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Young Gambian Delegate Returns From Round-Table Meeting in Ethiopia

Apr 1, 2008, 8:05 AM

The Round-table Meeting on NEP AD and Children was held at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia recently.

The Meeting aimed to create a platform for dialogue between young people, child media experts, civil society, UN Agencies, and political leaders to recognise the young as important partners in the NEP AD process and programmes.

Abdou Jatta, President Young People in the Media (YPM), represented the Gambian children and young people at the Round-table Meeting.

The Meeting discussed how NEPAD addresses issues related to children, different methods and experiences of child participation. It also deliberates on how children can be involved in the implementation of NEPAD's programmes.

The Gambian young delegate made two powerful presentations at the Meeting, "Children and Youth" and "What is our role?" In his presentation, Jatta highlighted the numerous initiatives taken by young people on the continent in the area of skills, labour, agriculture, engineering and mechanism. He however raised concerns on the challenges hindering the development of young people on the continent such as conflict, youth unemployment, and illegal migration.

In giving his presentation on Child Media in Africa, the Gambian delegate shared the panel with eminent child media experts from South Africa, Nigeria and Plan International. The YPM President expounded on the numerous activities undertaken by YPM Gambia and cited the best practices The Gambia offers when it comes to the participation of its young citizenry in the Media. These include the International Children's Day of Broadcasting where young people take to the airwaves for many hours of transmission. These kinds of initiatives have seen The Gambia emerge as winner of the UNICEF ICDB Award for two consecutive years in West and Central Africa. The young Gambian delegate also raised concern and frowned on the way the African continent and its young citizenry are portrayed at times in the western media.

He added that the presentation or misrepresentation of issues related to children and young people by the media can greatly influence decisions taken on behalf of children.

The Round-table Meeting on NEPAD and Children was a joint initiative of the African Child Policy Forum and Plan International. It brought together representatives from UN Agencies, NEPAD Secretariat, regional child focused organizations, experts in child participation and Child Media representation.

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