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atalc: building a regional communications strategy

Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC ) was created in 2001 to provide member groups with a stronger regional role. Yet to gain more influence over the region’s political spheres and social movements, ATALC must increase its public profile. Two years ago, ATALC’s executive committee realized a comprehensive, coherent communication strategy was required to achieve this.

uruguay: regional comms planFoE Uruguay and FoE Paraguay held various meetings during 2007 directly aimed at achieving this ambitious goal, with Jose Elosegui (FoE Uruguay) and Pablo Valenzuela (FoE Paraguay) as the main participants, along with other group members of these groups.

what we learned: First, e-mail and telephone exchanges between the two groups analysed communications experiences of ATALC members, especially with regard to the Economic Justice - Resisting Neoliberalism Program. Next, in parallel with a workshop (on investor-state disputes) organised by FoE Uruguay in Montevideo in March 2007, concepts were laid out for an ATALC website and e-newsletter about corporations.  These concepts were then discussed in a meeting with other ATALC representatives also present at the Montevideo workshop -- from Columbia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Peru, as well as Uruguay and Paraguay.
This meeting tackled other issues too, including overall strategy and organisation of communications, video productions, synergy with Real World Radio’s corporate section, dividing responsibility amongst groups for monitoring corporates, and establishing where “political space” exists for ATALC’s voice.  The results were submitted to the subsequent ATALC meeting in June, 2007 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, along with a preview of an ATALC communication strategy drafted by FoE Uruguay and FoE Paraguay.

Also following the Montevideo meeting, an email exchange between ATALC members laid out who, from each organisation, would assist with newsletter production. FoE Paraguy developed the newsletter image, and along with FoE Uruguay, kept an eye on ATALC’s actions with regard to corporations.

what next: The full elaboration and completion of the first issue of the newsletter is underway; all information about the communications plan is being compiled and processed; and finally, a follow-up meeting is being planned, to take place in Asuncion, Paraguay.

with thanks to our funders: the dutch ministry of foreign affairs

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