Albany are assisting the nascent Somali government and African Union's Mission to Somalia, AMISOM, to provide strategic communications effects to help stabilise the state. A cornerstone of the project has been to develop positive messaging for AMISOM and the Somali Transitional Federal Government (TFG), whilst employing a range of methods to undermine the attempts of armed opposition groups, in particular, Al-Shabaab, to gain wider support from the population or to terrorize it into submission.
Through a unique contract with the United Nations, Albany's forty-strong project team in Mogadishu and Nairobi runs a fully integrated campaign to counter the radicalising effect of Al Shabaab and engage Somalis in building a positive future for their country. They provide direct support to the AMISOM, as the Information Support Team (IST). Within a multi-stakeholder environment, tasks have included media mapping and monitoring, polling, domestic and international outreach programmes, communication capacity building and direct support to the Somali media.
The communications campaign also incorporates print, radio and TV production products and we run the AMISOM digital presence through social and web output. Political and military communications advice to the two sides of AMISOM is the mainstay of the campaign. Outreach events are organised on the ground in Somalia to bring together the civil society and support the burgeoning media.
Training of governmental institutions and AMISOM personnel in public affairs and public outreach is also a key aspect of the project, providing lectures and practical sessions and exercises to senior and junior officials and military personnel.
A major part of the United Nations project is to produce content for a radio station which is broadcast straight into Somali homes. Radio Bar Kulan, or 'meeting place', is a trusted independent, impartial observer of affairs in the country run by Somalis. Providing support for this Somali run station has involved significant and complex logistical requirements, providing a site, equipment, sourcing of staff and training, but is now recognised as having the potential to form the hub of a larger future public broadcasting radio network.