Qatar has embedded a national strategy to accomplish change in government, society and the economy – Qatar National Vision 2030. This guiding principle sets out what the government and country need to achieve to compete globally through the next century. To accomplish many aspects of this vision requires the work of Ashghal – Qatar’s Public Works Authority – to improve Qatar’s infrastructure and buildings of public importance that will enable the socio-economic change needed and aspired to.
Ashghal’s challenge was that it didn’t have the systems, process or know-how to engage and inform communities that were directly affected by its projects – especially the homeowners, tenants, businesses, schools, hospitals and other community entities that relied on people being able to safely navigate through their neighbourhood.
Ashghal needed to address the concerns of every affected community and turn the tide of escalating media and public criticism being heaped onto it.
H+K developed layered messaging for all communities directly affected by Ashghal’s projects – businesses, schools, hospitals and clinics, home-owners, hotels, mosques, malls and any affected neighbourhood. Layered messaging clearly explained Ashghal’s mandate – and ‘bigger picture’.
Presentations were developed and used with hospitals, schools, businesses and mosques to share information on Ashghal, its mission and projects that were being implemented in immediate neighbourhoods.
Arabic and English road closure leaflets were developed and distributed to affected communities ensuring they were fully informed of the planned works, and more importantly, the benefits the project will deliver.
Ashghal launched Facebook and Twitter to communicate and enhance updates on projects, road closures and achieved milestones.
Regular media updates issued to indicate road closures, diversions, milestones and openings with media invited on site visits.
On two occasions the Arabic daily Al Watan – one of Ashghal’s harshest critics – used its daily opinion column to thank Ashghal PR & Communication executives for Ashghal’s approach to engaging the public.
More than 30 education establishments, countless businesses and residences, several hospitals and dozens of mosques have benefited from the community outreach programme, and with scores of children visiting Ashghal offices during Qatar’s National Day celebrations.
Criticism is still a factor, but rather than ignore its critics, Ashghal now embraces them and responds to complaints and criticism giving the public greater understanding of its mission, projects and the long-term benefits its work will bring to communities and Qatar as a whole.