Training Civil Society Organisations to Engage Effectively With the Media
The Soul City: IHDC has conducted a number of training courses with non governmental organisations to build civil society capacity to advocate effectively around issues of health and development.
- Advocacy training for National Children’s Rights Committee (NCRC) and the National Programme of Action (NPA)
A 6 day training course on advocacy for the NCRC was conducted in two modules during 2000. A total of 20 members from both NCRC national and provincial offices as well as Provincial Programme of Action (PPA) coordinators from the NPA were trained. The objective was to build capacity within the NCRC and PPAs to conduct advocacy, with a specific focus on developing skills in using the news media. The course was developed and facilitated by Soul City: IHDC and covered a range of issues including an introduction to the practice of advocacy and its various tools; campaign planning and the development of media advocacy skills. The course was tailored to meet the specific advocacy needs of the NCRC and PPAs.
- Advocacy training for the National Network on Violence Against Women
A 6 day training course was conducted with the National Network on Violence Against Women (NNVAW) in 1998 with a specific focus on developing skills in dealing with the media. The course was developed and facilitated by Soul City: IHDC, the Development Resource Centre and the South African NGO Coalition (SANGOCO). The training covered a range of issues including an introduction to the practice of advocacy and its various tools; campaign planning and the development of media advocacy skills. The course was tailored to meet the specific advocacy needs of the NNVAW and was designed as a component of the Soul City Series 4 campaign to address violence against women.
Working With Journalists
Recognising the important role of the media in shaping the national agenda as well as influencing what society thinks about particular issues, the Soul City IHDC has worked on a number of projects to engage journalist around key public health and development issues. The organisation runs workshops with journalists to convey information on these issues as well as to sensitise the media to the way in which coverage can help or hinder health and development concerns. Workshops have been held on “Children’s Rights” as well as a series of provincial workshops on “HIV and AIDS” conducted in partnership with the South African National Editors’ Forum and the Health-E News Agency.
A series of resource booklets for journalists have been developed to provide media practitioners with easily accessible information as well as resources and reliable information sources on topics such as “Violence Against Women”; “HIV and AIDS” and “Children’s Rights”.
Ongoing engagement with the news media
Soul City IHDC conducts ongoing monitoring of the media around all issues related to the Soul City and Soul Buddyz series. The project also monitors media around Soul City’s advocacy campaigns and public health related issues in general. The project writes letters and feature articles for newspapers and magazines, generates coverage of advocacy issues on talk shows and current affairs programmes as well and conducts interviews with the media around key advocacy issues.
Each of the abovementioned campaigns include an extensive media advocacy component which involves using the news media to put the advocacy issue on the national public agenda.
Advocacy Booklets on the Science of HIV and AIDS
Much confusion exists in South Africa around the science of HIV and AIDS with some people questioning the link between HIV and AIDS and the efficacy and safety of anti-retroviral medication and treatment programmes. This confusion is influencing policy developments within South Africa. To address this concern and to contribute to informed public policy decision making, the Soul City IHDC, together with the University of Natal and the Health Systems Trust published an information booklet on the science of HIV and AIDS entitled: “AIDS: Know the Facts”. An abbreviated version of the booklet was produced and inserted into two major South African newspapers to reach as wide a readership as possible.