The programme sought to engage no fewer than 30 journalists from across various newsrooms from around the country for five days on topics bordering on water and environment.
Declaring the conference officially open on behalf of the Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Parks and Wildlife, Mr Alage Manjang, principal Environment and Water Resources Officer said they were impressed by the commitment on the part of journalists to discuss issues bordering on water and the environment.
He said: “We need to recognise the linkage between water and environment. As a ministry we cannot achieve our goals without the support of all the stakeholders. Water is an important resource and an important element of our environment. We need to adapt to the principles of water resources management. The pressure on water resources is increasing and there is a reform process in order to update the legal framework. We need to update the Water Act because as a sector, other challenges requiring water and sustainable management of water resources are quite complex issues. However, if one is to be an active and productive member of the network, you have to go out, develop yourselves and consult those in authority for relevant issues. You must continue to develop your capacity as well.”
On his part, Sheikh Alkinky Sanyang, the communications officer at the National Environment Agency while deputising the director of NEA said the programme was important because it would broaden the knowledge of journalists on environment issues.
“The media is the fourth estate in any democratic process and there cannot be any development without the media. Even though it is a body that is often isolated, it is an integral part of any socio-economic development. The training is a challenge for the fact that being an environment journalist is not easy. An environment journalist has to go out to dig for news and it is very pertinent that this network is here to help us.”
Ousman Jarjusey, the coordinator of Integrated Water Resources Management under the National Water Sector Reform Project explained: “All stakeholders need to be involved in water and environment management. We really need to have information on whether water resources quality is deteriorating or not. Water and environment are very important and we should never go and write about environmental issues without research.”
Earlier, in her welcoming remarks, Ms Bernadette Sanneh, country coordinator of Network of Journalists on Water and Environment said the training was organised to bring Gambian journalists up to date with issues affecting the environment.
She added: “The network saw the training of fellow journalists as timely in order to enlarge our network. We need to stand firm together to make water and its related issues known to the general public. We also need to go back to help communities and to know how to protect the environment and its resources be cherished. Water is life and so it needs to be protected. We are agents of change in our various media houses and our communities.”]]>