The training was called by Biodiversity Action Journalist-Gambia (BAJ Gambia) which has recently received funding grant from UNDP-GEF-Small Grants Programme (UNDP/GEF-SGP) to implement a twelve-month project on public awareness on environmental protection and mitigation nationwide. The training for editors was part of series of training BAJ- Gambia has conducted for media across the country.
The objective of the project is to promote public participation in protected area management of environmental and biodiversity resources for posterity.
Mamadou Edrisa Njie, social secretary of BAJ- Gambia said: “The project targets environment journalists, forest users, local authorities, local farmers and relevant stakeholders for greater protection and conservation of the country’s remaining biological and natural resources thus reducing potential climate change impact on agriculture to enhance food security in the country. BAJ-Gambia is an environmental and natural resources journalist’s organisation with a membership of 70 practicing journalists from print, electronic (social media), community radios and youth activists across the country aimed at advocating sustainable use of the biological and natural resources for generations to come.” He urged editors to prioritise environmental stories saying that the protection of the environment is everyone’s business.
Gibril Barry, a representative of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, whose Ministry signed a memorandum of understanding with BAJ-Gambia to promote environmental issues at schools.
“What is the role of the ministry with the emergence of climate change and other environmental issues? There has been radical transformation in the curriculum where students learn about environmental issues and how they can mitigate them including climate change. We have signed an MOU with BAJ-Gambia geared towards partnership.”
Barry challenged editors to help in the fight against environmental problems especially climate change noting that media plays a crucial role in educating the masses about such vices.
He said the signs and symptoms are clear and visible that climate change is a reality and ‘we must act now. “Look at North Bank Region; you see the real effect of environmental problems which can lead to crop failure and food insecurity.”
According to Barry, environmental issues are cross-cutting and have no border stressing that BAJ-Gambia need to intensify its outreach program to schools.
Mr Jalamang Jorbateh, managing director of Nifty IT Solution, and BAJ- Gambia Partner also advised journalists to raise awareness about the environment and mitigate it problems.
Jobarteh admitted though his firm is an IT firm, they are also concerned about environmental protection and mitigation adding: “We are developing the site of BAJ and very soon it will be activated.”
He said his office offers software development, computer networking and supporting development marketing and finance, noting: “We are happy to partner with BAJ- Gambia. If the environment is affected, we are all affected too.”
The president of Gambia Press Union, Bai Emil Touray, said: “GPU is delighted to be associated with this training because protection of environment’ because is everyone’s business. We have a moral responsibility of informing people on how to protect and mitigate environmental problems.”
His words: “Environmental related issues are not aired on our radios neither newspapers but I believe it also due to low capacity in that aspect. I urged you participants (editors) to learn about environment and inform people about the consequence of such.”
He commended BAJ-Gambia for the training whilst encouraging partners to continue to support BAJ with technical and material resources in order to win the fight against environmental issues.
Touray said: “We as a nation are also faced with environmental problems and that is where the media can come in and support and advocate for attitudinal changes toward the environment.”
Abdoulie Sawo, chair of BAJ-Gambia board of directors urges journalists to advocate for more protected areas which he said have ‘lot of benefits’.
Sawo said locals and inhabitants are the most vulnerable to climate change whilst calling for sustainable management of the land adding; “we want people to understand biodiversity and change their attitude towards the environment.”
His words: “ the idea of forming BAJ-Gambia came out of from a study tour to Senegal in the early 2010, through Niumi-Saloum Trans-boundary Biosphere project that was jointly implemented by Senegal and Gambia supported by IUCN and Unesco under the man and Biosphere component.”
Author: Sainey MK Marenah]]>