By its nature, democratic governments like that of Namibia must reflect public opinion and work best when the general population is well informed. Thus, the Namibian government values the importance of public relations.
It is through public relations that the government maintains a strong bond with the citizenry. Almost all government offices, ministries and agencies have public relations units, managed by public relations professionals.
They are not only tasked with coordinating media activities but also contributing to the implantation of government policies and programmes.
One such public relations professional working for the Namibian public service is Teopolina Tuyeni. She is an enthusiastic public relations officer at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform in Windhoek. The ministry is the amalgamation of agriculture, water and forestry with the mission to realise the potential of the agriculture, water and forestry sectors towards the promotion of an efficient and sustainable socio-economic development for a prosperous Namibia.
The other island reform’s mission is to ensure Namibia’s land resource is equitably allocated, efficiently managed, administered and sustainably used for the benefit of all Namibians.
“My role as a public relations officer is to create and maintain a favourable public image for the ministry. I am also responsible for drafting tons of media releases, public notices, planning and executing campaigns as well as raise funds for the ministry’s annual events such as World Food Day, amongst others. Furthermore, I also assist in drafting speeches, arranging interviews and maintaining other forms of public and media liaison.”
Tuyeni joined the public service as an immigration officer in 2014 at the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security. In 2018, she joined the agriculture and land reform ministry as a public relations officer after completing her postgraduate studies. Tuyeni professed that she was always eager to work for the public service to serve “my country and the inhabitants.”
She added: “the best part of working for the government is being able to contribute and assist the government to reach its vision by providing accurate and relevant information to the public”.
Like any professional, her day at the office is quite busy.
“The first thing I do when I enter my office every morning, I start reading newspapers and clipping articles that are related to my organisation – and then immediately, I switch to read my emails. There is a never-ending supply of new ideas, new projects to be tackled and new problems to be solved. The key is to always look for those opportunities and help accomplish the ministry’s mandate. I would say every day as a public relations officer comes with new responsibilities.”
She has not only one memorable moment to share but many.
“One of my memorable moments as a public servant is the first day I met my supportive supervisor, who is always willing to guide me through when executing my day-to-day tasks. Her welcoming smile made me feel comfortable and I am always looking forward to serving the people confidently. The other memorable moment is when I visited the Green Schemes Projects with our Deputy Executive Director Ms Sophia Kasheeta, who took time to explain the formation of the Green Schemes in our country. Her explanation really enriched my skills as a Public Relations Officer. Seeing and hearing the history of where it all started has amazed me. Meeting different medium-scale farmers who are doing so great in the field of agriculture also impressed me.”
Tuyeni was born in Lusaka, Zambia and grew up between northern Namibia, Swakopmund and Windhoek.
“I developed a keen interest for public relations whilst assisting at the Namibia College of Open Learning’s educational programme as a presenter and radio producer while studying.”
As a result, she took up the mantle to study communication and journalism.
In 2012, she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in communication from the Namibia University of Science and Technology.
She went to cement her academic profile with a Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism, which she obtained in 2016 from the University of Osmania in India.
As for how long she plans to work for the government, presently, Tuyeni is content to serve in the public service.
“For me, the sky is the limit, as I do not know my tomorrow, but I know only my yesterday.”
“Professionally, I would like to see myself growing in the public relations domain as well as to obtain my second master’s degree – perhaps this time around in international relations. I wish to see myself helping all people from different walks of life, regardless of their colour or religion,” she said.