PRAU must be seen to act as a clearing house and reference centre on public relations personnel recruitment
By Ivan N. Baliboola
The Public Relations Association of Uganda (PRAU)’s new Governing council headed by Sarah Kagingo as president officially started their two year reign this month. PRAU must teach the public how it wants to be treated.
New GC comes in office when the court of public opinion and politicians have issues with Public Relations practice in Uganda. The new GC is already defending and building the right reputation of all PR professions in Uganda. PRAU recently issued a clarification response to the president’s understanding of Public relations.
A lot has been done over the years, and more needs to be done about the PR profession. PRAU must embark on a project to define the Ugandan PR scope of work. This will help define tasks a PR person or agency executes to stop confusion. You cannot control something without boundaries.
Revise PRAU membership structures to address issues of costs and who becomes a member. Start vetting membership applications to the association. No community wants controversial members. Even Special interest Facebook groups require you to answer questions before accepting your request to join. Let us start with members filling in a PR questionnaire, and recommendation letters on top of their membership application forms.
Let's us not waste all the energy on a PR license/permit to practice like lawyers. We have a bigger incompetence and masquerader problem in Uganda. This can instantly be fixed with a local PRAU accreditation and training process. A license isn't needed when people ask for jobs or register their PR consultancies.
Before the PR license like lawyers, let us focus at having an updated PR ethical code and publish it. Public Relations’ Profession requires rules and set boundaries that must be defined.
PRAU must be seen to act as a clearing house and reference centre on public relations personnel recruitment. I have met several job interview panels that don’t even know what PR is. They end up recruiting the wrong people who are tarnishing the profession’s image.PRAU should work out a voluntary programme where members can sit on Job interview panels for free when called upon.
Accreditation means you are worth it. Set up a credible accreditation board to handle submissions for practitioners. There can be classes and specialties of an accreditation. Earning points for PR people will lead to more PR related articles, research, books, networking and more effective practitioners.
This year, PRAU makes 42 since it was founded. Let it be a milestone worth celebrating by the Public. A memorial lecturer and magazine in the names of the founder will be in the right direction.
We have lots of crossovers to the PR profession from newsrooms, entertainment, management, and education. Those that are not able to adjust fast to the PR professional code portray the profession as a gamble. This is why PRAU needs a training unit. There must be home-grown training modules to cater for such. Frequent refresher courses will be a quick fix. Lots of spokespeople become overnight technical PR people and blunder.
The Association should look beyond membership fees and events for revenue. This is suicide.GC should explore the sale of its branded merchandise and trainings to raise funds.
PRAU must strive to be seen as an authority about the PR profession in Uganda. The operations must extend beyond Kampala and universities. GC must design frequent forums to develop and discuss the PR field
Every PRAU GC member is a hero who serves voluntarily for the betterment of the profession. I appeal to the PRAU GC to seek help from members because they can't do all things. They should not make a mistake of thinking they can do all without the help and engagement of members?
Writer is a PR and organisational specialist