The Communication Directorate advises the Commission on all information and communication matters, acts as the spokes organ of the Institution, handles Public Relations for the Community, coordinates communication strategies with other ECOWAS Institutions and plays the role of chief publisher, disseminator and archivist of all Texts and Acts. As an affirmation of its front row status, the Directorate is placed under the direct supervision of the President of the Commission.
The Directorate of Communication is responsible for planning, coordinating and supervising all activities relating to information dissemination, communication and documentation of the ECOWAS Commission. In the discharge of its statutory responsibilities as a visibility organ, it also functions as the aperture through which the rest of the world can see the Commission.
The Directorate was created initially by Decision C/Dec.1/5/90 of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers as the Department of Information in 1992. As part of the restructuring drive, it became the Department of Communication in 2005 before being renamed the Directorate of Communication under a substantive Director.
Activities and Accomplishments
Implementation of the Community Policy on Information
The Community policy on information unfolds programs to be implemented in Member States in order to educate citizens in the region and beyond on the activities and achievements of ECOWAS and to sensitise the public, journalists, media agencies, professional bodies, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) as well as Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on the objectives and benefits of integration.
A major activity of the Directorate revolves around information dissemination and publication. The issuance and distribution of Press Releases and specific media advisory are supplemented by the production of in-house magazines, bulletins and brochures which are regularly distributed to the media (Print, Electronic, News Agencies and on-line organs) in Member States. The publications are also circulated to diplomatic Missions, and international institutions and further distributed during important regional and international conferences to inform participants of the activities of ECOWAS. Some publications in this regard include:
- The ECOWAS Official Journal
- The West African Bulletin
- ECOWAS in Brief
- Thematic Publications (for other Directorates).
Library and Documentation
The Library Section of the Directorate is the hub of its documentation and publication activities. It has recreated itself as the digital repository for local content and past records some of which include official journals and Council Reports. The Section is working hard to preserve space, enhance easy retrieval and accessibility of information, and also make it easy to move information to any venue where the services of the Directorate may be needed thereby reducing the cost of transportation of large document boxes which hitherto had to be carried to meetings.
Programmes and Projects
Enlightenment about ECOWAS
This programme exists to maintain adequate publicity for ECOWAS regionally, continentally and globally. Pursuant to this, the Directorate engages visibility instruments and impactful events while promoting key activities, some of which include:
- Thematic Documentation.
- High profile Publicity of ECOWAS summits.
- Audio-Visual Documentaries on the strides of ECOWAS.
- Enlightenment Campaigns on interventions in Member States.
- Journalists in West Africa Programme.
This programme strengthens cooperation and facilitates the sharing of experiences with counterpart institutions, including national, regional and international press agencies, thereby ensuring a deeper appreciation of the role of ECOWAS. As currently set out, it also engenders a wider coverage of the activities of the Commission.
The Directorate deems it very vital to remain engaged with institutions operating in the area of communication, including other international development organisations and agencies.
Creation of New ECOWAS Website
As part of efforts to increase awareness and visibility of ECOWAS related activities, the President of the Commission mandated the Directorate of Communication in collaboration with the Community Computer Centre to review the existing ECOWAS Community and Commission’s websites.
Consequently, a website with a new look and feel, bearing updated content, has now been created. Apart from ensuring prime visibility, this dynamic, modern, captivating, easily accessible and navigable communication tool is replete with multimedia components with corresponding social media features. It is a major driver of the process of ensuring timely information dissemination to citizens of the region, integration stakeholders and partners. The website was launched in March 2015.