07.09.2017 - UNESCO Office in Dakar

Les animateurs des radios communautaires gambiennes s'engagent pour le développement durable (en anglais)

© UNESCO

From 26 July to 11 august 2017, the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO and the UNESCO Dakar Office, in collaboration with the Gambia Press Union rolled out a three weeks training of community radio broadcasters. The training brought together participants from the nine licensed Community radios of the Gambia mostly found in provincial areas of the country to improve the reporting skills and standards of staff of these community radios in ensuring that the type of information they share with local communities is customized, relevant and beneficial in improving the livelihood of the communities.

Community radios play an important role in the democratization process and provide the platform for communities to access information and voice their concerns to decision makers, especially women and girls.

Ousmane Senghore, Secretary General of the Gambia National Commission for UNESCO NATCOM, underlined “the remarkable achievement and contribution of community radios in The Gambia in the area of information dissemination and awareness raising which cannot be overemphasized. A scan of community radio programs proposed to listeners include health issues, environmental, youth program, women programs, education, cultural and other development related issues. It is therefore, critical to strengthen the capacity of community radio broadcasters most of whom are volunteers and untrained.” Indeed, the participants, expressed their enthusiasm for the opportunities this kind of training offer them. “The training is timely. It will help us refocus our radio programming on issues of development”.

The main objective of the training was to improve the reporting skills and standards of staff of these community radios in ensuring that the type of information they share with local communities is customized, relevant and beneficial in improving the livelihood of the communities. Key issues related to global citizenship, sustainable development and gender matters, community development are addressed during the three weeks training.

Present at the opening ceremony, the Director of the Department of Community Development said in his statement that “Community radios are enabling isolated communities to voice their own concerns and ordinary citizens have the opportunity to discuss issues on air that are central to them, such as gender relations, popular participation, health and education, combating HIV/AIDS among others. In spite of their limited coverage community radios also enable farmers share farming methods, skills and income generation ideas and explore ways to improve education and skills”.

In recognition of the critical and invaluable social services that the community radio stations could play in uplifting the livelihood of local communities, the Deputy Permanent Secretary called on the participants to take the training seriously since the new dispensation is now a fertile ground for journalists to ply their trade. He expressed the willingness of the New Gambia government to repeal the oppressive media laws in the envisaged media reform agenda.

The trainers were highly motivated to have been part of this laudable initiative. Ebou Waggeh, experienced journalist who worked for the national broadcaster (GRTS), now a private media practitioner had this to say, “the trainees of this session will all come out changed and well skilled at their job as radio presenters.” Dr. Faal, one of the trainers and veteran Gambian journalist, intimated that, journalists, particularly those interacting with local communities are bound by principles of precision and accuracy in the way they report issues considering the role they play in shaping and transforming mind sets and beliefs. Sang Mendy, the Acting Executive Director, GPU and trainer at the GPU School of Journalism also reiterated the importance of this training and said it is well suited to the needs of the Community Radio broadcasters.

The training was organized under the “Journalism and Media” project funded by the European Union Governance Programme contributing with 691,583 euro (approximately equivalent to 35 million dalasi) to media reform in The Gambia. Launched in October 2016, the overall objective of this project, implemented by UNESCO within the framework of the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), is to contribute to better democratic governance in the Gambia through improving freedom of the press and the quality of information available to the population. 




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