By Ramatoulie Jawo
Media Academy for Journalism and Communication (MAJAC) and partners on Tuesday launched a capacity building project worth about D3 Million.
The project 8 months funded by the Danish organization, Civil Society in Development at the tune of D2.8 through The Gambia Media Support (GAMES) aims to build the capacity of community journalists and members of the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on outreach and bottom-up approach.
Meita Touray, Project Assistant said the project is expected to boost the communication skills of CSOs by enhancing their skills in digital media, public speaking and other forms of communication.
“The overall objective of this project is to expand the civic space both locally and nationally while enhancing advocacy and agenda-setting through outreach and bottom-up input. Thus, sustaining a two-way flow of information between the target groups and the CSOs.
“The project is expected to sponsor 12 community media staff and civil society members with a view to having a proactive civil society that will effectively using the community media and other forms of communication to engage its audience,” she explained
Touray said there is a window of opportunity to regain the civic space and for civil society organizations to push for their agendas; as well as their demands for true democratic reforms, on the stalling electoral and constitutional reform, and implementation of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission’s recommendations.
Alagie Cham, representative of TANGO said the CSOs use various strategies accompanied with different media forms depending on their target audience and the specific issue at hand.
Cham said that media advocacy plays a significant role in CSOs work towards development as it reaches a wider audience in the shortest possible time.
“The outcome of CSOs media advocacy, either results in a policy or behavioural change, contributing to the development agenda in The Gambia. It also found that the use of social media for media advocacy cannot be overlooked in this era of smartphone usage; especially in serving as a tool and a platform for building relationships with media practitioners, TANGO representative observed.
Muhammad S. Bah, President of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) said The Gambia is going through many reforms and in order to make those reforms work as expected, the country needs to have a strong CSOs members and a strong media.
“The government should create a space for CSOs and the media so that they can work as expected,” Bah suggested.
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