No fewer than thirty journalists from both print and electronic media over the weekend took part in a two-day orientation workshop on population and development related issues, held at the Gambia Pastoral Institute.
Organised by the Department of Information Services, under the purview of the Awareness on Reproductive Health and Rights and Gender project of the National Population Programme, the workshop among others, covered topics on the ICPD and the MDGs, and the role of the media in disseminating information on population-related issues.
In her welcome remarks, Mrs Aiaha Davies-Ann, the Director of Information Services, said the workshop, which was funded by the UNFPA was aimed at orientating new members of the Network of Journalists on issues of population and development.
According to her, UNFPA is the government's main donor in the area of population and development, and has been in the forefront of addressing sensitive population issues, such as FGC and other harmful traditional practices, adolescent sexuality and gender issues.
"Its support in the area of IEC in the last country programmes included the establishment of various national networks, such as the Network of Journalists. There are also other networks such as the Network of Parliamentarians, Youth and Traditional Communicators", she said.
Madam Davies-Ann added that journalists' role in the implementation of the National Population Policy Programme is crucial and cannot be over-emphasised. This, she went on, is because advocacy, IEC and BCC are cross-cutting issues in the implementation of the National Population Policy and Programme.
"Considering the obstacles and challenges in the implementation of the ICPD recommendations since 1994 and the National Population Policy since 1996 to date, your crucial role as advocators and the vehicle of disseminating population messages for positive behavioural change, has re-emerged with more importance attached to it, if positive and sustainable attitudinal change and results are to be realised on population and development issues", she noted.
For his part, Mr. Rueben Mboge, Assistant UNFPA representative to the
According to him, the workshop was a follow up to a similar one earlier organised to sensitised new members of the Network of Journalists on population related issues. Mr. Mboge challenged members of the network to be more visible and pro-active in order to enable them effectively disseminate information on population-related issues.
Other speakers at the occasion included Mr Buya Jammeh, who represented the President of the Gambia Press Union and Mr Ebou Jallow, Assistant Director of Population Affairs.