PUBLIC RELATIONS STRATEGIES AND THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS IN NIGERIA Ezekiel S. Asemah firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract Public relations is a planed communication that can be used by both government and nongovernmental organisations to build and maintain mutual understanding with the publics. It is a tool which can be used to facilitate development in any country that is desperate for social, economic, political and technological development. It is against this backdrop that this paper examines how public relations strategies can be used to achieve the millennium developments goals. The millennium Development Goals are drawn from the actions and targets contained in the Millennium Declaration that was adopted by 189 Nations signed by 147 heads of state and governments, during the UN Millennium Summit in September, 2000. The paper examines the different public relations strategies like corporate social responsibilities, sponsorship, community relations, information management, research, etc, and how they can stimulate national development. It examines the extent to which public relations is relevant to the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and also examines whether the government has adequately harnessed public relations approaches in the quest for the attainment of the MDGs. The paper recommends that the government should explore public relations possibilities, which will in turn lead to national development. Key Words: Public Relations, Communication and Development Introduction Public relations describes any form of communication which is aimed at bringing about goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics. As a planned communication, it concerns every organisation, whether commercial or noncommercial, government inclusive. This is because, every organisation needs to create a favourable image for itself before its internal and external publics for successful operation. The recognition and acceptance of public relations as a vital communication tool in the hands of all organisations in all modern societies cannot be overemphasised. Public relations is a management function in human organisation, which helps in establishing a favourable relationship between an organisation and its publics. The import of this is that, every organisation, be it commercial or non commercial, government or non-governmental, has certain goals to achieve; such goals may be long term or short term, ranging from increase in sales, expansion, customer satisfaction, innovation, fighting competition, diversification and increase in the numbers of customers. Effective coordination of activities will be needed to achieve these goals and objectives. Public relations, which is a management function becomes handy in facilitating effective communication of organisational goals and objectives. The public relations department in any human organisation handles various activities, which include: conflict resolution or crisis management, internal or employee relations, community relations, promotions, media relations, environmental scanning and sponsorship programmes (Asemah, 2009). Public relations is acknowledged to be very vital to the survival of organisations, institutions and individuals. Through its multifaceted functions of evaluating attitudes and executing actions, it eliminates suspicion and friction thereby,
JORIND 9(2) December, 2011. ISSN 1596 – 8308. www.transcampus.org., www.ajol.info/journals/jorind
providing bridges of understanding upon which goodwill reigns between an organisation and the publics that deal with it. As a planned communication, public relations is capable of redeeming an organisation’s image (however poor an organisation finds itself) and in its place, restore confidence, goodwill and mutual understanding and patronage that every...