A four-day conference for military public information officers concluded at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti last Friday where participants agreed on timely dissemination of information to the media.
The conference also recognized the need to engage positively with the general public for better understanding of the Mission.
U.S Army Capt., Morgan Shepard said communicating positively, honestly and quickly with the public is important, as it allows messages to be the prominent narratives among partner nations.
“Sharing best practices can adversely affect violent extremist organisations,” said Capt. Shepard, the conference planner.
The conference whose motto was; ‘Leveraging information to sustain operational success’ was held from November 3 to 6, and was hosted by Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).
It was attended by more than 30 participants, mainly PIOs from AMISOM troop contributing countries, professionals from various UN member states and senior government officials from the Federal Government of Somalia.
The Somali delegation was led by Information Minister, Hayir Mol, who gave a keynote address on ‘Communicating with local audiences’.
AMISOM Force Spokesperson, Lt Col Paul Njuguna, made a presentation on ‘PIOs Role in the new AMISOM Concept of Operations’. PIOs from Tanzania People’s Defence Force and Rwanda Defence Force also attended.
“What we have discussed under the conference motto will improve our ability to use information to assist our Commanders achieve AMISOM objectives. It will also improve our capability to share information, ensuring that the Somali people better understand what we do for them. This way we will fight misinformation from Al-Shabaab terrorists”, said Lt Col Njuguna.
“We learned the proper way to conduct a press conference from preparation to the end. It is very beneficial to improve our skills which we can apply back home,” said the Tanzania Peoples Defence Force Information Officer, Maj. Joseph Masanja.
CJTF-HOA and its partner nations share the common goal of bringing peace and stability in East Africa; they also work on exploring opportunities for collaboration across sectors, regions and organisations.