By Momodou Lamin Sanneh & Lolly M. Camara
The Gambia: The Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI), through the Department of Information Services, in collaboration with UNICEF last Wednesday oriented journalists from various media houses on the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
The daylong training was meant to build their capacities in reporting on children issues and showcasing of images of children at risk.
Convention on the Rights of the Child affirmed that children because of their vulnerability, need special care and protection as it places special emphasis on primary care and protective responsibility of the family, with the need for legal protection of the child before and after birth.
In his opening statement, Lamin Camara, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information, Communication and Infrastructure, said “it is crucial to note that The Gambia’s ratification and implementation of the CRC has brought children to the forefront, as it remains a critical national issue.”
He added that numerous players both national and local have begun to realise children’s rights, through the use of the media.
PS Camara affirmed that the number of donor organisations have over the years provided variety of support to the media, with particular focus on the local press. According to him, the capacity and general effectiveness of the media to report on child right issues and showcasing the different disparities faced by children in accessing the very basic social service still remains inadequate.
This issue, he said, is addressed in Article 17 of the convention, which recommends that appropriate guidelines be developed for the protection of the child. PS Camara informed the gathering that UNICEF is among government’s main donors, catering for children by promoting and protecting their lives at national, regional and village levels.
He further stated that, UNICEF is committed to ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children- victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities.
The permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information, Communication and Infrastructure, therefore called on the participants to disseminate the information to a wider audience that children have dreams and hopes that need to be fulfilled.
“What they need is education, resources and opportunities to enable them realise their potential to the fullest. As this has been their motivation to participate in the global crusade to combat cyber threat by the establishment of a Computer Incidence Reporting Team (CIRT), under the ITU-IMPACT initiative,” he stated.
This, he added, is clear testimony of the government’s concerted efforts to protect the rights of children, under responsible and caring leadership of His Excellency, the President- Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya A.J.J Jammeh, Nasirudeen Babili Mansa.
For her part, Sally Sadie Singhateh, UNICEF’s communication specialist, who deputised for the UNICEF Country Director informed that the objective of the refresher training on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and ethical reporting of children, is to ensure that the rights and integrity of all children continue to be protected when they are talked about.
As The Gambia commemorates the 25th anniversary of the CRC this year, she stated, the government, UNICEF and other significant stakeholders in child’s rights reinforce their efforts to popularise the achievements that have been made in child rights over the years, as well reduce the gaps by addressing some of the challenges of ensuring that every child enjoys his or her rights.
According to Madam Singhateh, a large number of children, especially girls, are still out of school, due to several reasons, including cultural practices like early marriage, among others. She then urged all participants to take full advantage of the training, not only to enhance their capacity in reporting, but also contribute to the overall protection of vulnerable children in The Gambia.
Gibairu Janneh, the executive director of GPU made a presentation on Ethical Reporting, while Salieu Jarsey of UNICEF presented on the Convention on the Rights of Child.
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.