Powerful experience: this is how I would describe the 7 media and crisis communication training workshop completed in one year (April 2015-April 2016) under the PPRD SOUTH II programme in which I’m the communication and advocacy officer.  Prevention, Preparadness and Response to natural and man-made Disasters (PPRD) programme aims at preparing mediterranean countries to face and answer crisis and disasters situations. Media and crisis communication workshops offered a tool box to help participants building their communication unit and implement the appropriate communication plan in crisis times.

Working with 2 other professional experts having different background, we succeeded in being complementary, committed, and professional without loosing our sense of humour, whatever were the circumstances. Working seriously without taken ourselves seriously was our motto.

In one year we trained some 120 participants from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Palestine. They were officers at the civil defence/civil protection and officials from various ministries and national crisis unit. Our 4 days training format combined theory of the communication, bases of the crisis communication and fundamentals of social media. We used country tailor-made crisis simulation (natural and man-made disasters combined with terrorism threats) to go on practical and concrete exercises:

  • Create/organise a crisis communication unit
  • Prepare un media plan
  • Write a press release
  • Lead a press conference
  • Write for social-media

Organizing and leading a training is a balance between experience and adventure: experience is the luggage you bring with you and the adventure is the box full of tools you leave open for replacement and changes. In each session your experience grows and your adventure is calling again, because in the Middle-East, you’ll never be sure  what to expect  at first. And most of the time you’ll be surprised.

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From left to right: Laurent Vibert (Nitidis), Véronique Ruggirello (Kalimat Communication), Patrick Chemali (SharpLemon)

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