By Rohey Jadama
Young People in the Media (YPM), in collaboration with the United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Department of Information Services, on 12 August, 2015 launched the ‘theoneminutesjr’ film on child rights issues at Baobab Holiday Resort in Bijilo.
The oneminutesjr 60 seconds films were developed as part of last year’s national commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The films provides children and adolescent between the ages of 12-20 years, especially those who are the most underprivileged and marginalise, the opportunity to make their voices heard through short and powerful videos that focuses on child rights and issues of concern.
Eric Samuel, President of YPM, said children and young people are often side lined especially when it comes to decision making on issues affecting them directly or indirectly. He added that they ignore the fact that though invisible, though side lined, they are still at the forefront and most importantly, they are necessary for almost all family, national and international development.
“This is why a year ago, twenty people, met at Mansakonko in Lower River Region to make their voices heard and share their stories in 60 seconds videos in which they devoted a lot of energy and commitment. It was not easy to write the scripts, act, direct and film these videos all of which were done by these young people’”, said the YPM’s President.
Speaking on behalf of the UNICEF Representative, Sally Sadie Singhateh, the Communication Specialist at UNICEF, said over the past decades, the children’s Act as well as the UN Convention and other international instruments have helped many children and young people in the Gambia to enjoy their rights.
She said more children go to school because education is free for all with more opportunities for girls, they have access to free health care services and are protected from diseases such as measles and polio through routine immunisation, amongst others.
The UNICEF Communication Specialist said however, statistics shows that there are other children and young people in the Gambia who are very poor and do not have the chance to go to school, those who are often sick with preventable diseases, some are abused, exploited and some with disabilities.
“Some girls are still at risk of circumcision, child marriages and domestic and sexual violence while many are not allowed to go to school. The oneminutesjr videos are one way of giving voice to adolescent, especially vulnerable children on issues that affects their well-being and development and thus provide them with the opportunity for them to participate in advocacy efforts to promote their rights”, she said.
She stated that children and adolescent will be leading their nations and will be making life- changing decisions that will affect their countries and people. She continued, “that is the reason why UNICEF is investing in the empowerment of children and adolescent so that they can effectively assume their responsibilities as adults in the future”.
She said UNICEF will continue to work with the government of the Gambia in providing adolescents the necessary support to ensure that all pertinent issues related to rights and equity are prominent in national and public dialogues.