Radio Presenters Undergo voter education training

By Rohey Jadama

Media Agenda in collaboration with the Network of Community
radio-The Gambia on Wednesday 21 August,2016  concluded a two daysVoters Education workshop at the Trans Gambia Lodge in Pakalinding in
Jarra West District, Lower River Region.

Speaking at the training, Mr. Madi MK Ceesay, the Director of Media
Agenda said “The workshop is possible through funding from the
American Embassy to the tune of $9816.03 targeting over 100
journalists in the Gambia at the various community radios, print and
some private media outlets. The essence of this workshop is to enlighten the community radio journalists on
the importance of voting especially during elections as most of the
communities are ignorant of their civic right to vote.”

Mr. Ceesay stated that partnering with community radios especially
the network will help members of the community to understand their
right to vote both at presidential, local government and National
Assembly elections; likewise understand the whole voting procedures.
He donated D5000 to the network of Community Radios-
to open a bank account.

For her part, Mama Jaye, the Vice chairperson of  Media Agenda board
of directors who doubles as a resource person, expressed gratitude
to the network for leaving their busy schedule to attend such an
important workshop, adding that the community radios are closer to the
communities than any other outlets and dealing with them in raising
their awareness on one of their basic rights as Gambians is important.

She stressed the need to orienting, sensitizing and enlightening the media to
help cope with this ill menace of voter apathy during elections, while urging
the participants to utilize the knowledge gained in the
training. She noted that handouts, presentations and other useful information’s will
be shared. She remarked, “Effective voter education programs are key parts of the
political process and a possible tool to provide a smooth electoral
environment which is designed to ensure that voters are motivated to
participate in elections.”

Madam Jaye noted that voter education programs help voters to
understand voters priority through given target groups such as voters
with disabilities, elderly voters and pregnant women, provide
information and guidance and support to literates, displaying
candidate photos or party symbols on the ballot boxes and finally
allowing and encouraging young voters to participate through
social media such as facebook, whatsApp, viber, IMO etc.

She averred the importance of citizens to be familiar with the electoral
process as lack of such familiarity causes low voter
turnout.
Mr. Yusupha Bojang, the coordinator of Network of Community Radios
the Gambia, expressed satisfaction about the cordial relationship
that exist between the two organizations, adding that his organisation
and the Media Agenda have recently signed an MOU .

He remarked, “Voter orientation is essential in development
process of any nation as most community members do not know it is their right to decide the future leaders of their
choice should be”.

He urged the network members to utilize the knowledge gained
to help raise awareness about the electoral process in their respective communities.
Bojang hailed Media Agenda for funding the entire registration process
of the network at the Attorney General’s chambers as well as the TIN
Certificate with the Gambia Revenue Authority. But he revealed that
some community radios are facing challenges in executing their duties
due to the lack of equipment, while calling on Media Agenda and other organizations
to support them achieve their desired goals.

r> He said over the past seventeen years more than 3000, 00 students have
graduated from his school in different field of studies such as
electrical installation, Construction, Information and Communication
Technology, Journalism amongst others.
He added that the aim of their expansion in Basse is to bring tertiary
education to the door step of rural people because tertiary
instructions are found only in the urban areas. He said their next aim
is how to expand technical and vocational education to the rest of the
country.
“The school contributes its own quota in national development as 30%
of the students are on scholarship, targeting the needy students from
the inception of the school to date. Such scholarships included forum
for African Women Educationist the Gambia chapter (FAWGAM) amongst
others”, he said.
The board Chairman of the Insight Training Center Mr. Alieu  Dibba
underscored the importance of skills development and professional
education.
Mr. Dibba added that skills development contributes to national
development, poverty reduction and makes somebody to be a responsible
citizen.
Other speakers included Mr. Cherno Jallow , who spoke about Ethics Of
Journalism and Social Media and the Chief Justice of the Gambia
Justice Emmanuel Fagbele who spoke about compliance of Law
respectively.
The celebration was characterized with drama titled ‘My Insight Story
and Job Creators not Seekers’.