May 19, 2010, 1:23 PM
UNICEF and the Young People in the Media (YPM) on Tuesday concluded a two-day refresher training workshop on communication skills for adolescents at the NaNA conference hall in Kanifing.
Held under the theme “Effective communication, a tool for adolescent empowerment and development”, the training was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Information Communication and Infrastructure, and the Department of Information Services.
The two-day course, attended by youth groups from various regions of The Gambia, was meant to give them the requite communication skills needed in addressing issues concerning the youth.
The president of YPM, Eric Samuel Ketter, said the training will go a long way in helping young people to stand up and challenge issues affecting them especially in advocating the rights and welfare of all children.
He paid homage to the partners of YPM and all those who stand for the empowerment and development of young people.
The UNICEF communication specialist, Sally Sadie Singateh, said UNICEF is guided by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which gives them a priority to invest in strengthening communication skills among adolescents.
This will help the youth to actively participate and channel their ideas, creativity and dynamism into creating change for all children, especially the vulnerable ones, he said.
It is important for young people to know how to communicate effectively because the future belongs to them, Mrs Singateh said.
“It is equally important to give all children a voice and skills to use this voice. This will help the most vulnerable children today such as those with disabilities and from poor families to have their problems and challenges heard for consideration when policies and programmes are put in place,” she said.
The UNICEF communication specialist urged the participants to disseminate what they learnt during the workshop through various avenues such as the social media.
A representative of the permanent secretary, Ministry of Information, Bakary Saho, said the media is obliged not only to entertain young minds but to also inform and educate them.
Mr Sonko, who is the assistant secretary at MOICI, said the two-day training would equip the youth with the necessary skills of communication, which can help in the long run in addressing their needs and welfare.
He said studies have shown that with improved communication skills, young people have got greater chances for academic success and the capacity to excel at work.
Mr Sonko said that in formulating an agenda for youth employment for the next decade, acquisition of communication skills must be an integral part of the agenda for preparing the entry and participation of youth in the professional workforce.