On June 21-23, 2016, a training seminar for representatives of CSOs from the regions of Armenia took place in Yerevan. This time, the training seminar topic was “Visibility, communication and PR skills”, and it was chosen for a reason. According to the mapping study conducted by the “Civil Society. Dialogue for Progress” project to analyse civil society landscape in Armenia, PR and communication skills are one of the most requested topics for institutional development of CSOs.
There is no doubt that CSOs collaboration with media is critical to raising awareness of their efforts and to gain public support for advocacy and other initiatives. Improved visibility of CSOs and raising awareness on CSOs activities can help improve the general level of trust towards the civil society sector, and engage other stakeholders more effectively.
Interactions with mass media play a key role in the PR activities of CSOs, while at the same time media representatives in Armenia are often not very interested in civil society work, and tend to cover CSOs activities and events in case of scandalous topic or celebrity attendance. On the other hand, quite often Armenian CSOs do not develop strategic approach in working with mass media, and only a few of them regard mass media not only as a tool for raising awareness but as a strategic partner in service provision and advocacy efforts.
Collaboration between CSOs and state authorities in Armenia is also quite weak, which is conditioned by low trust toward CSOs and lack of communication between sectors. Public perception is another factor that significantly influences Armenian civil society. CSOs themselves do little to publicize their work, and few of them develop a communication strategy. Most CSOs do not have capacities and skills to engage in public relations activities.
Therefore, the objective of this training was to strengthen technical skills of selected Armenian CSOs in the areas of visibility, communication and PR.
After the three days of the training CSOs representatives acquired knowledge and capacities on how to increase the visibility of activities of their organizations, including effective ways of communications and tools, designing organization’s profile, PR strategy, work with mass media, state authorities, as well as with donor organizations, etc. At the end of the training the participants received certificates issued by the “Civil Society. Dialogue for Progress” project.
This was the last, third, of the three trainings of the capacity development training program for CSOs from the regions of Armenia. The second training was on project management skills and the first training – on project design and fundraising.
All three trainings were implemented by NGO “European Integration” within the EU-funded project “Civil Society. Dialogue for Progress”.