UNICEF Seeks greater engagement with media on children


Mr Rupert Leighton, deputy Unicef  representative in The Gambia said the agency would support and work with the media particularly in the course of the year in a series of activities that would characterise the commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, UNCRC. 

“This year marks the 25th anniversary of the UNCRC,” the UN diplomat said. “Governments, civil societies, religious and youth organisations as well as the media are challenged to think differently about how to promote and achieve change for the most vulnerable children who are also the hardest to reach, using equity approach for the inclusion of all children.

“Unicef will continue to partner with the media and provide them with the necessary support to ensure that all pertinent issues relating to children’s rights and equity is prominent in national dialogues.” 


Mr Leighton was speaking at a day’s training workshop for local journalists on reporting on children’s issues. The training forms part of UNICEF’s media support to advocacy programme being implemented by Department of Information Service, and funded by UNICEF under the Gambia Government-UNICEF country programme of cooperation 2012-2016. 

Presiding over the opening ceremony, the UN diplomat added: “Today’s training is important because it will ensure that the rights and integrity of all children continue to be protected when they are talked about in the media. 

“Furthermore, it will provide an understanding of why the UN convention on the rights of the child, or CRC, is significant in forwarding a conductive environment for all children everywhere in the world, including through media reporting.” 

Also speaking, the permanent secretary, ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Ms Nancy Niang said: 

“Your role as media practitioners in the implementation of the media support to advocacy component cannot be overemphasised. This is because the media can serve as a powerful tool in supporting advocacy efforts for children and women by creating a strong programme visibility, focusing on achievements and the remaining gaps.”

Although she paid a tribute to Gambian media’s commitment in promoting women and children’s issues, PS Niang believes that there is room for improvement. 

She added: “A well coordinated approach to disseminating well-defined messages and quality materials by the local media still remains a challenge. This challenge if surmounted would create an enabling environment for the media to effectively contribute to the acceleration of the desired changes related to the social, cultural and economic condition of children and women in The Gambia within the media.”

Mr. Malick Jones, the deputy permanent secretary, ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure challenged the media to live up to expectation by bringing out positive stories relating to children’s.


By Sainey MK Marenah