The Media Academy for Journalism and Communication on Sunday concluded a three-day training on electoral coverage for community radios in the Lower River and North Bank regions.
The training is part of the implementation of the Strengthening Participatory Democracy Through Media and Civil Society Organizations (SPADE) project. It has brought together sixteen (16) media staff representing all community radios in LRR and NBR.
Sang Mendy, the Managing Director of MAJaC who doubles as the project manager, said the training is significant because the country is heading to elections thus the need to build capacity of key stakeholders.
He said the training was aimed at strengthening the capacity of journalists and civil society organisations on how to cover elections.
“We are doing this because we want the beneficiaries to be better equipped to perform their duties well ahead of elections. Journalists cover elections as reporters and as observers while civil society organisations cover elections as observers but also participate in raising awareness. So it is important to build their capacity”, Mr. Mendy said.
The project manager said he expects the beneficiaries to use the knowledge, skills, and the experience gathered effectively to inform the public and as well as cover the upcoming elections extensively and without flaws.
Mendy said provincial people are usually left out, that’s why MAJaC came up with this training for community media journalists and civil society actors because they deal directly with rural people who oftentimes are not very well informed of their rights and responsibilities.
He promised that the Academy would continue carrying out such kind of training for community radio staff.
Sainey Fofana, a representative of the Soma Community Radio said the training is very important for him as he is dealing with the community directly.
He added that the training will build his capacity to produce presentable news stories for his people in the community, enlighten them about politics of this country especially the coming elections.
Fofana said this is “long overdue” because it takes time before commuinity radio staff get such type of training.
Fatoumata Fatty, a participant from Niumi FM said the training will help her a lot in election coverages because journalists have a great role to play. Fatty said this is not her first training on election coverage but she feels much more comfortable and hopes to have more experience and skills from this training.
Mrs Fatty said after the training, she would go back to her community to engage the people, sensitise them on issues relating to elections and development hence it is their right to be informed.
The SPADE is a nine-month project co-implemented by MAJaC and partners, the Gambia Media Support-GAMES. The project seeks to empower journalists, CSO members and community media staff with requisite knowledge, skills and experience in election reporting. The project will conduct similar training for other regions.