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Communications conference focuses on telling a story

Communications conference focuses on telling a story

Communications conference focuses on telling a story

14 June 2018

Conference delegates from across Africa spent time at The Salvation Army's Howard Hospital north of Harare to identify stories and create content for different communication media.

IHQ Communications

Storytelling was at the heart of a recent landmark training conference attended by 17 Salvation Army personnel responsible for communication of the movement’s mission across Africa. 

The inaugural Africa Communications Network meeting was hosted in Harare by The Salvation Army’s Zimbabwe and Botswana Territory and facilitated by staff from the International Headquarters Communications team.

Delegates visit the Howard Hospital as part of the conference.

The specially designed week-long program was intended to encourage, equip, inspire and acknowledge the good work already being done to share – through different media – how lives of individuals and communities are being transformed through the diverse work of The Salvation Army. 

Case studies of effective Salvation Army communications from Africa, such as the award-winning South African domestic violence awareness campaign featuring “The Dress”, were a centrepiece of the program.

A recorded message from General André Cox at the beginning of the conference brought the reminder that “communication is at the heart of the gospel”, before the Army’s world leader encouraged delegates to be “creative and innovative in our approach in reaching and engaging new audiences”.

Getting involved

A range of lectures, seminars and practical workshops introduced participants to up-to-date approaches to fundraising, marketing, digital techniques and media liaison, based on the latest data, analysis and best practice.

Delegates came from all over Africa for the conference.

Delegates also appreciated a lively, interactive half-day workshop led by Shingai Nyoka, the experienced and knowledgeable BBC News correspondent based in Harare.

In order to put new skills into practice, participants had the opportunity to visit The Salvation Army’s Howard Hospital and High School, in a rural location north of the Zimbabwean capital.

Small groups each tried their hand at identifying stories, case studies and interviews, with the aim of creating content suitable for a social media campaign, video package or news release.

Telling a story

The importance of African culture in storytelling was underscored through daily devotionals and a memorable, energetic welcome from worshippers at the nearby Braeside Salvation Army Corps, who used dance, song, drumming and indigenous rattles to share their own testimony of faith in God.

Feedback from the conference delegates was highly positive, with many commenting on how it had inspired them to try new approaches and be bold in sharing stories tailored for different audience groups.

From “keeping the message short and simple” to “being the voice of the voiceless”, each participant took away numerous practical tips and a commitment to apply them.


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