Meet Elizabeth Somerville

Communications Officer
May 23, 2016

Elizabeth Somerville works as Communications Officer at M4ID. Her specialisms are developing communications strategies, delivering training and copywriting. At M4ID she develops our advocacy work with professional associations as well as getting involved in our maternal and child health projects.

Elizabeth joins us from African NGO, TREE AID, where she was Communications Manager. She has worked in global development and healthcare communications for the past decade in roles ranging from advocacy and activism development to PR and marketing. She holds a BA in English Language from the University of Manchester.

Elizabeth, welcome to M4ID, why do you think that communications is so important in global development?

For me “communications” is all about two things: telling stories and having conversations. Whether you’re reading a website, checking out a video or listening to a speech – the clarity and power with which things are said determines whether the message stays with you and if you’ll take action after it’s finished. My specialism is the written word and throughout history there have been examples of the right words changing the world, in good ways and bad. Never more so than in global development, where changing the world is the name of the game.

The advent of digital technology, social media and the 24hr news cycle has had a massive effect on the communications industry, regardless of the field. However, although the tools might be new and the speed might have increased, the point of communications remains the same; speak clearly, honestly and engagingly about the things that matter. Global development communications have become much more sophisticated in the last twenty years. We’ve become better at facilitating people in low resource settings to tell their own stories and supporting dialogue between the funders and beneficiaries. It’s an exciting area to work in and it’s an exciting time to do so.

Is there anything that you miss about your native country, Britain?

I know it’s a cliche, but I haven’t found a truly satisfying cup of tea outside the British Isles. While other nations might have more sophisticated tea ceremonies or more nuanced flavours, nothing beats a strong and milky British cuppa.