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Mali communications strategy

In May 2013 Albany was funded by the United States Department of State to conduct a week-long workshop in Abuja, Nigeria on behalf of ECOWAS. The aim of the workshop was to brainstorm and develop a communications strategy in support of both the African Union mission into Mali, AFISMA, and the succeeding United Nation mission, MINUSMA.

In April 2012, a military coup in Mali removed a national government struggling to cope with the security threat posed by armed groups returning from Libya. Meanwhile, an opportunist Tuareg rebellion had seized control of large swathes of northern Mali calling for an independent state of Azawad. In early 2013 increased Islamist activity prompted the launch of a French military intervention, Operation Serval. By May, French and AFISMA forces had successfully suppressed the armed insurrection from the north, allowing for the role-out of a timetable for national elections.

Within this context all partners identified the pressing need for an integrated, full-spectrum military and civilian communications programme to support both AFISMA and MINUSMA missions. Albany was asked to draft a communications strategy and plan of implementation that would address the immediate communications void.

The workshop, held at the Nigerian National Defence College in Abuja, brought together senior actors from the AU, UN, ECOWAS, AFISMA, EU, French, US and UK governments. Held over 5 days the workshop, facilitated by Albany and its subject matter experts, analysed the perceptions and challenges facing AFISMA AND MINUSMA, identified the objectives and target audiences, drew out the core narrative and story themes, and established the means by which to propagate the message.