15 February 2018
Last Updated: 21 February 2018
by Giacomo MANCA

Last Thursday and Friday, the EU Affairs office of the Salvation Army took part in the Eurodiaconia’s network meeting on communications; hold in Eurodiaconia’s headquarter in Brussels. The event gathered communication officers from many diaconal organisations, sharing experiences and learning about good communications practices for Christian organisations working on social affairs. Among others, the meeting hosted contributions from World Association for Christian Communications (WACC), the Council of Europe's campaign against Hate Speech, the spanish journalist Maria-Paz Lopez, who gave a speech on "overcoming the ostracism present among secular media towards religion" as well as many good practices of successful communication actions from diaconal organisations. In addition, the meeting included a visit to DG ECHO at the European Commission, involving in the communication aspects of EU humanitarian aid.

Communicating Social Services and Christian Values is of a primary interest for the Salvation Army. Good contacts to communication and campains can enhance the visibility of the Army, as well as promote contacts with potential partner organisations and affirm our values.

The World Association for Christian Communications (WACC) sees communication as a contribution to the common good, and express this through six principles, putting together the role for communication in Christian faith the need for a good communication for supporting social justice. Among its projects, WACC has recently conducted a thought-provoking research on the media representation of refugees and migrants in Europe. The results, underlines the underrepresentation of migrants voices in the press, and serve as a benchmark for a number of recommendations to communications professionals and to civil society organisations working with refugees and migrants, encouraging the latters to better engage with the press. TO read WACC's research on migration, please, click here

Maria-Paz Lopez, who gave a speech on “How to overcome ostracism among secular media towards religion”, provided some tips to ensure a good visibility in the press, as well as a positive approach preventing the secular prejudice sometimes existing towards Christian organisations:

  • take into account the rhythms of work of journalists/press officers, look for the right contacts in editorial teams and plan in advance possible interactions;
  • Focus first on the social services provided and identify concrete stories: this will allows also non-religious people to relate to the information
  • Give a direct voice to social workers, or to direct custumers of social services: it will give a face to Christian organisations’ actions.

On the second day, the conference hosted an intervention of Alejandro Moledo, from the European Disability Forum, who spoke about the importance of engaging social service users with disability through online tools, website and social media. The web represents indeed an extremely important opportunity for poeple with disabilities, representing a vector for contributing in society, as well as a way to enjoy an easy access to many public services. However, the conception and shape of many websites represent a big obstacle for many people with disabilities. To ensure equal opportunities to enjoy the web, it is impotant to make websites accessible to people with disabilities

Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can use the Web. More specifically, Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and that they can contribute to the Web. Web accessibility also benefits others, including older people with changing abilities due to aging” (World Wide Web Consortium, W3C)

To better learn about how to enforce accessibility on your website, check the website of the European Disability Forum

A comprehensive report of the meeting will soon be released. 

Tags: Europe