My few years of working alongside young people have been an opportunity to learn tremendous lessons and gather a lot of experiences. You may be tempted to think you have it all figured out. However, there is always room for learning.
One of the unique experiences I’ve been part of in the past five years gave birth to Jos Green Centre, a youth-driven movement in Nigeria. This movement has taught me a seven-stage process of seeding a culture of movements for change among young people becoming deliberately involved in shaping their communities.
However, given the evolving nature of the movement, last year I began to realise that there is always something new to learn and gaps to be bridged. I recognised the need for some communication skills to enhance continuous message-crafting to strengthen the cause and drive my audience to a specific goal. I did not realise this need on my own. Rather, I discovered it while participating in the strategic communication e-workshop course designed by Tearfund. The workshop has opened up a bigger spectrum of learning for me.
I have noted that when the imagination of youth is re-fired, there is the assumption that they will automatically be inspired and motivated to take action. Unfortunately, that might not always be the case. The absence of strategic communication might halt the process. Hence, the need for proper communication to keep them on course.
I can boldly say that the strategic communication e-course, though really basic and simple to understand, has systematically defined some things I have been doing without knowing it. It has also built my capacity to successfully understand major components of intentional communication. These include:
- understanding your audience, their behaviours, interests, and motivation
- identifying the appropriate channel of communication
- designing appropriate content using simple tools and templates.
‘Communication skills will significantly enhance your ability to convince and motivate others to change their beliefs, intentions, and attitudes or to take action.’
I took the e-workshop as part of an international group of young theologians. Tearfund’s E-Learning Manager, Emma Raspin, adds: ‘We were very intentional about bringing the group together to learn from one another through the e-workshop model. In spite of being based across seven different countries and multiple time zones, the learners were able to share insights, solve tasks and give one another feedback through fluid online conversations.’
Making a difference
I believe that whether as a theologian or an activist, you will be required at some point to convince and motivate others to change their beliefs, intentions, and attitudes or to take action. Communication skills will significantly enhance your ability to do this. I have successfully designed a campaign brief, which will hopefully help my work around plastics. So I recommend the strategic communication e-workshop to anyone who desires to make a change with strategic intent in whatever field they are engaged in.
If you are interested in finding out more about the Strategic Communications e-Workshop, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org