Name: christophe verhellen
Organisation: united nations information centre
Role: public information/outreach officer
Country: South Africa
I have studied journalism, radio and television production with a specialization in “Social Communication”. I graduated in 1989, with distinction. I am currently working as Public Information Office with United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Pretoria, South Africa. My main responsibilities are: 1. Develop and implement the 2010 project: MDGs for Sports (related to the World Cup Soccer) 2. Develop and implement a communications strategy to promote MDGs in local community areas; including using community radio stations; 3. In coordination with the UNIC webmaster, update and maintain UNCT website by gathering information and other material from UN agencies and posting it on the web; 4. Research and draft articles for UNIC Pretoria communications products for target audiences including press releases, media packets and reports, brochures, briefings, newsletters, etc.; 5. Assist in organizing or participating in the organization of conferences, seminars, workshops, press briefings, interviews, etc.; The past I have almost 20 years of professional experience in developed and developing countries. I have particular expertise in: organisational & institutional development; identification, design monitoring, review and evaluation of development projects. After having worked as a journalist and producer for Belgian public radio (VRT) and as a director/producer for Belgian commercial television (VTM), I left for Uganda to work as an APO for the Communication for Development section of FAO (GIIS). Over a period of two and a half years, I worked closely together with a number of local partners on the use of communication tools for development purposes. We developed a global strategy, a media mix based on theatre, dance, traditional media and “modern” media such as rural radio and video. I also organised and undertook several field missions to go and collect video and audio footage for both FAO and the local Ministry of Information. Furthermore, I assisted in the development of a national Ugandan Communication Strategy on Population issues. After having finished my contract in Uganda, I left for Mauritania to continue my assignment as APO. During 1 year, I worked again for the Communication for Development section of FAO. The job description was similar to the one in Uganda, but the emphasis was laid on migration and desertification related projects. From July up to September 1996, I worked as a Communication for Development Consultant in the Luapula Province in Zambia. I had been assigned by the FAO and the Belgian Survival Fund to undertake an in-depth appraisal to generate information necessary for refining communication components and activities of the project "Improving Household Food Security and Nutrition in the Luapula Valley, Zambia". Following this experience, I worked as a Communication for Development Consultant for EcoNews Africa and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. I conducted some in-depth communication appraisals in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. After having returned to Belgium, I started working as a communication consultant and as a director/producer for most Belgian TV-stations. In 2000, I decided to set up my own communication company. I developed communication projects for a wide range of clients. I was also producing films for different Belgian and European television networks, for the government and for some major companies.