‘Count Me In’ Campaign for Kenyan Census to Receive UN Public Relations Award

4 November 2010
Note No. 6283

‘Count Me In’ Campaign for Kenyan Census to Receive UN Public Relations Award

4 November 2010
Press Release
Note No. 6283
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

‘Count Me In’ Campaign for Kenyan Census to Receive UN Public Relations Award

A media relations campaign aimed at encouraging Kenyans to participate in the country’s 2009 population census has been chosen for the 2010 United Nations Grand Award for outstanding achievement in public relations.

The award will be presented by Afsane Bassir-Pour, Director of the United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe, at a ceremony on Friday, 5 November, at the Merchant Taylors’ Hall in London, as part of the 2010 Golden World Awards of the International Public Relations Association.

The winning campaign, “Nipo Natambulika”,or “Count Me In”,was commissioned by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics and developed by Apex Communications Limited in response to efforts from various lobby groups for the exclusion of the ethnic question from the Census.  This opposition threatened to derail the entire exercise by shifting attention away from educating and building confidence in the public to participate in the Census, to concerns about how the information would be used.

Apex Communications Limited designed a public information campaign that positioned the Census as an important national exercise, undertaken within international guidelines, and it mobilized support from key influential groups.  This resulted in 98 per cent of Kenya’s 12 million households participating in the survey, the highest rate since independence in 1963.

Ethnic violence in the wake of the disputed elections in December 2007 forced more than 600,000 nationals to flee their homes and left more than 1,300 Kenyans dead.  In 2009, ethnic tensions in the country ran high and once the Census questionnaire was published, lobby groups emerged to campaign against the so-called “tribal or ethnic question”.  However, Apex Communications Limited saw an opportunity for the Census to rally the country around a common exercise with a strong patriotic undertone.

The company’s research showed that some 12 million adults attended a religious congregation between Friday and Sunday every week, and a review of the guidelines — provided by the United Nations Division of Statistics — showed that a collection of ethnic data was required to meet international standards.

Among its many initiatives, the campaign proactively engaged faith-based organizations, particularly Christian and Muslim groups.  These groups agreed to disseminate the Census publicity materials to their congregations countrywide and to make announcements asking people to participate in the Census on the three consecutive Sundays and Fridays before the exercise.

A major thread running through the campaign, which aided in its success in presenting the Census as a unifying national force, was its logo.  The three design elements in the logo represent a household:  black for the man, green for the woman and red for the child, who are all reaching out to be counted as Kenyans.  The slogan underlining the logo was in the national language of Kiswahili, “Nipo! Natambulika!”, which in English translates to “Count Me In”.

The annual award is jointly sponsored by the United Nations Department of Public Information and the International Public Relations Association, a professional organization for senior international public relations executives.  The United Nations Award was established in 1990 to recognize excellence in campaigns that address priority issues before the world Organization.

For more information, please contact Daniela Sinobad at sinobad@un.org, or by telephone at +1 212 963 3873.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.