Aug 4, 2011

PR practitioners gone rogue

Despite Public Relations (PR) being a popular course taught in Kenyan colleges today, it may soon not be a career of choice for many students. PR is ordinarily communication and activities designed to promote good-will and understanding among the publics and the media. The practice of PR by most companies and institutions is however not portraying well our PR practitioners.

In most cases PR practitioners are the spokesmen and faces of their organizations. They also take charge of customer relations and public information activities. It doesn’t seize to amaze though how worse customer service can get in some companies despite having fully equipped PR departments.

The way KPLC handled its power rationing communication for instance was not the best way whatsoever. There surely had to be a way of preparing customers for the bad news. Dropping the bomb-shell as they did especially on the backdrop of re-branding and committing to enhanced customer service was a raw deal to its customers.

Dr. Alfred Mutual is another example of bad PR practice. No offense to the government spokesman but it is hard to admire his professional skills; especially because he is the senior most PR practitioner in Kenya. He has deliberately perfected himself as a cunning sophist who only understands PR as spin.

PR can only add value when it’s not reduced to just a mare self defense and clean up affair as eminently done in Kenya. A few companies take PR seriously though, but more needs to be done. Practitioners need to carry themselves professionally; otherwise PR students will have no one to look up to.


Index Insurance key to the agricultural sector

The effects of global warming are now on their worst following the severe drought that is being experienced in parts of Kenya and the horn of Africa. Droughts have consistently destroyed our crops and killed livestock which are the mainstay of our economy. We haven’t quite found a reliable solution to this annual calamity but index insurance may soon be the sustainable way to mitigate its effects.

Index insurance is a brilliant idea which if effected will be a significant risk management tool especially in our agricultural sector. The policy which was recently launched in Geneva will compensate financial loss for properties exposed to climate related risks such as drought.

This is obviously good news to farmers who suffer losses every year due to outcomes beyond their influence. Livestock holders in north eastern Kenya where drought is eminent should brace themselves for this insurance policy which may just be a solution to their perennial problem. Rural smallholder farmers too should not suffer unnecessary losses any more when they can easily be compensated.

More insurance companies need to come out and float this product to Kenyans. This, coupled with large scale farming projects as pronounced by government in Turkana last week will go a long way in eradicating famine in Kenya.