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Steps on how the County Governments can bridge the public communication gap

UREPORT
By joshua ngala | June 8th 2016

Public communication is important to an institution to have a voice in the society. The 47 County Governments have no exception. A County Government needs an improved direct communication and partnership with the communities. They need to encourage meaningful participation in the governance by all citizens. This initiative requires transparency, coordinated, timely and accurate information provided to citizenry.

What seems to be lacking in most counties is the ability to authentically express their achievements to the citizens in a clear and succinct manner. Since devolution is a new concept, county communications expert need to leverage on this to bridge the information gap.

1. Plan good customer service; because your clients are people who need services. People face hurdles to reach county council on spilled garbage on the road. They are the reason you have a job. Communicate effectively with them. Please shed off the “old Kanjo image” and break off the information bureaucracy.  Give fair and equal treatment to all. Be understanding of people with special needs.

2. Build a sustainable communications framework.  This includes centralization of communications coordination to one unit. Develop County Communications Policies. Policy document establishes general rules and principles in communication. Clarity on policy and procedure around the use of social media and other emerging technologies is very crucial. Also, separate Communication and Social Media Policies. Train county staff on production of consistent, quality communications to the public. Training enhances skills required to initiate and produce consistently professional and quality communications. Deploy a consistent image through use of the county logo and other branding techniques.

 3. Expand the County’s Reach. Adequately leverage on the traditional media channels to propel your agenda. Use new media technology too. Inform the public through social media sites as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  Develop strategies for social media and website. Continuous website review should not be ignored. Make your website interesting and juicy. Highly populated web page is a put down. Leverage on community programs, for live interviews, scheduled media updates, and project launch. Fully enhance transparency and access to information throughout the duration on any county project.

4. Develop proactive communication. Put in place effective administrative processes to prioritize projects, provide consistent messaging across departments, and track results. To confidently tell a county’s story, and to resolve controversial projects or issues, a more targeted approach is recommended. This is where inter ministries support and plan for targeted communication projects come in handy. It is only achievable with the developed framework, and use of most appropriate media channels.  Remember that communication considers greatest human needs: respect, appreciation, belonging, and value. All these followed, your county will have an informed citizenry that actively participates in governance affairs of the society.

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