Algeria: Leading by Example in Civil Protection

Within the series of seminars and workshops, part of the EUROMED PPRD SOUTH II program. Funded by the European Union, and after a previous stop in Beirut, we headed for the Algerian capital where the Civil Protection Communication Team was eagerly waiting to be part of this global endeavor to empower similar public bodies in Crisis Communication.

On a personal level, this was my first trip to Algiers, a place not to be missed. The city rich in history, architecture and cultural diversity is impressive to say the least. The welcome we received by our hosts was beyond compare, even in my home country Lebanon where we usually take pride in how we receive travelers and guests.
I am here inclined to start thanking people by name but that would simply mean I would be either leaving someone out or just having a blog post consisting mostly of names of fine people who put their lives daily on the line to save others, so I will just throw out a big thank you to everyone involved in making our stay a memorable one.

In terms of work done, the attendees came from various units within the Algerian Civil Protection located in different parts of the country. We were also graced by the presence of local public and private media institutions representatives.
I have always been a fan of having more varied profiles in workshops and courses I have facilitated over the years. This was definitely the case, as different backgrounds joined in to deliver more insights into our discussions, to allow a more comprehensive approach to hands-on exercises and to keep the conversation alive from different perspectives.

Our workshop which focuses on a 360 approach to communication in times of crisis, took off with the usual theoretical approach to the subject on day 1 followed by a custom conceived crisis scenario mimicking a potential incident that could happen in the country.
The hands-on approach lasted for the remaining 3 days tackling respectively communication with the written press, TV and Radio interviews and culminated in the digital and social media communication part where we discussed the various strategies and tactics alongside the tools that can be used.
Each phase of the work saw the attendees investing themselves fully in role playing and tackling the hard interview questions or the snappy tweets and comments in an extremely professional way.
If something stood out most from this workshop, it was the team spirit with which everyone was working. Boundaries between the media and the civil protection members dissolved quickly and they were each bringing their own expertise to the mix.

This has been one of the most fruitful workshops we have facilitated during the whole program. There is no greater reward for a facilitator than to see that the information is flowing in a productive way and seeing that one's recommendations are being followed.

Algeria, it has been both a pleasure and privilege to have met the brave people that go beyond the call of duty in protecting the public. Here's to continued success!

Next on our agenda is Jordan, where we will be conducting a workshop in Amman on the 18th of April.

I leave you with some photos I snapped from our day out in Algiers with the Civil Protection teams

An amazing day out in Algiers with the awesome members of the Algerian Civil Protection members, discovering the city and their impressive headquarters.

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