Redesigned website expands ‘in-reach’ to PASGR

Communications and Outreach

Comms AR

The year 2016 saw communications entrenched as a major pillar of PASGR, cutting across all programmes. The launch of the redesigned organisational website and the Master of Research and Public Policy site was a milestone in the Communications and Outreach Unit work.

The website carries studies and reports from PASGR supported research projects. This way, it helps build awareness among African policy communities about PASGR to generate interest in and demand for research. The website is also where applications for Professional Development and Training (PDT) courses and other calls are received and ranked, using a customised web-based project selection tool.

The MRPP website hosts the Moodle-based e-learning platform that is used by both the Higher Education and PDT programmes.

The redesigned websites are “more interactive and dynamic, fresher and more responsive, in keeping with global best practice. The online and digital space has proved to be rich ground for communications and outreach innovations that support the formation and growth of virtual communities of knowledge and practice.

The unit, which grew tremendously in 2016, has added value to PASGR’s key programmes, with feedback showing knowledge products and calls for applications moving further and faster.

As a result of greater social and other online media visibility, PASGR’s Facebook page attracted 18,000 followers by mid-year, up from 259 likes in January. This followed a series of social media campaigns around programme activities and knowledge products. Twitter and Google+growth was less robust.The platforms are used to share ‘industry-related’ news in addition to PASGR research and programme outputs.

PASGR social media is a one-stop shop for the African academic or researcher seeking collaboration, training and funding opportunities, or new research.

Since the unit adopted digital platforms, ‘in-reach’ to PASGR has increased with applications for PDT courses coming from India and Pakistan—countries outside the institution’s mandate. Within Africa, PASGR has received applicants from countries like South Sudan for the first time.

The unit also developed and published two brochures for PDT and Research programmes, as well as the annual report and a booklet on PASGR’s work around data and development.

LinkedIn and Flickr profiles were launched, besides developing and uploading 46 YouTube videos. PASGR’s Strategic Plan 2014-2018 envisions a communications unit that is embedded in all programmes. The unit collaborates with each programme to package and provide multi-channel targeted communications and marketing strategies both online and offline.

In 2016, the unit inched closer to helping researchers engage its users at all stages of research and enhance its utilisation in the policy process as envisaged at PASGR’s inception.

Apart from engaging communications consultants, the unit started an internship programme that attracted two students from local universities.

This post is from the 2016 PASGR annual report. Download a PDF copy to read other stories about our work.