National Water Harvesting & Storage Authority acknowledges communication as a critical tool of management and key to our Mission, Vision and Strategic Objectives. This policy has come at the time when we are transiting to the new ISO Standards 9001:2015. This will ensure that all communication from NWHSA is accurate, timely, consistent, coordinated, effectively managed and responsive to the diverse needs of our internal and external stakeholders.
The purpose of this policy is to provide understanding and guidance for the appropriate use of communication tools, including verbal, printed, and digital, by NWHSA’s Board, staff and stakeholders while conducting the Authority’s operations. Further, the policy will be instrumental in enabling us attain high-quality information about our projects, programs, services and initiatives. This will also be helpful during our stakeholder engagements where we aim to build more trust through mutual relationship.
One of our strategic objectives is to “Improve corporate image and enhance customer service.” This policy among others will help us achieve this objective through effective procedures and processes that will be established at all levels of the Authority. We shall thrive to promote effective planning, implementation and evaluation at all levels of our communications.
Acting Chief Executive Officer CS. Sharon Obonyo says the Communications Policy is critical to our brand visibility and corporate governance in that it ensures that we are visible, accessible and accountable to our stakeholders while upholding the principles of good corporate governance. She adds that we shall attain this through sound communication initiatives and programs that foster mutual understanding while building trust.
The Policy is intended to establish sound principles and guidelines of communication within and outside the Authority. It is an instrument for supporting planning, development, use of communication systems and resources to improve the overall productivity of the workforce and create a positive presence for the Authority.
The Access to Information ACT, 2016 provides for the right of access to information by citizens under Article 35 of the Constitution. It states that public entities and private bodies should proactively disclose information that they hold in line with the constitutional principles. It is in this regard that the Authority‘s Communication activities should always inform and educate, emphasizing on its strengths geared towards maintaining a good reputation with its stakeholders.
Most importantly, this policy will guide public participation and integrate communication to all Authority’s projects to support execution leading to projects success. The policy will link communication to the overall strategies of the Authority for effective and consistent operations.
The goals and objectives of the policy are:
- To provide a framework for the design of Communication Strategies and procedures for engaging with stakeholders.
- To streamline the Authority’s internal and external communication.
- To increase the Authority’s brand visibility.
- Cultivate and enhance confidence in the Authority’s reputation.
- Build trust and stakeholder value.
The policy has also proposed training of staff on communication skills. The Chief Corporate Communications Officer, Ms. Joyce Jepkemboi says the Authority recognizes that Communication skills must be developed and improved continuously for effectiveness of its operations. Consequently, the policy shall ensure that key personnel receive communication/media or presentation skills training in order to facilitate their individual performance when required to provide media briefings and take part in interviews or public engagements. Further all staff shall be trained or sensitized on basic communication skills and etiquette.
ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Access to Information Act, 2016 is anchored on Article 35 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010. The Act of Parliament conferred the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) with the oversight and enforcement functions. The Authority is aware that all Kenyan citizens have a right to access information and therefore recognizes that any information held by it, as an agent of the government, should be made available subject to the provisions of the Act.
When releasing information, NWHSA shall adhere to the following as per the Access to information Act, 2016. Article 4 sub-section 3 of the Act on Right to Information states that “Access to information held by a public entity or a private body shall be provided expeditiously at a reasonable cost. Further, Article 5 on Disclosure of information by public entities requires that a public entity shall facilitate access to information held by such entity and which information may include the particulars of its organization, functions and duties among others.
Just like the Authority’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the communication draft policy is complete and has also been given to staff and the board members for their input. Once views from stakeholders are incorporated, it shall be approved by the Board before it is implemented.
By Joyce Jepkemboi