With the growth of NGOs, advocacy groups and charities in South Africa, and the decline in funding to these extremely vital organisations in our society (Lotto has let many down), they are having to develop strategies to create awareness of their activities and to raise funds to survive. However, the volunteers who work for these groups are not qualified or skilled to carry out such communication and marketing activities. That is when educational institutions, as part of their community engagement or responsibility, must offer training services whereby interns from the university share their knowledge and skills to enable individuals and organisations in the local community to advance awareness and growth. At the same time the post graduate interns get hands-on training and research experience. They also develop a sense of the social needs of the local community…
The Centre for Adult Education at UKZN approached Claire Scott and Dee Viney, lecturers managing the Strategic Corporate Communication honours module offered by the Media Studies Department, to tackle the project of developing a corporate communication plan for CREATE(Community based Rehabilitation, Education and Training for Empowerment). It is an advocacy group, working to create awareness of the rights of the disabled, especially in disadvantaged communities – www.create-cbr.co.za.
The UKZN interns worked collaboratively and extremely hard and at the end of the course presented their plans, strategies, PR techniques and activities to CREATE staff. These included a revamp of the corporate identity, promotional activities to inform, create awareness and interest, and fund-raising events.
This ‘real-life’ case study produced a win-win outcome – CREATE took away a plan with some great ideas and got offers of help from interns, while the communicators-in-training gained valuable experience and developed their core academic and research skills practically.
It shows how cooperative sharing of knowledge and skills can build the NGO sector as well as give our graduates a sense of worth in an environment where so many of them are not finding work.