Tuesday, April 1, 2008

NGO in Nigeria Advocates Youth Participation in Democracy

A non-governmental organisation, Youth, Media and Communication Initiative (YMCI), has called for a national integration that would enable young people play an active role in democracy and development.

Coordinator of YMCI, Mr. Chido Onumah, made the appeal yesterday in Abuja at the 1st National Youth Media Training Workshop, organised by YMCI in collaboration with the United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Chido, who described children as "the leaders of tomorrow," said there was need for a framework that would ensure the introduction of media education into the school curriculum, adding that such step would address and ensure fair representation of issues affecting young people and their communities.

According to him "the aim of YMCI is not to teach children and youth to become journalists, but to train them as agents for social mobilisation and social change, to develop their capacity for effective communication and self expression so that they can positively impact their schools, communities and society".

He said students and young people should be able to review and digest information created as well as dissemination of media of various kinds, which, according to him, would foster the culture of dialogue and debate among children and young people.

The coordinator added that the 24 students and 6 teachers who were selected from both private and public schools within the FCT, would undergo training on various aspects of media such as print, photography, TV, video production, internet and radio, stressing that "at the end participants will form the Young Reporters Network (YOREN) and the nucleus of "youth link", the quarterly magazine of YMCI which is distributed both locally and internationally".

Speaking at the occasion, the UNICEF communication officer, Mr. Geofrey Njoku, charged the participants to use the opportunity to get involved in media activities as a means of proffering solutions to problems associated with children in the country.

He urged the students to come up with a programme or documentary at the end of the 5 days training workshop on any social issue in their respective communities.

Speaking also, the director of programmes, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Mrs. Maryam Jummal Bewell, pledged the support of the organisation to ensure it aires any programme produced by the young reporters at the end of the workshop.

She appealed to the students to remain focused and attentive as the workshop promises to be interesting, adding that it will help them to explore and understand the roles of young people, their needs and realities as communication technologies are rapidly changing.

By Moses John
Abuja


Source: http://allafrica.com/stories/200804010540.html


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