The first cohort of 60 state public relations officers (PROs) serving in the various ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) have started a five-day training to equip them with the professional structure for the practice of public relations.
The aim is to help the government in its communication efforts.
The training, being conducted in collaboration with the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), opened yesterday and is expected to end on Friday.
It will help the PROs gain hands-on experience in the public relations profession to boost the communication of government policies and programmes to properly inform Ghanaians on government activities.
Addressing the opening of the workshop at Tutu, near Aburi in the Eastern Region, on Monday, the Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said the training was part of the ministry’s vision of training PROs as a way of addressing the existing capacity gap among state PROs.
It was also an intervention to resource the various Public Relations units of MDAs to function properly, he said.
“The vision is to ensure that every government office has a functioning Public Relations Unit that is well resourced with the human being, logistics and knowledge capable of assisting that government office or that government institution to deliver on its communication obligations,” the minister said.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said there were about 600 government offices in the country, but not all of them had PROs, let alone functioning PR units.
“That is why it has been top of our agenda, as a ministry, to enhance the capacities of our PROs,” he stated.
He added that the training was important, as it would enhance the capacity of PROs to build a two-way communication channel between the people and their various institutions in order to collect useful feedback for effective governance.
For his part, the acting Chief Information Officer of the ISD, David Owusu-Amoah, urged the PROs to be passionate about their job and take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the resource persons.
He said the capacity-building exercise had been tailor-made to equip them with relevant skills to ensure effective government communications.
The participants are expected to go through topics such as overview of the public relations responsibility, functions of the government public relations office, stakeholder engagement, PR writing, media relations, monitoring and evaluation and establishing a corporate communications policy.
In a related development, a two-day training workshop has been organised for regional, metropolitan, municipal and district Information Service officers in the five regions of the north to sharpen their skills on data collection methodologies, reports Mohammed Fugu, from Tamale.
The workshop was to equip the officers with the skills necessary to obtain and analyse empirical data accurately in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Information Services Department (ISD) and government policies.
The participants were taken through topics such as the concept of data collection, modules of data collection, domestic taxation, how to write open-ended responses to questionnaire, among others.
The training was undertaken by the ISD, in collaboration with the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS).
It formed part of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two bodies to provide technical assistance for the officers to conduct credible and reliable research.
Improving data collection
At the opening of the training in Tamale last Friday, the acting Chief Information Officer of the ISD, said with the emergence of technology and new media, there was the need for the officers to equip themselves to add value to their work.
Mr Owusu-Amoah also stressed the importance of increasing the research prowess and capabilities of officers in order to add value to their task of raising public knowledge about government policies, providing public relations for the various local assemblies and accurately offering feedback to the government.
While acknowledging the challenges confronting the ISD, he indicated that it was undergoing a retooling to help make it more efficient and productive.
Mr Owusu-Amoah challenged the officers to work carefully to implement new technology and applications in order to fulfill the department's revolutionary goals.
For his part, a resource person and Director at the GSS, Anthony Amuzu-Pharin, said it had become vital to improve the prowess and skill of the officers in order for them to satisfy requirements and keep pace with technological innovation.
As part of the training, the ISD presented tablets to all regional information officers to help enhance their work.