By Mildred Nambi
The Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) Amb. Dr. Richard Sezibera has underscored the critical importance of making EAC a more vibrant and attractive regional bloc.
‘’Our regional bloc [EAC] has to be most effective, efficient, vibrant and attractive to enable East Africans enjoy the best of everything it can offer,’’ he said at the EAC Headquarters when officially launching a baseline study being undertaken by the EAC Secretariat in collaboration with German Development Agency (GIZ) in the Partner States.
The brief ceremony was attended by the Study Teams and senior officials from the German Development Agency (GIZ), according to EAC press statement.
The study, to be undertaken in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda, the month long study to last until 24 August, will be conducted through both online questionnaires and field face-to-face interviews in selected and strategic cities and border towns.
‘’The study is expected to give us an insight into how some of the key target audiences perceive EAC, how well they know it, how familiar they are with the symbols of the EAC and how they assess its performance in reaching out to them,’’ he added.
Most importantly, the EAC official said, the study would seek to review how key messages get across visually and how EAC is perceived by the East African citizens and what is the way forward.
Amb. Sezibera commended the effort, saying that it was in the true spirit of bringing the regional process closer to the people.
The Head of EAC Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Owora Richard Othieno, said that the project’s objective was to find out if EAC’s corporate identity and image were consistent with the aspirations of the East Africans and meet the lofty goals of the Treaty.
‘’That is to say whether the perception of the external target audience is coherent with what EAC perceives itself and the strategic platform (vision, mission, strategic goals and core values) of the Community,’’ he said.
Mr. Owora urged citizens in the East Africa to fully participate and demonstrate full support for both, the online and face-to-face interviews. ‘I call for full co-operation to enable us carry out a successful study in the interest of our regional integration,’’ he added.
Two core teams have been set out to facilitate the physical interviewing process. One team has headed to Uganda (survey points: Kampala, Lira, Fort Portal and Busia border); Kenya (survey points: Nairobi, Mombasa and Eldoret) and; United Republic of Tanzania (survey points: Dodoma, Mwanza, Sirari border,Arusha and Zanzibar) whilst the other will cover Burundi (survey points: Makamba, Muyinga and Cibitoke) and; Rwanda (survey points: Musanza and Nyagatare).
The interviewing team includes volunteers such as journalists who have been trained by EAC and GIZ on the regional integration process, some EAC Youth Ambassadors, best debaters, students and delegated officials from the Partner States’ Ministries of EAC Affairs.