West, Central Africa Regional Communications Retreat opens in Banjul

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

-three-day regional communications retreat for communications focal points and specialists from West and Central Africa yesterday, Tuesday 28 August, 2018, got underway at Kairaba Beach Hotel.

UNFPA The Gambia is hosting the retreat which will serve as a platform for designing a communications strategy that will promote UNFPA’s new brand identity and position the agency as a key development partner.

Ebrima Sillah, minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure for the Gambia in his opening statement said the training came at an opportune time when countries in West and Central Africa are making conscious efforts in addressing the real issues related to population dynamics as part of broader efforts to provide quality reproductive healthcare services and appropriate policy initiatives on agriculture, governance and education.

“The statistics on the population demographics in our two regions have consistently shown a growing youthful population that lacks jobs and necessary skills to robustly overcome the complex problems confronting them”, he stated.

He noted that with diminishing catastrophic civil wars across the two regions, coupled with promising new figures in the fight against previously major killer diseases, West and Central Africa have over the years, been witnessing strong population growth which requires proper planning and pragmatic regulatory frameworks to manage economic growth and assure improved livelihood especially among women and young people.

The minister went on to say that it is therefore important to have accurate demographic data to help governments plan better on population affairs and its management.

He also pointed out the critical role media and communications specialists can play in supporting the ongoing efforts by governments in ensuring that critical information about population demographics are well managed, documented and disseminated to dispel misplaced notions that link population management to unreligious and ungodly acts of enforced birth controls.

“It is important to note that population management is far beyond the rudimentary family planning concepts”, he highlighted.

UNFPA Country Representative Kunle Adeniyi in his welcoming remarks said the agency has been working with the government of The Gambia and other partners to support its mission, through interventions targeting women, young people and adolescents.

UNFPA regional director for West and Central Africa, Mabingue Ngom in his statement pointed out that they have made extraordinary progress since their last meeting in Senegal two years ago, but was quick to add that they have much more to do and achieve.

He added that their communications, advocacy and policy dialogue are making a lot of progress and changing the lives of people.

He urged participants to think innovatively in other to reach out to and partner with other partners across the world in amplifying their message.

He said he hope the conversation during the retreat will be an honest, open, competitive and forward looking on where they have not scored very well.

He noted that communication can help us develop quickly as well as accelerate the 2030 and 2063 agendas.

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb