By: Kebba AF Touray
The Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN-Gambia) on Wednesday wrapped up a three-day training on media and information literacy for 40 young people.
The training among others was aimed to address fake news, hate speech and keep the young entrepreneurs safe both online and offline against the activities of scammers.
Momodou Salieu Jallow, a participant from URR, said the training was educative and informative, adding that information is key in the lives of the people and the development of the country.
“We have learned a lot regarding fake news, disinformation and misinformation, and we were able to differentiate all these terms during the training. This is crucial in ensuring that we don’t disseminate information that can be chaotic and jeopardize our social cohesion. It will help us disseminate information that is credible. So, it is crucial for you to have that literacy so that you are careful in disseminating information,” he said.
Ndey Awa Ceesay, a participant and founder of cum manager of Moringarise in the Gambia, said the training aimed to tackle hate speech among the Gambian community. Madam Ceesay, who also doubles as the founder of the Nature Gift Care, said the business environment has been dormant for the past few months, but stressed that as they are approaching the tourism season, she is hopeful that business will go back to normal.
She cited access to finance, lack of proper market, and proper packaging materials as some of the factors confronting her business. She is however optimistic that improvement is certain albeit slowly but surely.
She congratulated the organisers for the foresight to provide the training for them, saying in a digitalised world, one finds it difficult to know what is reliable, good or bad and which sites are safe and protected from scammers. With the expertise from the training, she said such difficulties will be things of the past.
Dr. Wumi Adekunle, Dean of School of Journalism and Digital Media at the University of the Gambia (UTG), described the training as timely and essential, adding that every individual of the society is a product of information.
“This is because you develop your values, ideas and skills through education and information. That is why every individual must be literate in the use of the media, as well be literate in the use of information, and also to be able to appropriately interpret the information the right way,” she said.
She added that people need to verify the source of the information to be able to establish the reason for and credibility of such information, and to be able to correctly interpret any piece of information that is made available to them.
“What we are here for is to make sure that the 40 participants know how to source information and when they get the information, they are able to apply and use it. That is what makes a human being and that is what makes participants relevant in this modern society. Your civic participation depends on the amount of information that you have and how you utilize the information,” she said.
Momodou Edrissa Njie, GYIN Gambia Executive Director, said the network has implemented numerous programs, such as entrepreneurship training programs, coaching and mentorship programs among others.
“The training on media and information literacy will help expose young people to addressing fake news and hate speech. These young people should know about certain information (by scammers) that is shared online especially on WhatsApp, because such information requests details from the young people and such information puts them at risk,” he said.
In this light, he said GYIN Gambia deemed it necessary to organize the three days training on media and information literacy for 40 participants, so that they are safe both online and offline in addressing hate speech and fake news.