By Oumie Mendy
The Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN) Gambia Chapter has trained dozens of young leaders on Media Information Literacy, MIL. GYIN, an NGO created to empower young people to be agents of change in society, has over the years trained and mentored several young people in the country.
The training targeted 20 youth organisations previously trained on the same topic as means of further building on their existing basic understanding.
Addressing participants at the training, Minister of Information Lamin Queen Jammeh said the training and its targeted constituent is very relevant as it will help participants to understand sensitive national policies especially those related to education, technology, and gender, among others.
“Mainstreaming and implementing MIL-related activities by youth organisations generally contributes to making citizens highly literate and efficient in seeking and using information to exercise their rights, responsibilities and welfare, and be more tolerant to diversity,” he said.
The ultimate vision, Minister Jammeh added, is to have responsible digital citizens who are using critical thinking in consuming media content, and use it to enable wise and smart decision-making.
“Therefore, there is a need for youth leaders to be in the forefront to help their followers and society as a whole to understand how to separate fact from opinion and how to evaluate text and image for signs of bias, and how to construct and deconstruct text based on principles of logic,” he added.
This, he stressed, is better done “if you inculcate MIL into your policies so that it is not seen as an add-on, but a central pillar of the engagements”.
The executive director of GYIN-Gambia, Edrissa Njie said the three-day capacity building workshop was designed to equip youth leaders with skills to play a more proactive role in creating a culture of sustainable peace in The Gambia.
“The participants were trained in various aspects of conflict transformation and peacebuilding such as Conflict Analysis Skills in Peacebuilding; Approaches in Conflict Resolution and Peacebuilding; Mobilizing for Change; Advocacy for Conflict Resolution; Communication and Conflict Handling Skills, and Dealing with Prejudices and Discrimination,” he added
“This training examined the nature, functions and vulnerability of the media and other information sources. The various forms of information disorder and how to counter them were addressed. Civic participation using media and information literacy skills was discussed to promote participants’ engagement in national discourse,” he said.
Njie said his office works with young people across the country in the areas of training, coaching, and mentoring on different themes including entrepreneurship, leadership, empowerment, and advocacy.
DR Wumi Adekule, dean of school of journalism and digital media and the lead trainer, said information disorder is a global epidemic causing problems across the globe. He urged participants to be more cautious about how they use information.
Mariama Njie, a participant who represented the West Coast Region and GEPW, said the training has enlightened her on how to use information on social media and to fact check information.