The training focused on adolescents involved in advocacy, sensitisation, awareness-creation and media work, especially pertaining to children and adolescent rights and development.
According to the organisers, adolescent rights and development serve to empower adolescents with basic communication tools that would enable them to effectively disseminate key messages to the public through various avenues and hold discussions with influential adults, such as policy and decision-makers on issues that affect them.
Speaking at the opening, Mrs Sally Sadie Singhateh from Unicef said her organisation considers it a priority to invest in strengthening communication skills among children for active participation and channeling their ideas, creativity and dynamism into creating change for all children.
She highlighted definite articles of international covenants on children which deal with the child’s opinion, the right to express these freely and to have their opinions taken into account in any matter or procedure affecting them. She disclosed that the UN population affairs agency in its 2014 figures stated that “nearly half of the world’s population (about 3 billion) are under the age of 25”. She also indicated that in The Gambia, 32.2% of the overall population are adolescents and young people aged 10 to 24 years.
“Many adolescents today are exceptionally knowledgeable on child rights and other development issues, however appropriately communicating this knowledge to target groups can sometimes be a challenge,” Singhateh added.
Mr. Saul Njie from the Ministry of Communications, Infrastructure and Information Technology, said the way the media represent or misrepresent issues can greatly influence decisions taken on behalf of children.
The president of YPM, Eric Samuel Ketter, said the training targeted the six regions in the country and aimed to equip participants with different communication skills such as public speaking skills, inter-personal skills and listening skills.
“Every issue no matter how important it is, will carry little or no meaning if not properly communicated. Effective communication is a skill every person needs especially youth organisations,” Ketter added
Abdou Jatta, Unicef’s ‘Speak Africa Youth’ spokesperson dilated on the importance of the training, noting that it will equip participants with the basic knowledge of communication skills.]]>