Sep 2, 2009, 7:17 AM
The Young People in the Media (YPM), The Gambia, in partnership with UNICEF Banjul Office and UNIQUE FM Radio Station, recently organised an inter-generational dialogue forum as part of activities marking the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting (ICDB).
The event, held at the front ground of UNIQUE FM Radio Station on Garba Jahumpa Road, Bakau New Town, brought together students and youths from various schools and institutions in the greater Banjul area.
The ICDB is a day when broadcasters air quality programming for and about children, but more importantly, they allow children to be part of the programming and production process, to talk about their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges in life.
According to Fatou Camara, chairperson of the Board of Directors of YPM, the ICDB is a joint initiative of Unicef and the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
“Every year, thousands of broadcasters in more than hundred countries take part in the day, celebrating it in ways that are as unique and special as children themselves,” Mrs. Camara said
“Television and radio broadcasters continue to mark the International Children’s Day of Broadcasting with distinctive and dynamic programming produced in their own countries.”
The proprietress of I Media Company added that young people in The Gambia look to this day to showcase their talents in diverse areas, thus “this has earned The Gambia recognition to win the Unicef Regional ICDB award for West and Central Africa for two consecutive years”.
She noted that the ICDB was created to bring to the fore issues of children’s rights and protection in the media.
“Youth participation and expression are also rights and are an integral part of adolescent development,” she said.
According to Abdou Jatta, UNICEF/Speaker Africa Youth Spokesperson for Gambia, the inter-generational dialogue forum between parents, stakeholders and young people themselves was held to debate on the theme of this year, “Girls are, boys are”.
Jatta, a member of YPM, noted that as girls and boys shift into adulthood and are faced with challenges in fitting into gender roles, it is important for young people to see and hear from their peers.
Abdou added that the ICDB provides a platform to discover youth’s opinions, see their perspectives and listen to their stories. “There is no ‘one’ answer to what it means to be a girl or boy. As youth if we see others in different roles, with different dreams, it is an inspiration,” he said.
Kaddijatou Fofana, president of YPM, noted that there is so much about this world that young people need to learn – from history to cultural norms and values. “It is important to tell all these stories in a way that sparks young people’s interests and invites them to join in the conversation,” she said, adding: “After 16 successful years, we continue to view ICDB as an innovative way to increase children’s participation in the broadcasting industry.”