Dec 10, 2009, 12:42 PM
Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Momodou O. Njie,
has assured media practitioners of his ministry’s support, and collaboration to
work hand in glove with them to ensure more awareness creation on sustainable
renewable energy in The Gambia.
He said the role of the media in creating awareness on sustainable energy for clean cooking “is very critical in daily life”.
PS Njie was speaking at the national sensitisation forum for media practitioners on sustainable cooking energy, organised by the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy in collaboration with the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), and held yesterday at the Paradise Suites Hotel .
According to Mr Njie, the energy situation in The Gambia is very critical and there are “tremendous challenges”, but solvable.
“We need to join forces to create vibrant advocacy and sensitisation of the media and stakeholders on the need for sustainable energy for clean cooking in the country,” he added.
PS Njie further said this goal could not be achieved in isolation of media practitioners, because the main barriers preventing widespread distribution of sustainable energy for clean cooking are “inadequate capacity and awareness” of many stakeholders.
The media is completely overlooked to address the inadequate access to sustainable cooking energy solution, he said, adding that “the Ministry of Petroleum deems it necessary” to build the capacity of journalists and communicators in advocacy.
The PS said the capacity building forum would help them reach their objective of creating awareness for clean safe and affordable energy solutions to the entire country.
The training seminar was designed to cover all aspects of stove production from material sourcing and equipment selection to quality control and dissemination.
Mr Njie also indicated that the availability of adequate, reliable and affordable supply of energy, including cooking energy, is critical for the socioeconomic development of the country.
“That was the more reason why the Government of The Gambia accords high priority to the energy sector in its development agenda.”
According to PS Njie, achieving wide distribution of efficient, affordable, sustainable and safe-coking fuels and equipment require that a myriad of technical, economic, social and institutional barriers are overcome.
The Executive Director of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Mahamak Kappiah, said the main objective is to equip media practitioners with the necessary skills, to enable them better advocate for sustainable forest management and resources.
“Lack of awareness is a key challenge in this area,” he said, adding that they, therefore, deemed it fitting to convene a capacity building seminar for media practitioners to better enhance them to advocate more on the forest cover.
“The media may be a strong advocacy and asset to clean energy causes, to enable them better understand of the problem of access to clean energy cooking.”
According to Mr Kappiah, the seminar was geared towards building the capacity of journalists and other publication experts in advocacy, so they could help in the awareness creation through information dissemination to stakeholders along the value chain.
The secretary general of the Gambia Press Union, Saikou Jammeh, urged the government to consider the media as development partners.
The media should be used by various ministries in their activities and sensitisation processes, he said.