interesting ways of using these free communication channels in order to get their messages to their desired audiences. The emphasis was put on why it is important to use social media and social networks: internet communication opens channels to various networks (board members, supporters, donors, other organisations, etc.); the conversation is happening with or without out participation; and people make opinions, decisions, create trust and beliefs based on the content available online. CSOs should be using social media to create awareness, generate interest, encourage sharing, and enlist support and participation. Download the presentation

Communication strategist, Serdar Paktin of PAKT insight + imagination (Turkey) presented the “Storytelling” topic. Storytelling is a skill that will shape the message in a unique way and will assist in gaining the attention of the media, community, and other stakeholders. Mr. Paktin explained the story essentials and structure. However, the audience must be kept in perspective, as different audiences expect different stories about the same information. During the presentation, the requirements for successful storytelling were explained: Understandable (be simple); Guiding (create a route); Timely (live the moment); Contextual (be at the right place); Inspirational (be clever); Encouraging (be positive); and Mobilizing (create action). Storytelling for the audience should be relevant, interesting and it needs to deliver the message. Download the presentation

 Download: Full Report of the Workshop | Agenda | List of Participants


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