UNDP Jordan two steps closer to integrating social media into the governance portfolio
Last week marked UNDP Jordan’s first social media initiative with 66 participants representing five national partners attending the “Social Media Week”. The initiative included daily sessions to introduce targeted national partners of the Governance Portfolio to social media concepts, platforms, strategic approaches and organizational and content policies each in their specific context. As the Country Office itself is planning to develop its social media plan, a learning session for UNDP Country Office and project staff on social media was delivered early in the Week.
National partners involved in the Social Media Week were the Jordanian House of Representatives, Ministry of Political Development (MOPD), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the National Center for Human Rights (NCHR).
In February of 2011, the Governance Portfolio at UNDP Jordan pledged to support MOPD in amplifying its impact through new media, particularly among youth on Facebook and twitter, to allow the Ministry to have an immediate impact on online discourse. The plan also included sustained outreach activities to youth and civil society; starting with a database of youth online groups to systematically solicit input from youth groups on how to spur youth participation in the country's political life. Staff members from MOPD, who are in direct contact with political parties, attended hands-on training on listening, “following” and contributing to online political debate. Staff members from the MOFA also attended the training, in liaison with MOPD. One MOPD staff member indicated that the two ministries have recently launched a campaign to reach out to Jordanians living abroad and that social media would be a great opportunity for the success of this initiative.
Another session was dedicated to the staff of NCHR on strategic approaches and policies for successful social media presence. This session is tightly linked to UNDP’s support to the Center to increase awareness of the Center’s mandate and improve capacities to campaign for priority human rights issues.
Two parliamentary committees from the Jordanian House of Representatives participated in a Skype talk on the political power, risks and benefits of social media platforms. This talk is an extension to UNDP’s support to the Parliamentary Committees on Environment and Health, and the committee on Public Freedoms and Citizens’ Rights with the aim of strengthening the two committees’ oversight and outreach functions; by achieving knowledge of how to plan and prepare for media opportunities and how to deal with different media outlets in relation, including social media. Support to these committees comes as part of UNDP Jordan’s vision to strengthen inter-programme and inter-portfolio linkages; particularly linkages with the Environment Portfolio and the programme of support to NCHR.
The social media session at the Anti-Corruption Commission came upon the ACC’s interest to have a presence on social media, given the increased corruption reporting on Facebook in Jordan. The initiative is part of UNDP’s support to the Commission to develop its first communication and outreach strategy. H.E. Ramzi Nuzha, ACC Board Member and a member of the Commission’s Facebook page management team, who attended UNDP’s learning session, opened the ACC session by saying: “…the expert has a very interesting and engaging approach….we at the ACC will be focusing on social media to reach out to people and promote our work…”. Only after two days of the workshop, the ACC were able to increase their Facebook “fan” base by 10%.
The Social Media Week initiative was led by Dr. Constantinos Coursaris, Michigan State University Professor in Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media, in collaboration with UNDP Democratic Governance team and Project Managers, in addition to Communication and IT Directorates in targeted institutions.
As an immediate follow up action, UNDP Jordan will be piloting the integration of social media in two of the governance programmes. The integration will focus on MOPD’s outreach to political parties and civil society, particularly for women and youth groups, and on Anti-Corruption in terms of the role social media plays in corruption investigation, corruption prevention and fostering public accountability.
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UNDP Jordan Country Office
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