By: Kebba AF Touray
The Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN-Gambia), in its commitment to combat fake news in the Gambia, has commenced a three-day training for 40 youths on media and information literacy.
The UNESCO funded training program aims to help the 40 participating young people to boost their understanding of disinformation, misinformation, and how to address hate speech and fake news.
Momodou Edrissa Njie, Executive Director of Global Youth Innovative Network dubbed GYIN-Gambia, explained that GYIN is a national youth network that was registered in 2012 as a youth organisation which focuses on rural development.
He said that as a national youth network, they also secured their national youth status to operate in all the regions of the country, and they have offices in URR and LRR, through the national youth council.
“GYIN Gambia works with young people on building their capacities, organizing trainings and business advisory, providing coaching and mentorship programs as well as widening their understanding on their roles in national development and in maintaining and managing peace”, he said.
He said GYIN-Gambia conducts activities such as training of youth leaders, organising the Entrepreneurship Leadership and Information Technology dubbed ‘ELIT’ and the annual rural youth award, and have been providing mentorship to good number youth since 2017 to date.
He stated that the three-day program aims to help the participants understand disinformation, misinformation, and how to address hate speech and fake news, adding that presently, there is a lot of disinformation and misinformation due to high smart phone penetration rate and low literacy level in the country.
“The so-called fake news is mainly shared and propagated on the internet, particularly on the social media platforms which needs great attention as youth leaders in our community. This training will help address fake news and also how to be safe both online and offline,” he said.
He said that the cultivation of a media and information literacy, youthful population is essential for the sustainable development of any society.
Mr. Alhagie Jarjue, Executive Director of the National Youth Council (NYC), said information is key in every undertakings and that there is need constant research to be able have genuine data that can be used to support such undertakings.
In the current digitalized world, such training is apt and timely, adding that there is 1 percent of the population, who are hell bent on misinforming the public, and despite their mega percentage, their voice is louder that the majority (99 percent) that hell bent on providing right information.
He stressed that the effects of misinformation can last for a very long time, with reference to Rwandan Genocide, as such the skills that will be generated from the training, will be used to distinguish between fake and real news.
While congratulating GYIN Gambia for the foresight, he assured the GYIN Gambia of the support of the NYC in ensuring that the youth are served with the right skills, to be able to harness their potentials.