By Bakary Samateh
UNICEF Deputy Country representative and acting head of office in The Gambia, Rupert Leighton, has said the Oslo Challenge was put in place in 1999 to seek answers on how to give children access to the media, how to provide them with media education and literacy and how to ensure they benefit from full participation in the media.
Mr. Leighton was speaking at the opening ceremony of a five-day training on the oneminuteJr workshop on child rights and protection issues, organised by Young People in the Media, UNICEF and the Department of Information Services held at Mansakonko, Lower River Region.
The workshop brought together children from all over the country to participate in the five-day training that would also serve to empower adolescents on basic skills in the film making conduct interviews with other children in the various communities to obtain materials for the development of the 60 seconds videos.
The advancement of the media over the past decades has not only motivated children to seek out new information and skills relevant to their development and well-being, it has also provided an opening for children to contribute and participate more in aspects that concern them, he said.
“This is why UNICEF believes that by helping children to take advantage of the media, as well as empowering them to be responsible users, they will not only be strong and influential advocates for the promotion of their rights, but also minimize the risk of abuse and exploitation of children in the media,” he said.
He said that over the last decades in The Gambia, many children and young people have increasingly enjoyed their rights to go to school because education is free for all with more opportunity for girls and children to have access to free health care services and protection from diseases such as measles and polio through routine immunizations.
The president of young people in the media, Eric Samuel Ketter, said oneminutejr workshop provides children and adolescent ranging from 12- to 20-year-old, especially those who are with disabilities the most underprivileged and marginalized, the opportunity to make their voices heard through short and powerful videos that focus on issues of concern to all.
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