Communicators meet at Caritas Asia to draft the Strategy

Communicators from 14 Asian countries were gathered for a workshop by Caritas Asia to develop the Communication strategy for the next two years. Caritas Asia is one of the seven Regional Offices under the Confederation of Caritas Internationalis to serve and support the Member Organizations in the region in the achievement of their mission, in conformity and under the guidance of the local and universal Church, and in line with the decisions and the plans approved by the General Assembly of Caritas Internationalis.

Member organisations from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Tajikistan, Thailand, Vietnam, and Kyrgyzstan worked out the strategy under the leadership of Mr. Patrick Nicholson, Director of Communications and Ms. Myra Soetandyo, Communications Officer from Caritas Internationalis.

Zar Gomes, Regional Coordinator of Caritas Asia presented the background of the communication journey of Caritas Asia from 2012. He also shared about the Caritas Asia’s Strategic priorities which are in alignment with the Caritas Internationalis. Caritas Asia is working on Emergency Response and Disaster Risk Reduction, Safe migration and Anti-Human Trafficking, Environment Justice and Climate Change, Spiritual enhancement and Inter-faith Dialogue, Institutional Development and Capacity Building and Advocacy and Communication. He shared the priority of Caritas Asia is to publish the Annual Report and Newsletter and a specific Terms of Reference will be developed with the member organisation to seek dedicated time for the personnel and organisational development.

Patrick Nicholson shared about the role of communication in contributing to the organizational goals by engaging with key stakeholders who can then influence attitudes, policy, and governance. Sharing the importance of communication, he emphasised the quote from Neurologist Donald B. Calne, “The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action, while reason leads to conclusions”.

Explaining Simon Sinek model of The Golden Circle, he said the success lies in the approach when we think, act and communicate. The model compares the three circles of the Golden Circle to the human brain. The WHAT, or outer circle is compared to the neocortex. Here is where we find rational thought and language. The HOW and WHY circles are comparted to the limbic brains. The limbic brains are responsible for feelings like trust and loyalty and for all human behavior and decision-making. He emphasised to target the decision-making part of the brain and to get the desired results. 

The team brainstormed on the outcome, stakeholders, objective, messaging, channels resources and monitoring & evaluation process based on the strategic priorities of Caritas Asia.

As an action plan, the team formed the editorial team to work on the Annual Report and Newsletter of Caritas Asia. Another proposed plan of the workshop was to pursue a shared campaign on ‘Laudato Si’. In this regard people responsible from member organisation for operationalising the campaign will brainstorm in the coming months to finalise the methodologies and outcomes.

The communicators from the member organisations gave the commitment to contribute to Caritas by giving voice to the voiceless, advocate and upheld the dignity of the poor by creating an action plan to work together to devise the strategy to be acted by all for the next two years.