Over the last two years, CTA has supported the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) to increase its visibility through the establishment of a new and improved website.
Under the project, Building a Platform for Agribusiness Forum, the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) has provided knowledge management and communications support to the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO). The primary objective of this project, which came to an end in December 2017, has been to transform the organisation’s visibility among the agribusiness community by establishing an informative and accessible website that responds to the needs of PIPSO’s members.
PIPSO is a regional private sector body, which acts as a clearing house for national private sector organisations to access resources and technical support or information. Its members include Chambers of Commerce and other industry associations. As an intermediary between governments and businesses, it is essential that PIPSO is able to clearly communicate information and advice to agribusinesses. Alisi Tuqa, PIPSO’s acting CEO, explains, “We try and make sure that the information we provide to businesses, to the Chambers, is beneficial to them so they can lobby and advocate as needed to enhance business in the region.”
To enhance PIPSO’s knowledge management and communication, the CTA-supported project was split into two phases. After defining the website architecture – i.e. the initial structure and design – the objectives of Phase 1 focused on recruiting and training PIPSO staff in knowledge management functions, including how to post content to the new website. Project activities during this phase, included a user needs assessment prior to the development of the website; development of a communications strategy for 2016 (e.g. e-newsletter and social marketing campaigns); and the provision of event management and communications support for the 2016 Pacific Agribusiness Forum in Samoa, which involved the provision of banners and logo designs.
Phase 2 built on the progress of initial activities with a new communications strategy for 2017 and further training for PIPSO staff, this time focusing on social media. During the second phase, the PIPSO team were supported to begin writing content for the website, e-newsletter and social media platforms and to start posting this content on the website, along with regional news stories and funding and training opportunities for PIPSO members.
To provide the opportunity for businesses to connect with each other, PIPSO asked small private sector businesses to fill out company profiles, which it began to upload to the website in 2017. However, one of the key challenges that the project encountered was the limited capacity of PIPSO members to develop content for their profiles, as well as other marketing and outreach materials. To overcome this problem Tuqa explains that, “One of the key areas we want to focus on in 2018 is around the marketing and communications aspect with small businesses because we recognise that a lot of the reasons why they weren’t filling out their profiles was because they didn’t have the information in the first place.”
Despite this challenge, the project has successfully built an effective website for PIPSO members to source relevant and useful industry information. “Since we revamped the website, a lot of partners have actually been coming through to us,” Tuqa states. The next step is to make sure all of the information available is accessible, “No one’s going to read a 50 page report so how do we summarise it for businesses to consume?” she adds. Now that the project has come to an end, PIPSO has begun to engage new partners, such as AusAid, for further support to continue developing its knowledge management and communications activities.