By Greg Hazley
The United Nations has given its top PR award to a census media relations campaign developed by Nairobi-based Apex Communications Limited for the Kenyan government in the wake of disputed elections and ethnic tensions.
Apex, an affiliate of Porter Novelli, created the "Nipo Natambulika," or "Count Me In," effort for the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, an effort recognized with the 2010 U.N. Grand Award for Achievement in Public Relations as it came two years after disputed elections displaced 600,000 people in the African country. The census also faced an opposition effort to exclude an ethnicity survey in the count, a contentious point amid tribal and ethnic tensions in the country.
"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," the U.N. said in a statement. "[But Apex] saw an opportunity for the census to rally the country around a common exercise with a strong patriotic undertone."
The U.N. said the campaign’s outreach to religious congregations – Christian and Muslim -- was key to building support for the county in a country where 12 million adults attend services.
The award, given by the U.N.’s Dept. of Public Information with the International PR Association, was present to the firm Nov. 5 in London.
Past winners of the award have included Edelman/Italy (2009), Racepoint Group (’08) and Weber Shandwick (’07).