The UNFPA Country office in The Gambia yesterday organised a three-day training for media personnel on key thematic areas relevant to the work of UNFPA in the country.
The training held at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi, was under the theme, "Engaging the Media-Communication for Development".
The primary objective of the training was to train the journalists on UNFPA intervention areas such as Family Planning, Sexual Reproductive Health, Maternal and Child Health, Population and Development, Demographic Dividend, Child Marriage and FGM.
The training in these areas was to enable the media personnel to be well equipped with knowledge on these issues and report on them as well.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Kunle Adeniyi, Head of UNFPA country office, said the media personnel are the voice and the opinion of the people as they expect them to educate, inform and get the knowledge that changes behavior in the communities.
Alhagie Kolley, National Program Officer responsible for reproductive health and HIV /AIDS, said UNFPA is supporting the Ministry of Health in the area of maternal health and family planning amongst other issues.
He added that family planning is very important as it includes the welfare of the mothers, to make sure that couples could be able to make decisions regarding the spacing of their children and the number of children they want as well.
He advised both the husbands and their wives to support the decision of family planning as they are couples and matters related to their sexual reproduction needs to be discussed openly, frankly as well as to be able to make a joint decision.
He said UNFPA are mainly focusing on maternal health because they want to eradicate the act of women dying when giving birth as well as the sexual reproductive health of young girls.
Mr Kolley declared that it was important to engage the media personnel in the training because most people rely on the media for information.
He said if the population was enlightened then they would be able to make informed decisions and to act on their own based on the reliable information they had.
"We feel that by working with the media they will be able to help us with the dissemination of information to people who are relevant because they had a wide target audience be it the print or the electronic media," he added.
He stressed that they are providing the media personnel with the background information to enable them to write or broadcast concrete information using data that is accurate.