Challenges in communicating East African Community integration: A case study of the Ministry Of East African Community Affairs, Uganda
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The study was conceived out of the need to find out why there are low levels of awareness about East African integration in Uganda in spite of all the communication and information dissemination efforts of the Ministry of EAC Affairs. The broader goal was thus to explore the challenges in communicating EAC integration focusing on Uganda’s Ministry of East African Community Affairs. The study sought to investigate characteristics of Uganda audiences, messages on integration, exploration of communication channels, and ways of increasing awareness of Ugandans on EAC integration. The methodological approach followed a cross-sectional design including content analysis of the communication approach and questionnaire that was administered simultaneously in Kampala Metropolitan area (Wakiso District and Kampala City). The study hinges on the agenda setting theoretical framework. Findings of the study revealed that there was no proper audience segmentation to take care of various interests of different audiences and to design messages relevant to local target audience groups. The study concluded that MEACA did not do enough to understand characteristics and interests of Uganda audiences and this caused ineffective communication; MEACA messages did not impact audiences because they are not related to immediate needs of the people and audiences prefer communication approaches related to their lifestyles. The study ends by recommending among other things that MEACA should adopt a communication strategy inclusive of all audiences, to improve on the way they identify audiences and their interests, to use messages related to interests of audiences, improve on branding of EAC and prioritise participation in dissemination of EAC messages.