The Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) emerged as the best University at the 2019 Public Relations Society of Kenya (PRSK) Student Boot camp, held at the Multimedia University of Kenya on 25th October, 2019. The fourth edition of the annual boot camp brought together Journalism, Public Relations, and Mass Communication students from 12 universities across the country to discuss matters Public Relations and its practice in various contexts.
Students from participating universities were required to develop a comprehensive public relations strategy focusing on the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among the youth in Kenya, and how to package persuasive messages to get them to use self-test kits, as well as condoms to reduce infections. The students were expected to draw from their training and preparedness, to deliver their pitches in just five minutes. The topic was given to the students at the boot camp, and they had about 30 minutes to prepare. Delivering the winning pitch on behalf of the JKUAT team, Ms. Mercy Maureen Wainaina comprehensively outlined their strategy, from analysis of the topic, to media use, to the theories that they would apply in their messaging, structures for monitoring and evaluation of the impact of the strategy, among others. Tight as the competition was, there was not an iota of doubt that her presentation was peerless by the time she punctuated.
The annual PRSK Student bootcamp aims at mentoring communication students on the best practices of PR, the professional values and principles, emerging issues in PR, as well as gauging the quality of Communication training in various institutions, which is tested through the student competitions. This year’s edition saw various communication experts engage the students on key areas that are central to the practice of PR, and it was hotbed of knowledge and experience. Ms. Winnie Kiboi, the Communication Lead at General Electric spoke on how the Digital Era is transforming communication. Mr. Ken Kamau, an Account Manager at Hill + Knowlton Strategies, and a JKUAT alumnus, spoke on Crisis and Reputation Management. Mr. Moses Nyandika, the Principal Public Communications Officer in the Ministry of Energy spoke on Government communication in the digital age. Ms. Lilian Kimeto, Communication Lead at the ICT Authority, elaborated on the Ethical use of the digital space as a PR practitioner, while the resourceful Mr. William Dekker, a communications executive at Doctors without Borders, illuminated on ‘Establishing an Effective Social listening function as a brand’.
Following the win as the best University, JKUAT is set to host next year’s edition of the bootcamp in October 2020. The Department of Media Technology and Applied Communication (MTAC), domiciled in the School of Communication and Development Studies (SCDS), has expressed confidence that it will be the best one yet. The School Dean, Prof. Hellen Mberia, has expressed confidence that the University is ready to host the fifth edition of the bootcamp, and that it’s a high time people woke up to the fact that JKUAT is a giant in training Journalism, Mass Communication, PR, and Corporate Communication and Management.
“First, I really wish to appreciate and recognize the good work of our students and lecturers, for bringing this trophy home. We don’t take this lightly because it’s a reflection of the industrious nature of our students, and the great input of our lecturers who take their time to ensure our students are holistically trained and industry-ready,” she opines.
“As a School and as a University, together with PRSK and other partners, we shall synergize our efforts to make sure we have a unique, valuable, and rich fifth edition of the PRSK bootcamp,” assures the Professor.
On his part, Mr. Eliezer Muchiri, the lecturer who accompanied the students to the bootcamp, and who has been at the forefront in preparing them for the various initiatives and activities, credited this year’s victory to the good preparation by the students, and the quality of course content that they’re taught.