PARIS21, the National Institute of Statistics (INE) of Paraguay and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) held the regional event "Modernising the Communication Capacities of National Statistical Offices (NSOs): Challenges and Opportunities" on 21, 22 and 23 June at the Paseo La Galería in Asunción, Paraguay.
The regional activity brought together directors and heads of communication from 15 NSOs in the Latin American and Caribbean region who highlighted good practices in the countries and worked to identify the challenges that hinder communication with users and trust in NSOs and official statistics.
At the opening, the National Director of INE Paraguay, Iván Ojeda, welcomed those present and highlighted the vital importance of statistical communication, its impact on public policy and NSOs’ relationship with the media to ensure data on topics such as population, including health, education, children, gender, disability and youth, among others, are distributed widely.
François Fonteneau, Deputy Head of PARIS21, congratulated the organisers via Zoom and stressed that leadership and communication skills are essential to ensure that data is used by all.
Geoffrey Greenwell, Regional Technical Coordinator at PARIS21, and José Antonio Mejía, Lead Specialist in State Modernisation at IDB, spoke about the importance of the congress and were confident that the learning opportunity it provides will help NSOs to improve their outreach to the media and citizens.
In a range of session on the first day of the event, journalists from Telefuturo and Grupo ABC and NSO representatives discussed their experiences working together and challenges in promoting the use of data by journalists. This was followed by sessions on the use of social media to promote statistical products, related risks and opportunities as well as NSOs' reactions to fake news. Later they exchanged lessons learned in developing communication strategies and feedback mechanisms to learn about data users' needs.
In the framework of the event, PARIS21, together with the Cepei, organised a session to present the work plan of the new Community of Practice on Data-Driven Communications in Latin America and the Caribbean launched in May 2022. PARIS21 then presented the preliminary results of a study on NSOs' communication capacities highlighting findings related to human resources, NSOs’ online communications activities, monitoring and evaluation, communication strategies as well as NSOs' key messages and audiences. In a vivid discussion, panelists from La Nación Data and the NSOs from Mexico and Ecuador exchanged knowledge on how to strengthen the communication of data for decision-making, how to create visualisations and stories and how to understand the latest trends to attract and retain audiences.
On the second day of the event, innovative video projects were presented to demonstrate the power of multimedia products to promote statistical products and events such as the census as well as to advance inclusive communication in a way all members of society feel represented. The day was rounded off by a workshop organised by PARIS21 aiming to help NSO directors strengthen their communication leadership skills through mock TV interviews and individual feedback.
On the third day, the congress concluded with a workshop tailored to the needs of communication managers. Activities included the analysis of the most and least effective communication channels to promote NSOs’ statistical products as well as a session on how to develop a strong, recognisable brand and how to turn employees into brand ambassadors.