One of the largest annual events DHR Communications works on is Africa Day. Through our work with Irish Aid, we play an important role in celebrating the African Union-designated day of celebhttp://www.dhr.ie/wp-content/uploads/facebook-logo.pngration of African culture, which falls on 25th May each year.
DHR Communications is proud of the work it has carried out in the past five years in identifying Africa Day as a major annual celebratory event in Ireland.
The aim of Africa Day is to celebrate African diversity and success, and to highlight the cultural and economic potential that exists on the continent of Africa. Since the publication of the White Paper on Irish Aid in 2006, the Irish Government – through the Irish Aid division of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – has made a commitment to support Africa Day events in Ireland on an annual basis.
In 2007, Irish Aid marked Africa Day with a series of low-key cultural and academic events. Since 2008, DHR Communications has worked with Irish Aid to establish a high-profile identity for Africa Day through the organisation of flagship festival events; a nationwide PR campaign; and the provision of support to groups organising smaller events at local level.
In 2008, we were contracted by Irish Aid to project manage and promote its inaugural Africa Day flagship event, ‘Africa Day @ Dublin Castle’, a free family day, open to all members of the public. In 2009 and 2010, we worked with Irish Aid on the organisation and promotion of two flagship events: Africa Day Limerick (in the grounds of Limerick City Hall) and Africa Day Dublin (in the Iveagh Gardens). In 2011, we managed the media relations around Irish Aid’s Africa Day celebrations and provided support to a number of organisations that were holding Africa Day events at national and local levels.
In 2012 we once again worked on Africa Day, coordinating a programme of events; managing all PR, marketing and online communications; and supporting local authorities in four strategic areas to run flagship Africa Day events. The result was a crowd of more than 10,000 descending on George’s Dock in Dublin over the weekend of 26th and 27th May.
As in previous years, DHR Communications was at the core of the planning, organising, promoting and managing of the weekend-long event. With two days of music, entertainment, culture, discussions, fashion, food and games, we were responsible for the smooth running of the weekend festival, while ensuring a strong media presence online and in traditional outlets.
The event was also launched by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Eamon Gilmore TD, Minister for Trade and Development Joe Costello TD, and Dublin Lord Mayor Andrew Montague, while a host of African Ambassadors to Ireland were also in attendance.
Since DHR’s involvement with the event, Africa Day has attracted a range of well-known names to take part over the years. These included musicians Vieux Farka Touré and Solo Cissokho, Sineád O’Connor, Cathy Davey, Mundy, Jape, Kíla, Kanda Bongo Man, The Republic of Loose, Discovery Gospel Choir, Gypsy Rebel Rabble, and Congolese singer-songwriter Niwel Tsumbu.
Apart from main stage performances, we also programmed various workshops, featuring inputs from high-profile writers, journalists, artists and musicians, including and broadcasters Bryan Dobson, Orla Barry and Seán Rocks; the Dublin-based Nigerian playwright Bisi Adigun; travel writers Brendan Harding and Manchán Magan; novelists Hugo Hamilton and Claire Kilroy; journalists Joe Little, Roisin Ingle, Deirdre McQuillan and Chinedu Onyejelem; internationally acclaimed Ghanaian author and performance poet Nii Ayikwei Parkes; and chefs Donal Skehan Abraham Phelan and the Michelin-starred Kevin Thornton.
In addition to our work on the Dublin event, we also liaised with organisers of Africa Day’s three other flagship events held in 2012 – in Cork, Galway and Limerick. By providing each area with a tailored Africa Day media kit and giving assistance and support in terms of regional advertising and promotion, we helped to ensure the event was highlighted in their respective cities.
As part of our work, DHR Communications engaged with over 100 grassroots groups throughout Ireland – all of which represent different African countries and tribal groupings – to encourage and support their involvement in the flagship festivals, providing them with a means of showcasing their different cultures and traditions. We also managed all logistical arrangements in relation to the events, devising the health and safety procedures and overall event plan for each venue; recruiting and managing third-party providers, including caterers, AV technicians, sound engineers, event crew and security staff; and ongoing liaison with all relevant authorities, including city councils, licensing authorities, An Garda Síochána, the Office of Public Works, and fire and ambulance services. We have also recruited and managed an extensive team of Africa Day volunteers each year, to assist in delivering key tasks, both in the run-up to the flagship events and at each event itself.
In addition to delivering the flagship festivals in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012, DHR Communications has provided support to national organisations and community groups throughout Ireland that received funding from Irish Aid for Africa Day events. We have also developed and implemented extensive PR plans for all of Irish Aid’s Africa Day activities each year, and have built up and managed a strong online presence. As a result Africa Day events garner significant media coverage at both national and local levels, and the Africa Day website and online profiles serve as a much-visited resource for those interested in this topic.
In 2009, Africa Day won the ‘Event of the Year’ category at the annual Business and Excellence Awards, run by Bold and Beautiful magazine, one of the most popular publications for African communities in Ireland.